Motivating Volunteers

by | April 29, 2014


Most of us have volunteered or are volunteering for an organization or organizations, and some of us are in positions where we need to motivate ourselves and the volunteers we work with.

Steve Armstrong, who runs the website Paratus Education, recognizes the challenges that volunteers encounter working for non-profit organizations and blogs about them in posts he calls “musings.”  Armstrong’s latest post, “When pay is not on the table, how do you motivate people?” is particularly helpful.

As Armstrong points out, “the only difference between leading a volunteer and leading employees is a system of compensation.”  So, if a people are not receiving money, what is the best way to motivate them to do a job and do it well? Give volunteers authority, responsibility and hold them accountable.

When an organization recruits volunteers it also should recognize that the volunteers have needs as well.  Armstrong provides an effective list of what people need to do their job and benefit themselves as well as the organization:

Whether paid or unpaid, people want to:

• Have honourable and engaging work to do;
• Be given clear expectations
• Feel they are part of something bigger than they are;
• Be employed at or above their current capacity; and,
• Be respected and appreciated.

Keep this list handy, so you can keep and motivate the people/volunteers your organization needs to become and remain successful.

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