Volunteers are hard to come by – that’s nothing new. And chances are, when you truly need volunteers, you turn to the same dedicated people…because you know you can rely on them. 

But it’s only a matter of time before those volunteers get burned out, which you definitely do not want. So in addition to using their time and skill-sets, pick their brains a little too! 

To improve your volunteer management program, consider asking your most engaged volunteers these three questions:

1. What’s one thing you’d like to do for [Organization Name], but you’ve never actually been asked to do (or no opportunity has ever presented itself)? 

Many organizations need volunteers for pretty “routine” tasks – to help with social media or event logistics, for example. But there may be some tasks out there that your members would love to help with, but that you’ve just never thought passing off. 

For example, who’s writing your newsletter content? Or taking pictures at your events? Or serving as a liaison between your organization and a local college (to recruit more young professionals)? 

If someone were to take on one of those tasks, would that free up some of your time? Even if it wouldn’t (or wouldn’t by much), if it’s something that’s going to better your organization in the long-run (for example, better newsletter content = increased engagement), then it’s definitely a tactic worth trying! 

2. What’s the most challenging part of volunteering with [Organization Name]?

Sure, this isn’t necessarily the most fun question to ask, but if you can identify what’s preventing members from volunteering with your organization (or volunteering again), then you can come up with solutions or responses to those concerns. 

You may even want to list a few possible barriers, to at least get your engaged volunteers thinking. For example…

  • “I just don’t have the time.”
  • “I have the time, but it doesn’t align with when the organization needs volunteers.” 
  • “I just don’t always love the volunteer opportunities that are available. I’d prefer to do something else.” 
  • “The long-term projects are tough. I may have one or two months where I can dedicate time, but the next few months may be harder. That type of commitment sometimes deters me from volunteering.”
  • Other:  

3. Do you know any other members who might be interested in volunteering?

If you haven’t already asked your most engaged volunteers to “bring a friend” or refer others, you’re missing out on a HUGE volunteer recruitment opportunity. People are more likely to volunteer if they have a friend doing it with them. And not only that, but having one of your volunteers promote your volunteer program is often much more effective than you or someone from staff trying to do the same thing. 

Want more tips regarding not only volunteer recruitment, but volunteer onboarding and retention, too? Check out our free guide below!