Understanding what motivates volunteers in their words

Inspired by a recent blog post from Manchester Community Centre We want to unpack some of the ideas around motivating volunteers through volunteers themselves so we’ve asked a few to let us know their thoughts:

Often times we read articles about connecting people to the impact they are having – this can often be hard, especially when we are faced with multi-layer organisations, this quote from a volunteer for a Nicaraguan orphanage describes the connection felt to the impact on the children’s lives as well as the motivation behind choosing to spend your own money to go and spend a week digging in the mud!

“The children at the project have so little compared to what our children have here and then they are faced with all types of physical, learning and emotional challenges on top of that. And all they want is to love and be loved. Their physical needs are great. If not me, then who? I truly feel that God is calling me to do what I can to help, and right now that means telling others about Mustard Seed, asking others to contribute for their care, getting on a plane to Nicaragua and pushing a wheelbarrow. I guess if I get to the root of it, I keep going back because I have grown to love the kids and I have discovered that I need them more that they need me or anything I have to offer”  

Another area that is regularly covered is looking at volunteering because you have benefited from these organisations previously or currently. Programmes such as Time- banking  have been created as mechanism for encouraging volunteering as a recognition of the positive impact that volunteering has on the mental health of those that society has often left behind – the Archer Project has some great examples of this .
 Other times, it’s people that have previously benefited, they know the difference it has made to them and want to provide that opportunity to others.

“I would say I volunteer because it makes my heart happy to help bring even a moment of happiness to others in need. It brings perspective on my own struggles, it teaches my children to appreciate and respect others. I have a passion for helping those in need. There was a time my husband and I needed help … now that we have succeeded in life I want to help anyone know they aren’t alone and know that people do care.”
Our local pre-school was a place where I had received so much love, support and nurture that as felt I wanted to give something back using the skills that I had gained at work. It was challenging fitting everything in, but I am so glad I did it as I learned a great deal from the whole experience.”

 Motivating volunteers is often around finding the right motivation, skills fit and sometimes this can be for some a time limited option. Many organisations can sometimes fall into the trap of the same team being in place. 

“When I became Chairman this time, I decided I would limit my tenure – assuming I was voted in each year at the AGM – to three or four years.
A couple of aspects of this.
I wanted to take account of other calls on my time and attention – the known and the unforeseen.
Secondly, I wanted to build into my tenure a method of preparing as many people as possible for the benefits as well as some inevitable drawbacks of change.”

Interested in learning more about volunteer motivation then take a look at these links 

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