Nearly half of all charities in Australia operate with no paid staff according to the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC). Its comprehensive Australian Charities Report 2018 further states there are over 3.7 million volunteers nationwide operating within Not for Profit groups across the country. This shows the importance of these individuals to charitable and social causes.
So, what causes people to devote their time and effort to one group over another, and how can you get more volunteers to join your Australian Not for Profit?
What drives people to volunteer?
Improving how your Not for Profit organisation recruits and manages volunteers comes down to understanding why people choose to do it and what the personal benefits are. There are many different reasons people choose to volunteer with a charity or local club:
- They may want to fulfill a personal passion or gain a sense of community spirit.
- Individuals may be looking for companionship and the chance to make friends in a setting where they can give back.
- Others may volunteer in order to gain from another form of payment, such as credits towards a degree or to repay a community service debt.
How do I attract more volunteers to my Not for Profit?
Attracting and retaining skilled, long-term volunteers can be a challenge for Not for Profits. Passion for your organisation is an invaluable asset – but dedication can still wane over time. Just because individuals are willing to give up their time for your cause now doesn’t mean they will always be able to. Additionally, with over 50,000 charities in Australia (Australian Charities Report), Not for Profit groups can have a difficult time standing out from the crowd of groups in need when appealing for new recruits.
These two issues mean the right volunteer recruitment strategies are vital to getting the best people through the door:
- Not for Profit groups need to inform potential volunteers about their responsibilities in detail. Letting individuals know how they fit into your wider operation is vital to making them feel integral to the charitable cause you’re supporting.
- Targeting the right demographics with the right medium is pivotal. Volunteering Australia reports that rates of volunteering are highest in the 45-54 year age group. Therefore, be sure to use mediums that this demographic would interact with regularly. Newspaper advertising and volunteer websites such as Seek Volunteer will help inform the public that you’re looking for volunteers.
- Screen your applicants thoroughly. Each volunteer should fit in to the culture of your organisation and be willing to perform their duties as required. Bad apples will only reflect badly on your Not for Profit organisation.
Similarly, once you have started attracting more volunteers to your Not for Profit group, you need to retain them for as long as possible:
- Keep them invested in your charitable or social aims, and in the workings of your organisation, by regularly expressing your gratitude. Free coffee or food will go down well and make every individual feel like a valued part of your team.
- Create a positive working environment. Ask what you can do better, seek suggestions for campaign or fundraising ideas and always encourage volunteer networking and social events.
- Treating your Not for Profit organisation like a business is another key aspect of better volunteer management. Ensuring campaign finances are handled professionally is crucial to giving your volunteers the resources and benefits they deserve.
DFK Crosbie has a range of accounting, audit and business services available to Not for Profit organisations, offering expert guidance on the financial and taxation obligations of charities across multiple sectors. For more information, contact the experts at DFK Crosbie today.