Cultivate meaningful touch points with your volunteers to show your commitment to their development.
You can’t buy loyalty, but you can invest in it. The loyalty of all-star volunteers can realize significant gains for your organization. On average, the value of a volunteer hour is approximately $24. When taking that into account, volunteer turn-over can be a costly loss. Like any important relationship, it’s easy to take for granted but can thrive with intentional investment.
“Here’s my rule for getting the most out of a relationship: ‘Whatever I want from a relationship, give more.’” —Joshua Spodek, PhD MBA, author
In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series we discussed the hurdles you can encounter just getting volunteers in the door. You can build on the foundation you’ve set by showing a commitment to the personal and professional evolvement of your volunteers. Providing learning and growth opportunities doesn’t have to be daunting (or expensive). There are tools that are readily available to make implementing these resources seamless. Here are three different ways to promote professional development utilizing technology:
Offering convenient, web-based learning programs is a cost effective way to bring on-the-job skills to your volunteers. With the click of a mouse, volunteers can view lessons and engage with resources on their own unique schedule. There are three things to keep in mind when creating online learning content that is successful:
- Entertaining: People want to be entertained. Offer content that will spark their interest and curiosity.
- Educational: People want to learn. Personal and professional growth is a priority among volunteers.
- Engaging: People want to spend their time learning things that they can engage with and apply to their real life.
Leverage these tools to create entertaining educational videos for your volunteers.
Powtoon: Easy video animation platform to increase online learning engagement.
Kahoot: Engaging tool for training, presentations, events, and team building.
Google defines micro-moments as critical touchpoints within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends. People are acting on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. You can create byte-sized content to capture your volunteer’s attention during these crucial moments for a big impact.
The American Marketing Association creates micro-moments by setting up Zoom meetings in 10-minute increments throughout a week. The sessions are focused value-adds for their members like leadership development and personal branding. This isn’t a fancy production, rather someone on the other side of the screen sipping on coffee and having a conversation. This is a reason that TED Talks tend to be successful. They market their content as, “short talks to watch during your coffee break.”
Leverage this tool to start creating micro-moments for your volunteers.
Zoom: Video conferencing platform to increase face time for micro-moments.
Professional development has become a high value benefit that’s expected by employees. 94% of employees said they would stick with an organization if they felt like they are getting professional development from their employer. By nature, volunteers are likely to be curious and looking for the same educational experiences. Is your organization prepared to handle mentor or professional advice requests? Do you have the resources for this? With so much already on your plate, there are plenty of tools you can turn to for help.
Creating a quarterly, professional development email template can allow you to easily plug in professional development videos, podcasts and audiobooks to share with your volunteers. You can also include popular self-assessment resources (16 Personalities, INLP Self Awareness Test, The Enneagram Personality Test, etc.).
Leverage your existing email platform to share professional development content in a new way to engage and add value to the volunteer experience. Here are some of our favorites:
Video: TED Talks, Brene Brown, Master Class
Audible – Audiobook platform: Crucial Conversations, Dare to Lead, Insight, Start with Why, 25 Mistakes I Made at Work
Podcasts: Hacking Your Leadership, Before Breakfast Podcast