While a big push for many non-profit organizations is to gain and increase the necessary financial donations from donors, a huge focus that NGOs should also invest in are their volunteers. Volunteers, especially for those in the non-profit sector, are vital factors in cultivating the overall environment and work culture at the office. They serve in many capacities within these organizations by contributing their time, energy, talents, and endeavor in promoting and highlight the overall goals that the organization tries to accomplish each and every day. Without their help, many non-profits would not be able to promote their positive mission on a grander scale.

So what do volunteers contribute to the office? How can they be the game changer in promoting the image and brand for your mission of your non-profit organization?

To start, we have to understand the service that these like-minded individuals invest at your company. For many volunteers, they are generally enthusiastic people who want to be apart of something bigger than themselves. While their reasons may differ, the quality and end result will always be the same. For some, they serve because of the mission and core values of the company. For others, they assist because of their own conjectures for social justice. Whatever is their reason, the help they serve provides new insights, energy, and assistance to whatever extra work is needed at the office to make the daily operations run smoother.

Because of this, it is absolutely vital that you cultivate a vibrant and efficient working environment for your volunteers at your organization. The work they will do will not just create and support your employees, but also maximize the values and mission of your NGO.

To start off, make sure you provide professional and relevant task for your volunteers. Volunteers want to feel useful. They aren’t just looking to staple papers and get coffee. Instead, they are looking to connect with the work based off of their own particular interest and skills. To get the most out of your volunteers, make sure you know their personal and professional strengths. Knowing their skills will help generate maximum volunteer productivity. In addition, it will cultivate motivation and interest for any task that is assigned to them.

Now, one of the biggest mistakes you do not want to make with your volunteers is to misinterpret your own standards. Typical volunteers range between 16 to 23 and 35 to 64 years old. To put this in a more tangible perspective, these individuals lead very busy and active lives. When structuring your volunteering program, consider the timeframe and task needed for each individual. Create this understanding that there is a time and skill restraint for each person. Anything overly hectic can not only hinder their performance, but also impact their motivation to continue the work. Instead, provide your volunteers with task that you know they can accomplish without the help or assistance of your employees.

Last but not least, make sure you recognize these volunteers for their work. Like in any job, people like to be acknowledged for their contributions, especially when volunteering. Make sure you respond accordingly to their actions and appreciate them for all of their efforts. Who knows, they could be your next big donors in the future!