When leading volunteers and hoping to keep them you need to find ways to increase their commitment to your organization. There are lots of great nonprofit organizations in your community that volunteers can give their time to. The issue that comes up is whether or not the volunteers are going to give their time to your organization.
In this post I share some research I read about how to increase the commitment of volunteers to your organization and how you can use this idea to your advantage.
Organizational Commitment is “identification and involvement with a specific organization, and assumes strong belief in, and acceptance of, its goals and values and the will to make considerable efforts as a member of the organization (Mowday, Steers, & Porter, 1979).” (Chaco, et. al., “Three-Stage Model of Volunteers’ Duration,” p. 629).
“Organizational commitment has been extensively studied within Organizational Psychology, as an essential variable related to employees’ satisfaction and organizational efficacy” (Ibid).
II. FOCUS ON AT LEAST TWO OF THE FIVE DRIVING FACTORS FOR WHY PEOPLE VOLUNTEER.
A. Contribute to the community/society
B. Contribute to the organization
C. Clear Instructions
D. Communication that Is Clear
E. Feeling Supported
III. REMEMBER THAT VOLUNTEER MOTIVES CHANGE OVER TIME.
IV. HOW TO CULTIVATE ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT
If nonprofit organizations wish their volunteers to remain, then there must be a focus on developing a feeling of commitment to organizations.
Vecin and Chacon, “Volunteer Engagement and Organizational Commitment,” 299.
A. Create a Connection to Their Work.
Try to do things that help volunteers make a connection to the work being done. How does this work match the volunteers’ personality? Is this good work for an introverted volunteer to do (tasks done independently and silently). Or, is this good work for an extrovert to do (tasks done with others in a common area around people).
B. Connect them to the difference being made in the community.
Volunteers volunteer because they want to make a difference in the community and in a specific organization. Those are the two main reasons that anyone begins volunteering. Therefore, to increase the organizational committment of your volunteer long-term help volunteers see that the work they are doing makes a difference in the community.
C. Connect them to the difference the volunteer is making for your individual organization.
Try to actively tell stories, share experiences, and provide statistics for how your organization is making a difference in the community. And, tie that information into how the volunteer is helping the organization to make this difference in the community.
D. Make the experience fun.
All things being equal: volunteers chose and stick with the volunteer position that is fun.
1. task variety
5. insider status
6. the ability to use existing skills
7. opportunity to make career contacts
8. opportunity to make new friends (“More Than Motivation,” 401)
11. unique training
Question: How do you think you can increase the organizational commitment among your volunteers?