Don’t Delegate and Forget

Volunteers who sign up for involvement in a nonprofit or an association are anticipating a positive experience.

When they don’t find that gratification, they face frustration–and the organization faces volunteer retention issues.

Too often organization leaders assume the person being given a responsibility understands the task at hand and has the ability to get it done. Then they fail to follow up, compounding the problem.

Regardless of results, the volunteer’s experience is almost certain to be frustrating.

There is, unfortunately, a consistent pattern of people who persevere, get the job done, and then quit because they feel abandoned.

Delegating and forgetting is a recipe for disaster. Engaging in this behavior risks both loss of the volunteer and failure of the activity.

Avoid potential negative results with these five delegation tips:

  • Don’t assume. Have ongoing conversations so you have a comfort level that your volunteer understands the task, is committed to it, and carries it out
  • Ask specific questions such as, What’s the completion date? Who signed up? What sponsors have committed? How many tickets have been sold? How much has been raised
  • Don’t accept non-specific answers like “It’s going well” and “Everything’s fine.
  • Be a good listener and observer. Pay attention to signals that indicate your volunteer is struggling
  • Capitalize on each opportunity to recognize good effort. Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator and goes a long way toward keeping volunteers engaged
  • Follow up and get real-time evaluation. Make needed adjustments so tasks remain on track for success right up to the desired conclusion.

If you delegate and proactively follow up with your volunteers, you will help ensure they have a positive experience and you will avoid unnecessarily adding to your retention issues.

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