Tips to strengthen your volunteer program and empower member volunteers

Does your association count on the hard work of member volunteers? If so, you’re well aware that volunteers are an invaluable resource, helping to advance your mission and drive success across your organization.

Read our blog to discover how PEAK Grantmaking empowered its member volunteers and strengthened its volunteer program. And learn volunteer empowerment strategies to try out at your organization! 

PEAK Grantmaking’s volunteer program success story

PEAK Grantmaking is a community of 7,000 professionals working to advance effective and equitable grantmaking practices. Like many associations, PEAK Grantmaking benefits from the work of member volunteers. Recently, the association saw an increased interest in opportunities for members to connect. PEAK Grantmaking worked with a group of member volunteers to make this dream a reality, creating a variety of peer groups.  
These peer groups allow PEAK Grantmaking members to more easily connect, build relationships, and advance their careers. The peer groups also offer opportunities for member volunteers to develop more skills and become leaders. The PEAK Grantmaking peer groups consist of four categories: Caucuses, Affinity Groups, Communities of Practice, and Working Groups to ensure members from all backgrounds and professional interests are represented. 

3 strategies to strengthen your volunteer program 

Is your organization looking for tips to enhance your volunteer program and empower your members? Check out the following strategies:

1. Offer volunteer benefits. Enhance your volunteer program by offering perks to being a member volunteer. Consider offering benefits like:

  • Flexibility. Make it simple for your members to volunteer at your organization and offer volunteer opportunities in a variety of roles.
  • Training. Provide volunteer orientation so your members know their roles inside and out. Offer additional professional development options so volunteers can upskill.
  • Speaking opportunities. Empower your volunteers by offering the chance for members to teach in your learning program or speak at your annual conference.
  • Mentor/Mentee program. Offer mentoring opportunities by connecting member volunteers in an official mentor/mentee program.  

When you add benefits to your program, volunteers will feel supported and appreciated by your association.

2. Talk to your volunteers. Ask your volunteers about how your organization could better support them. Routinely seek feedback by sending out surveys about your volunteer program. Consider asking the following questions:

  • How would you rate your current volunteer experience? 
  • Do you feel like your volunteer work is impactful? 
  • Do you feel like a valued association member?  

When you ask for feedback and routinely survey your member volunteers, you’ll have a better sense of what motivates them. Leveraging surveys can help you increase volunteer engagement and even boost your volunteer recruitment efforts.

3. Be open to suggestions! Consider hosting listening sessions to ensure your volunteers feel heard. You can also meet with small member groups to help volunteers feel comfortable offering in-person feedback. Listen to your member volunteers and share about how you’ll make changes to your program.  
When your volunteers see how you plan to update your volunteer program based on their suggestions, they’ll be more likely to offer future feedback. Be open to member suggestions to empower your volunteers and show how they’re making an impact on your association. Also, don’t forget to thank your volunteers for their feedback and hard work at your organization.  

Discover more tips to enhance your volunteer program

Learn more strategies to improve your volunteer program when you read our free whitepaper: Manage your volunteer program to accelerate your association’s mission and goals.

More industry insights, delivered to your inbox. Sign up for our blog!

Recommended for you

05/28/24 Trailblazing Topics

How to successfully implement a vision at your association

5 min read
05/13/24 Trailblazing Topics

3 questions to ask at Chicago AMS Fest 2024

5 min read

Blog Subscribe

This will close in 0 seconds