How to empower your volunteers in the cost-of-living crisis

31 August 2023

Demand for the services and support many charities provide has never been more acute, driven by inflation, shortage of affordable housing and stretched health and social care provision, to name but three.

How to empower your volunteers in the cost-of-living crisis
Volunteers are the lifeline delivering these critical resources. Recognising their significance, it is paramount to ensure that the benefits of their efforts outweigh the personal and professional costs they incur.
Pressure on household budgets may prompt some individuals to prioritise earning money over volunteering. Therefore, it's essential to implement strategies to empower your volunteers and keep them engaged in your cause. Here are some top tips to help you achieve this and ensure your charity can continue making a difference both now and in the future.

Paint the Bigger Picture

Regularly remind your volunteers of the ultimate goal they are working towards. Show them the bigger picture and the specific role they play in achieving it, by quantifying their impact and illustrating the difference they make, which will reinforce the value of their time and dedication.

Attend to Details

When volunteer’s incomes are stretched to the limit, providing branded items for everything they might need to utilise in their volunteer role, will not only offer functionality but also raise brand awareness for your charity; whether that’s PPE, t-shirts, bags, or stationery, these thoughtful touches demonstrate that you value your volunteers as individuals and enhance their overall experience.

Champion and Inspire

Celebrate your volunteers' contributions and achievements. Recognise their efforts when they join, go above and beyond, hit milestones, or simply do a great job. Positive reinforcement inspires both current and potential volunteers, making them feel like integral parts of the team. Use newsletters and social media to share these recognitions and also give a glimpse of your day-to-day operations behind the scenes, as this can spark interest and encourage more people to volunteer.

Take Their Advice

Your volunteers possess valuable insights on how your charity can be improved. Encourage them to share their ideas and thoughts on how the organisation can run and be managed better. As passionate advocates of your cause, they will be motivated to contribute to its growth and impact. Provide them with opportunities to express their suggestions and provide feedback in a manner that aligns with your charity's culture and witness the positive changes that result from valuing their input.
By applying these strategies to empower your volunteers, you can better support your cause and continue providing assistance to those in need. By actively listening, communicating effectively, and expressing gratitude, you'll create a sense of empowerment and value among your volunteers. When volunteers feel appreciated and empowered, they will be even more inclined to help your charity achieve greater good.