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Volunteers…will they come back?

There was a time I eagerly signed up to volunteer at an event, excited to get involved and make a difference. I had made time in my schedule, looking forward to the experience. However, when I arrived, my enthusiasm quickly turned to disappointment. There was a lack of clear communication about what I was supposed to do, and I found myself unsure of what to do. Despite my efforts to make myself useful, I felt like I wasn’t really needed, and the organization never followed up with me after the event. Through this experience, though disheartening, I learned a lot about volunteer management.

I have had the pleasure of working with some excellent volunteers who have been invaluable to my events. Ensuring that volunteers have a positive and meaningful experience helps make the event successful. People are eager to support causes that resonate with them, and volunteering at an event is a great opportunity for them to engage with your mission. People who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to return and spread the word about your organization.


Here are a few strategies to create and develop a positive and engaging volunteer experience:

  1. Clear Sign-Up Process: Ensure there is an easy and accessible way for individuals to sign up to volunteer.

  2. Prompt Communication: Respond to their sign-up promptly with all the necessary details.

  3. Comprehensive Information: Provide all the information they need to serve effectively, including the event's time, location, duration, attire, responsibilities, and the contact person to meet upon arrival.

  4. Dedicated Volunteer Leader: Assign someone to lead the volunteers, offering them guidance and personal care. This leader should be welcoming and approachable, ensuring volunteers feel valued and supported.

  5. Clear Responsibilities: Make sure each volunteer knows exactly what their role entails.

  6. Personalized Appreciation: Send a personalized note or email after the event to thank them for their contribution.

Feedback Collection: Gather feedback from volunteers post-event to improve future experiences. Tools like Google Forms or Wufoo can be very useful for this purpose.


Intentionally showing appreciation to your volunteers will make them feel valued and generate volunteers for future events. Not overlooking the experience for your volunteers will help build a group of supporters who are excited to continue to help with your organization’s mission.


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