Motivating Volunteers: Actions Speak Louder than Words

Hard Hats on Baseball Bats“I can teach you skills, but I can’t teach you desire.” It’s the tried and true call to action, which every coach pulls out of their bag of tricks. It’s often a last attempt to inspire their team, to show them that hustle and inspiration make a victory.

Motivation is a tricky animal to conquer; it can be spawned internally or externally, but the best type of motivation springs from a combination of the two. So how do we combine a competitive internal drive with the external desire to achieve a common goal? How do we get every member of our team to be personally invested in the success of the whole organization? This is most relevant to the challenges of recruiting volunteers.

There has to be a balance in rewards and sacrifices in order to gain any involvement. So we must ask, what do volunteers want? They are giving their time, a very precious commodity, so doing a few simple things for them will go a long way. So the least we can do is:

  • Be prepared and organized
  • Make them feel welcome
  • Give them good training
  • Make the work interesting
  • Outline time parameters upfront
  • Communicate effectively and efficiently
  • Appreciate them and show it…

I find one of these points, in particular to be all encompassing. Look no further than “Appreciate Your Volunteers.” If you appreciate your volunteers, you will be prepared, you will respect their time, you will thank them, and most of all, they will want to work with your organization again and again. While you’re thinking about it, check out these 101 suggestions for appreciating your volunteers.

Maybe the key to inspiring motivation isn’t a call to action but a game of give and take. It’s not about the power of your words but the sincerity of your actions, and what you can give in return.

So how loud are your personal actions speaking to your volunteers?


One way you can show that appreciate the efforts of your volunteers is to amaze them with organization and efficiency. Start a 30 Day Free trial for MemberHub and get your nonprofit’s communication back on track.