In addition to managing good communication with a volunteer on a project, one of the most important pieces to ensure a successful engagement is the follow-up. Volunteers love to know how they helped an organization and the outcomes from their work. Always remember that a simple email or phone call after an engagement can go a long way. Something as straightforward as penning your own thank you letter can show your sincere gratitude for a job well done. Here are a few tips to make your follow-up meaningful:
- Let the volunteer know the outcome from your work together. Were you able to raise more funds because of her assistance? Was the program successful because of her input into the marketing or operational efforts?
- Show the outcomes. If possible, send the volunteer a copy of the deliverable in action or a photo from an event where her hard work was put to use.
- Express your gratitude. Say thank you in a way that resonates with that volunteer. It could be as brief as a phone call or a recommendation on Linkedin or as extensive as a thank you letter from your Board or a note from the clients you serve. The more relevant you can make it, the more the volunteer will know her work was appreciated.
One of our nonprofits recently told us that they were working with a volunteer who was in career transition. They got to know the volunteer fairly well and soon discovered that she was in final interviews for a sought-after position. Though the nonprofit was miles away, they asked for additional details and were able to send a letter of recommendation to the hiring manager. Weeks later, the volunteer received the position. It was a win-win situation for everyone.
Stories like that help demonstrate just how important that follow-up can be. By taking the time to get to know your volunteer and then thanking her for her support in a meaningful way, you can cultivate a relationship that goes well beyond what you might have expected.