How to Recruit & Maintain Volunteers

Mike Whitehouse

Almost every association relies on aspects of their work to be done by volunteers, and it's often hard to recruit and retain these workers. It's easy to get volunteers excited on their first day or week but keeping them around for a longer duration which is every association’s goal, can be difficult.

Finding the balance between repetitive tasks and giving them the ability to take leadership and progress in their role will benefit your workers and enhance the work environment. 

Give your Volunteers a Voice

Maintaining your volunteer's enthusiasm and energy levels can be a challenge especially for the long run. Outside priorities may pop up such as other commitments and people can also simply drop out. This is normal and you can't force people to stay, but having the right strategies in place to handle and manage your volunteers could make all the difference.

It's common for workers to get stuck down and engaged in busy work but it is also important for your volunteers to generate new ideas to advance the organisation's mission and goals. This is extremely important for generation x as this group like to make decisions quickly and not being able to do this can lead to frustration and impatience.

Volunteer programs are a good way to increase retention and your organisation must not get into the habit of simply rewarding your volunteers with recognition awards for motivation but to look deeper into Maslow's hierarchy of needs. 


It's no secret that every organisation needs a leader and having a manger or director in charge of each department leads to increased responsibility and goals for each worker to aspire to. Successful organisations drill further down into the leadership by encouraging employees at every level to take leadership in their role.

A starting block is building teamwork, a happy team is a productive team and vice versa, and this can only be established though effective teamwork and collaboration. Taking advantage of your whole organisations skills known as cross functional teams takes full advantage of all areas in regards to expertise and knowledge.

Ensure your roles are clear and set out in coherent manner, but also remember to leave room for growth and decision making. Be passionate and have expectations for the roles and positions. Good luck!