4 Ways to Build Community for Your Organisation’s Volunteers

A strong volunteer community drives your nonprofit’s mission forward. Explore four ways to build a sense of community for your volunteers

4 Ways to Build Community for Your Organisation’s Volunteers

Think of your social organisation as a neighbourhood. Just as a couple looking to buy a home might prefer a neighbourhood with friendly neighbours, volunteers may be attracted to your organisation by a sense of community.

Cultivating a strong community within your organisation can help you engage volunteers, encourage deeper involvement, and boost support for your cause. In this guide, we’ll look at four strategies for building community, which include:

  • Emphasise volunteer impact
  • Encourage team connections
  • Provide opportunities for growth
  • Show volunteer appreciation

Volunteers are the lifeblood of your organisation’s work, so your top priority should be creating strong connections with them (and encouraging them to connect with each other)! Strengthening these relationships will not only make their involvement feel more meaningful but will also drive your mission forward. Let’s get started.

1. Emphasise Volunteer Impact

The first step in community cultivation is creating a sense of belonging for your volunteers. They may resonate with your cause, but it’s up to you to show them just how important their contributions are to the communities you serve. Showing volunteers how important their contributions are can make them feel needed and encourage them to stick around. One reason volunteers started contributing in the first place is to feel needed.

For example, a volunteer who manages your organisation’s online platforms or organisation page might not see the impact of their task until you show them that their work created tangible change. To emphasise the importance of what they do, you might:

  • Quantify their work. Share numbers related to the work they accomplished. For example, you might share how much time is saved with their contribution, or specific analytics, such as site visitors or form submissions. Pro tip: make use of Organisation Data & Analytics on the Deedmob platform to quantify your and your organisation’s impact!
  • Compare their work to your larger goals. Illustrate how their contributions compare to your organisation’s overall goals. For example, if your goal is to increase volunteer turnout at events, you might show how their site development led to more people filling out event registration forms, or applied to volunteering opportunities.
  • Show progress over time. Explain how their contributions have helped your organisation grow over time. For example, you might share a graph showing the number of your organisation’s social media followers over the past year. Highlight any growth that has occurred since your volunteer got involved with your social media management and try to show the role of your volunteer in achieving this growth.

Volunteers aren’t the only ones who should see the importance of their work. Snowball’s guide to school fundraising notes that volunteerism can introduce the community to a school’s important work and the same can be said about your organisation’s mission. By connecting a volunteer’s work to visible changes in the community, your volunteers will feel the significance of their contributions.

2. Encourage Team Connections

Friendships and interpersonal connections are an obvious part of building a community. A cause can bring volunteers to your organisation, but connections bring volunteers together. By encouraging connections between team members, you’ll strengthen your team and allow volunteers to create their own community.

For example, some volunteers might find that they have the same favourite restaurant. They can gather there for dinner after a successful volunteer event or for special events, like trivia nights or happy hour. On your part, you can encourage volunteers to explore these friendships by:

  • Creating a group chat. Putting everyone together on the same text chain can make team communication easier as well as spark casual conversations between team members. Be aware to ask for consent before you add someone to your group chat.
  • Starting a Facebook group. Connecting people through social media can help them get to know each other’s interests and hobbies since they’ll be able to see each other’s activities outside of volunteering.
  • Providing team tasks. Consider ways to make regular tasks a team effort. For example, you might assign two people to manage a booth at an event instead of just one. Try to rotate group members to encourage new friendships and connections. But remember, the volunteers’ preferences are always leading!

Another easy way to encourage friendships is to recruit volunteers’ friends. You might encourage active volunteers to bring a friend to an event. Since volunteers likely have like-minded friends, engaging their social circles can be especially valuable for growing your network, according to this guide to volunteer recruitment from MemberClicks.

When your volunteers are friends, their work will naturally be more enjoyable. Not only will they want to continue being involved, but they also might view the organisation as a friend group. For deeply committed volunteers, this can create a strong sense of family.

3. Provide Opportunities for Growth

With each task, volunteers contribute to at least one of your organisation’s goals. But once the task is completed, what encourages volunteers to come back? In the same way that a promotion at a job might encourage an employee to continue working there, growth within your organisation can encourage longevity in volunteer involvement.

Show volunteers that they have a future at your organisation by suggesting new ways for them to get involved or finding volunteer opportunities that can further their personal goals. For example, you might provide:

  • Workshops and training related to your organisation’s work
  • Leadership opportunities, such as leading a team of other volunteers
  • Openings for full-time positions
  • Volunteer tasks that leverage volunteers’ personal skill sets

Instead of viewing the work that volunteers do for your organisation as just another task, consider it an investment in their future. For instance, if a volunteer helped with your organisation's social media campaign, they might be interested in learning more about digital marketing. You could connect them with an online course or a workshop to help them develop their skills and prepare for future volunteer opportunities or even potential job opportunities. This way, volunteers not only contribute to your organisation's mission but also gain valuable knowledge and experience that will benefit them in their personal and professional lives.

When volunteers can grow their skills, build their knowledge, and maximise their impact, you’ll see their involvement shift from a one-time volunteer to a committed member. And you already know: if you empower your committed volunteers, they can become your most important ambassadors!

4. Appreciate Your Volunteers

Another important aspect of every community is making members feel valued. Show your appreciation for volunteers to make them feel prioritised and important. For example, you can show your appreciation through:

  • Appreciation events: Host a memorable event to celebrate your volunteers. You might present thank-you gifts, give a presentation about the impact of their work, and treat them to a free meal.
  • Social media shoutouts: Highlight volunteers on social media. Not only will this give special attention to your hard-working volunteers, but it can also help connect your social media followers with your organisation in a personal way.
  • Letters: Send volunteer thank you letters explaining the impact their work has made. Handwritten letters are especially personal and thoughtful, but digital cards can be sent more conveniently and on a more frequent basis.
  • Gifts: Give your volunteers a tangible representation of your appreciation through small gifts, such as branded merchandise or gift cards.

Volunteers are vital to your cause. Communicating this will remind them that their continued support is needed and encourage them to stay committed to your organisation.


Volunteers power your mission forward, which is why it’s important to provide a welcoming environment in which they’ll want to be involved. Invest in these connections to build a community within your organisation. Doing so will help to maximise the success of your work, boost your organisation’s reputation, and allow you to effect greater change within the community. 

Some highlights of 5 years at Deedmob

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Gerbrand Holland

Growth Manager

Gerbrand Holland is Growth Manager at Deedmob