Although it is very common to talk about "recruiting and retaining" volunteers, retention is an awkward category that does not stand alone. Retention is an outcome, not a task. In other words, you can set aside three hours to supervise volunteers or to write a volunteer handbook. But you can't "do" retention. It is the result of the accumulated actions necessary for solid volunteer management.
When volunteers are recruited honestly, have meaningful work to do, receive orientation and training, get supervisory attention and feedback, and feel recognized...they'll be satisfied enough to want to remain engaged. (Providing, of course, that external or personal circumstances don't interfere.)
There are a few articles and books that focus on retention and so we link to those on this page. But for the most useful information related to retention, look under the categories of: Supervision, Recognition, Employee/Volunteer Relations and Books on this topic
Articles and excerpts on this subject
- Adjust your Thinking: Shifting the Focus to Volunteer Retention by Donna Lockhart on Charity Village
- Keep Those Volunteers Around: Chapter Three from Keep Those Volunteers Around
- Providing a Sense of Control to Volunteers from Keeping Volunteers: A Guide to Retention
- A Volunteer Needs a Good Reason for Doing the Task, from Volunteers: How to Get Them, How to Keep Them
- Volunteer Retention: An Issue Brief, from the Corporation for National and Community Service (2007, 4-pg. PDF)
- Volunteer Retention Guidelines for Community Partners, from Louisiana State University (click to open Word document)
- Volunteers, Part I: What Makes Them Stay? and Volunteers, Part II: Why Do They Leave? by Christine Litch (VolunteerHub) on GuideStar.
Web sites with useful information on this subject
Monday Minute: Short Video on Volunteer Recruitment-Volunteer Retention
Volunteering America: Resources for Retention
The Corporation for National and Community Service website provides a good deal of information on recruiting and retaining volunteers. Through its studies on "Volunteering In America," the Corporation delivers increasingly detailed reports on the trends and habits in volunteering across the country, in order to better understand who is serving in our communities and how, when, and why they serve.
Relevant Hot Topic essays
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