By: Mahvash Khan
What can non-profits do to improve the volunteering experience?
Charities and non profits these days are missing out by not ensuring a positive experience for their volunteers. With thriving volunteering opportunities these days, it is important that the volunteers find their perfect fit to their volunteer tasks. Without “Happy” volunteers these charities and non-profits find it difficult to meet its objectives.
Happy volunteers are returning volunteers. Be it at a college, university or community get together, even more than being a happy volunteer at SEPLAA, youngsters are community ambassadors for SEPLAA’ s work ideology in every way. With a vision in mind and a mission at hand, Founder & CEO of SEPLAA Foundation & iCx, Mrs Ammara Farooq Malik has given a hope to Pakistani people in general and a sound platform to its youth for volunteering in particular. It is result of her astute vision, iCx created research support in Peacebuilding from the Centre of Global Affairs, New York University (CGA-NYU).
“To retain the volunteers and keep them returning to the cause is very simple: just have fun!” Mrs. Farooq adds, “If people have fun at a place, they are more likely to return and participate in the task more fully than before.” This is just as relevant for the volunteers as it is for customers at a restaurant, cafe or pub. “Why not host regular meet-ups and get-togethers and make them more sociable,” comments Ribca Ralph, from Team SEPLAA, Lahore. At SEPLAA, this is a regular feature, and the more casual meetings are the better that leads the volunteers to be more open and creative about their tasks and how they should be done.
Everyone including the volunteers at an organization wants to feel their contribution is valued whether they are paid or not. The more meaningful role the better. Whilst, appreciation of someone’s work whether paid or not, doesn’t need grand gestures, but a simple thank you goes a long way in creating a lasting bond. At SEPLAA, iCx, satisfaction is doubled when the management sends the newspaper cuttings of the work that volunteers contribute, including the group photographs of the staff with the volunteer force making them feel an imminent part of the organization. “In the end, all it just takes a little appreciation for your services which could be as small as a smile or a pat on your back for doing something worthwhile .” Irshad Abbassi, 26, from Team SEPLAA, Islamabad.