Improving Volunteer Engagement: 5 Winning Strategies

Boost volunteer engagement for your organisation by learning how to retain, recruit and motivate volunteers for greater impact!

Improving Volunteer Engagement: 5 Winning Strategies

An engaged base of volunteers is a tremendous asset for pushing your mission and good work in the community forward. For many organisations, it can be difficult to know how to best foster an engaging volunteer experience. This article is here to help!

If your volunteers feel engaged and appreciated, they’re more likely to continue volunteering and share their good experiences with your organisation. This can generate more overall interest in your group and greater volunteer recruitment when it’s time to grow your program.

Here are 5 important yet simple strategies you can take to improve volunteer engagement.

1. Drive volunteer engagement by fostering the right culture

Be intentional about the culture you foster in your volunteer program. It should be welcoming, inclusive, and supportive. If your volunteers feel welcomed, included, and supported, they’re going to be more excited about going above and beyond in their work. 

Ensure that your program’s values and mission are clearly reflected in your policies and management methods. A positive impact starts from within!

Communicate to volunteers the real-world impact they’re having and how you’re progressing as a team towards shared goals. Make sure you’re open with them about your group’s goals and the steps being taken to reach them, and not just the parts that they’re involved with. It’s a nice way to see the bigger picture and for your volunteers to see how important their work is to your organisation’s greater goals.

2. Be flexible and tailor your volunteers’ opportunities

Your volunteers are an important part of your organisation. Where others may donate money, they donate their time; make sure it’s easy for them to do so. Offer flexible scheduling options so that your volunteers’ work can fit easily into their lives.

Every one of your volunteers brings something unique to your organisation. Offer a diverse range of opportunities so that everyone can find a way to engage that they enjoy. Learn more about volunteers’ interests and skills so that you can tailor each volunteer’s opportunities to them over time.

A great way to do this is with surveys and one-on-one conversations. With these, you can learn how each volunteer feels they would be best suited to help your organisation. You can also learn what parts of your organisation interest them the most. Then you can make changes to their responsibilities accordingly.

3. Provide volunteers with training, resources, and support

Start with a thorough onboarding process:

  • Make sure your volunteers know exactly what they’ll be doing and how they’ll be supported in their role.
  • Introduce them to other members of their team.
  • Make sure they know who to go to when they have questions. Training and learning don’t stop at the end of the onboarding meeting! 

Check-in with each of your volunteers individually a little while after the onboarding process. Some people may not like to ask questions, or don’t know how. By checking in, you can see how they're doing and if there are any questions they have or issues they’ve encountered. 

Have important information for your volunteers laid out in an easily accessible document. This should be something that they can refer back to. This can be on a shared page, or on your website.

Building a website for members or volunteers gets easier every day, and is a great way to keep all of your useful information in one place. Your website can host a volunteer handbook, schedule, contact information, and anything else that might be useful to your volunteers. If you do not have the time or funds for a dedicated website, consider using your Deedmob organisation page as your volunteer management portal. This article helps explain how to setup your page for success!

4. Encourage plenty of communication and feedback to keep volunteers engaged

There should be clear lines of communication from your program’s leaders to your volunteers, and vice-versa.

  • You want to be able to share news with your volunteers, and they should be able to ask questions and similarly share updates.
  • Regular newsletters are another great way to communicate with your organisation, especially if you have a bigger team.
  • Inter-volunteer communication is also important to build a strong sense of community and teamwork, and so that volunteers can coordinate and divide larger tasks.

There are many options for how to communicate with your team members, so find the one that works best for your group. You can use something as robust as an online volunteer portal for asking questions, or as simple as a Facebook page or group chat. Just make sure that everyone knows it’s there and how to access it.

A great way to keep up with your volunteers is through regular surveys and one-on-one conversations. Take their feedback seriously. Devote time to reviewing it, identifying trends, and following up with individuals as needed.

5. Recognise your volunteers as the valuable contributors they are

Recognition should be an integral part of your program. Always take extra steps to express your appreciation during and after projects. If someone really went above and beyond in the last project, make sure they know you noticed and appreciate them! 

Special thank-you gifts, casual events that reinforce your community bonds, and even a simple thank-you note or email can go a long way. To make sure these things have an impact, they have to be an intentional and recurring part of your program.

There are many ways to show your appreciation for your volunteers. If you plan on hosting an event, here are some event planning tips, and here are some other simple volunteer appreciation ideas:

  • Group board games like Codenames, which are playable in person or online
  • Trivia game
  • Awards for different achievements
  • A talk given by a guest speaker
  • A casual social event, either structured with planned events, or unstructured

To find more inspiration for volunteer appreciation, check out these member appreciation ideas.


With an inspired volunteer group, your goals will be achieved more easily. And the execution only gets more fun!

By following the five strategies laid out in this article, you’ll be sure to have excellent volunteer engagement.

When volunteers are engaged in your team and the work they do, they’ll go above and beyond in their work. They’ll recruit more people and spread the word about their good experience with your organisation.

Some highlights of 5 years at Deedmob

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Gerbrand Holland

Growth Manager

Gerbrand Holland is Growth Manager at Deedmob