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Tips for Keeping Health Care Volunteers Motivated and Engaged

Modern Health Line volunteers provide essential assistance to paid staff members and patients. They don’t directly participate in patient care, but help transport patients or socialize with them, for example. One of the great things about volunteering is that it broadens the perspectives of the people who willingly give their time to help others. But the engagement with individuals from various circumstances can make volunteers feel disheartened and like what they’re doing doesn’t matter. When that happens, volunteers who used to love giving back can get unmotivated and discouraged. Here are five practical ways for Modern Health Line employees to combat these negative effects...

  • 1. Remind Volunteers of the Specific Differences They Make
  • It’s certainly a good idea to say “thank you” to volunteers for the time and talents they give, but you should go further when possible and give them specific examples of how patients or paid workers benefit from their work. A Helpforce study looked at the effects of volunteers at numerous hospitals associated with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS). It found that volunteers reduced the rate of people not showing up for their appointments, gave employees more time to focus on their core roles and shortened the waiting time patients experienced between their discharge rates and when they went home due to offering transport assistance. When possible, determine some of the particular ways volunteers support your establishment overall. It’s also ideal to show appreciation for individual volunteers for the things they do, such as in a one-on-one meeting.

  • 2. Give Volunteers Roles That Suit Their Strengths or Preferences
  • When you’re giving employees their responsibilities, try to do so in a way that remains mindful of the things they do best or the kinds of tasks they prefer. Many volunteers have to complete tasks that can become boring, which can make them begin to dislike volunteering and decide it’s a waste of their time. You can avoid this situation by inviting potential volunteers to complete applications that delve into their backgrounds and skill sets. Then, take the content they provide seriously by making an honest effort to match volunteers with appropriate tasks. It’s also a good idea to ask them about particular things they don’t want to do. Let them know that they may need to do tasks they don’t like from time to time, but that you’ll do your best to assign jobs carefully.

  • 3. Create a Volunteer Engagement Plan
  • It’s certainly a step in the right direction to decide it’s time to do something specific to foster connections with volunteers. You can do so by making a volunteer engagement plan, which can improve volunteer retention rates, increase efficiency and make it easier to find volunteers that best fit your needs. Volunteer engagement begins with understanding your volunteers and their needs. You also need to set expectations for volunteers so that they get consistent experience that serves as a foundation for their work. It helps them stay grounded when they’re faced with the unpredictable and potentially traumatizing parts of the role, such as being around patients with near-constant pain..

  • 4. Let Volunteers Know You Support Them
  • Volunteers can reach low points if they see things that upset them and believe they cannot confide in anyone. Health care settings expose volunteers to disadvantaged individuals, people with chronic illnesses and those dealing with immense distress due to the conditions of their loved ones. All those factors can become burdensome, especially when volunteers think there’s no outlet for their feelings. Research shows that volunteering comes with mental and physical health benefits, but volunteers arguably won’t notice those perks as much when they feel unsupported. You can start by letting volunteers know that you’re free to talk to them whenever they need it. Moreover, check in with them on a regular basis to get their perspectives and input on what to improve. Volunteer management doesn’t just involve onboarding and scheduling. Those tasks are part of it, but any worthwhile management strategy includes showing through words and actions that volunteers can trust you enough to discuss things that make them feel overwhelmed or as though they aren’t making meaningful differences.

  • 5.Celebrate and Show Appreciation for Volunteers’ Efforts
  • In a busy health care environment, volunteers sometimes feel overlooked. You can compensate by holding volunteer appreciation parties, giving volunteers free meals or passes to hospital events such as charity galas and even writing personalized thank you letters. These gestures should remind volunteers that your organization couldn’t function without them..