Christians believe that the Church is the vehicle God will use to socially, economically, and spiritually restore communities – by closely partnering with parachurch ministries and FBOs, congregations and denominational organizations around the country and world will be able to maximize their impact and demonstrate the Gospel more fully in both word and deed. If nonprofits are to continue engaging practicing believers across their cities, however, they must develop a greater understanding of their motivations, provide meaningful volunteer opportunities, and create an organizational culture that fosters open communication, healthy levels of self-care, and relationship-building between staff members and other volunteers. Called by God Himself to love and serve the marginalized and vulnerable, these individuals can become the most passionate and dedicated volunteers available if equipped and cared for well.
Faith-based nonprofits and faith-driven individuals continue to play a critical role in the promotion of community development and cohesion as well as the delivery of indispensable human services. One study found that three fundamental “modes of religious meaning” prompted Christian volunteerism:
Further evidence shows that these volunteers are likely to stay longer and produce better results for the nonprofits in which they work. Our prayer is that the resources and literature below would help your organization better understand the convictions of volunteers, what they hope to accomplish through their experiences, and how they desire to grow as individuals. Furthermore, you’ll find some of the tried and true techniques used by other nonprofits to recruit, retain, and motivate their best volunteers.
In many ways, the retention process starts by finding and recruiting the right people. By designing the right kind of volunteer opportunities and targeting the right populations through the right channels, you can build the volunteer team you need to move your organization in the right direction.
So you’ve found some great volunteers – now you need to figure out how to keep them satisfied and fulfilled so they decide to stick around. While different volunteers decide to stay for different reasons, your organization can create a culture that’s welcoming, nurturing, and promotes personal development for individuals and groups that come to serve.
How do you determine whether the volunteers you have are actually improving your organization’s capacity to care for the vulnerable? While some volunteer traits are hard to measure, you and your team can still design and administer assessments to identify strengths on your team as well as areas for growth in the future.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of nonprofits, particularly nonprofits with a faith-based mission and purpose. Despite the fact that no real differences exist in operating budget or staff sizes between the two organization types, 38 percent of religious charities “have a large scope of volunteer use (more than 50 volunteers in a year combining to serve more than 50 hours a week)” while just one quarter of secular charities use volunteers at that level of scale and commitment. This indicates that the need for comprehensive and robust volunteer recruitment and retention strategies and infrastructure is particularly imperative for FBOs and their staffs.
Resources are great, but they aren’t very helpful if there isn’t any way to apply the concepts to your nonprofit. The reflections and exercises in the Restore Strategies Nonprofit Workbook will help leaders in your organization begin to think through some of the most important concepts so that you are equipped to better care for the most vulnerable members of your community. Download the workbook for free today!