Today I’m glad to be able to introduce you too Victoria Michelson a freelance writer for Wild Apricot. When she’s not writing, but she spends most of her time running races to support local nonprofit organizations in Boise, ID. I’ve asked her to share on how to improve volunteer-staff relations within nonprofits. Her three points would make great resolutions for your new year!
Fostering Positive Volunteer-Staff Relations
by Victoria Michelson, freelance writer for Wild Apricot
We all want everyone in our organization to get along, and in a perfect world, this would happen without any effort from the people in charge.
Sadly, we don’t live in that perfect world, and people serving an organization often need a little love and support to have a positive experience—even more to feel like they are in an environment where cooperating with others is not only the best option, but the only option.
Tensions, in my humble opinion, seem to most often arise between volunteers and staffers. Because of this, I now put more thought into fostering a better working relationship between the two groups, and I definitely invest more time and energy into making sure both groups are well taken care of.
Over time, I have developed a three-part strategy to help myself stay focused on creating the best possible experience for everyone involved in the organization. May you, too, keep these in mind, and may your organization be forever full of peace and cooperation.
Always Be Respectful
The Golden Rule from kindergarten still applies. Of course you’ll want to be respectful to everyone in your organization and everyone you come in contact with, but you’ll want to be extra careful to be equally respectful to staff and volunteers. Though they may have different roles and offer different things to the organization, they are equally valuable assets. Make sure everyone involved knows just how important they each are to your cause.
Because volunteers and staff may be involved in different aspects of the organization, they might not get an opportunity to get to know one another, or become familiar with what the other actually does. Consider creating space for them to build a community with one another. Appreciation parties are great means to this end. Worst case scenario, they can bond over cake.
Recognize the Importance of Others
Let both volunteers and staffers feel that they are appreciated and that their efforts don’t go unnoticed by recognizing achievements made separately, and by working as a team. Calling particular attention to accomplishments achieved through the cooperation and efforts of everyone will boost collective morale and foster the idea that great results happen through teamwork and a collective dedication to your mission.