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Annittra Atler Discusses Best Practices for Effective Volunteer Engagement and Retention | Albuquerque, New Mexico

Annittra Atler | Philanthropy

By Annittra AtlerPublished about a year ago 3 min read

Volunteers play a vital role in organizations and communities, offering their time, skills, and passion to support various causes. Engaging and retaining volunteers is crucial for the success and sustainability of volunteer programs. When volunteers feel valued, connected, and satisfied, they are likelier to stay committed and contribute their best efforts.

Clear Communication and Expectations

Clear communication is essential to engage and retain volunteers. Clearly articulate the organization’s mission, goals, and volunteers’ specific roles and responsibilities. Provide comprehensive information about projects, tasks, and time commitments. Ensure that volunteers clearly understand what is expected of them and the impact their contributions will make. Regularly communicate updates, provide feedback, and express appreciation for their efforts.

Meaningful Volunteer Roles

Create meaningful and purposeful volunteer roles that align with volunteers’ skills, interests, and passions. Take the time to understand their abilities, preferences, and goals, and match them with appropriate roles. When volunteers are engaged in tasks that are meaningful to them, they are more likely to be motivated, satisfied, and committed to making a difference.

Training and Skill Development

Offer comprehensive training and skill development opportunities to volunteers. Provide the necessary knowledge, resources, and tools to perform their roles effectively. Offer ongoing training sessions, workshops, or online resources to enhance their skills and capabilities. Investing in their personal and professional growth benefits volunteers and contributes to the organization’s success.

Recognition and Appreciation

Recognize and appreciate volunteers regularly for their contributions. Acknowledge their efforts, achievements, and the impact they make. Celebrate milestones, offer certificates of appreciation, or host recognition events to express gratitude for their dedication. Publicly recognize volunteers through social media, newsletters, or organizational publications. Feeling valued and appreciated is a powerful motivator for volunteers to stay engaged and continue their involvement.

Regular Feedback and Evaluation

Establish a feedback loop with volunteers to gather their input and ideas. Create a culture where volunteers feel comfortable providing feedback and suggestions for improvement. Conduct regular surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one discussions to assess their satisfaction, identify challenges, and gather ideas for enhancing the volunteer experience. Actively address concerns, make necessary improvements, and communicate the outcomes of their feedback to demonstrate that their opinions are valued.

Opportunities for Collaboration and Networking

Create opportunities for volunteers to collaborate and network with each other. Foster community and belonging by organizing team-building activities, volunteer appreciation events, or social gatherings. Encourage volunteers to connect, share experiences, and learn from each other. Building a supportive and inclusive volunteer community increases satisfaction and creates a sense of camaraderie.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Recognize that volunteers have different schedules, commitments, and preferences. Offer flexibility in volunteer hours, allowing volunteers to choose when and how they contribute. Provide options for remote volunteering or virtual opportunities, especially when in-person engagement is impossible. Being adaptable and accommodating to the needs and circumstances of volunteers fosters a positive and supportive environment.

Volunteer Feedback into Decision-Making

Involve volunteers in decision-making processes and give them a voice in shaping the volunteer program. Seek their input on program improvements, policies, and procedures. Involving volunteers in decision-making gives them a sense of ownership and commitment to the organization. Incorporating their ideas and perspectives leads to more effective volunteer engagement strategies and program development.

Continuous Volunteer Recognition

Volunteer recognition should not be limited to specific events or milestones. Implement a continuous recognition program that acknowledges and appreciates volunteers continuously. This can include regular shout-outs, spotlights, or newsletters featuring their contributions. Organizations are committed to valuing and respecting their efforts by consistently recognizing volunteers.

Regular Volunteer Updates

Keep volunteers informed about the impact of their work and the organization’s progress. Provide regular updates on project outcomes, success stories, and how their contributions have made a difference. Regular communication helps volunteers feel connected, engaged, and motivated to continue their involvement.

Effective volunteer engagement and retention require a proactive approach prioritizing communication, meaningful roles, training, recognition, and flexibility. By implementing these best practices, organizations can create a positive volunteer experience, increase volunteer satisfaction, and foster long-term commitment. Engaged and committed volunteers are a valuable asset to any organization, driving its mission forward and making a lasting impact on the community.

This blog was previously published on May 29, 2023 at


About the Creator

Annittra Atler

Annittra Atler is the associate superintendent of special education for Albuquerque Public Schools. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of special education.

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    Annittra AtlerWritten by Annittra Atler

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