Keeping Up Volunteer Motivation
This is one of the most important ways to keep your Smile Kids Japan organization flowing smoothly. People are likely to be very enthusiastic at the beginning, but volunteers are only human. So here are some basic tips to keep up the motivation.
Reply quickly and regularly to mails from your volunteers. If they email to say they can make it, just a quick one line email saying ‘Thanks’ can make everyone feel involved and appreciated. Aim to reply to emails within three days, and if that’s not possible, email as soon as you can to apologise and explain why the reply is a bit late. If you’re going to be out of contact for a while, let people know so they don’t feel ignored.
Keep volunteers as involved in the planning as they want to be. Offer people the chance to organise and run games, but make sure you don’t force it on them! Let the volunteers be as involved as they want to be, and you’ll keep everyone happy.
Plan some special visits! Volunteers appreciate a bit of variety, just as much as the kids do.
If at all possible, have a long-term schedule of visits handy. Let the volunteers know dates ahead of time so they can plan around the visits. They’ll have no excuse if you ask them to pencil in a visit three months down the line into their calendars!