“Action is the foundational key to all success.”
— Pablo Picasso
Follow-up is action. And action is the foundation to success.
No matter what kind of volunteer activity it is, it’s up to us to take action afterwards. It will make our experience better and giving time to help the coordinator improve the experience next time is a way to help further. A follow-up is one way to do that.
Still, it may not be obvious what to do after volunteering. Here are a few ideas on how to follow-up.
- Volunteer Again – Contact the coordinator to let them know if you’re interested in helping out again, or to be put on an email list. You can always say ‘no’ later if your schedule changes.
- Compliment Someone – If you were treated well, or really enjoyed the volunteering experience, tell the coordinator. It’ll make someone’s day.
- Build A Team – While you’re volunteering, get some contact information from the other volunteers if it seems appropriate. Send them an email afterwards just to connect. It’s not a bad way to build a future volunteering team.
- Email Your Ideas – Reiterate any ideas you have in writing. We often talk about ideas as we volunteer. Pass those along in an email to the coordinator so they’re less likely to be lost.
- Positive Feedback – If you have feedback, and it’s not the best, make it positive and motivational. Volunteer coordinators are giving their time to make things better, not to hear your harsh complaints. But helpful feedback is always welcome.
- Write About It – Put some notes on your blog about your experiences. Try talking about the people you’ve helped, rather than yourself. You’ll better understand the organization or your fellow volunteers. Then send a link back to the coordinator.
- Invite Your Family, Friends And Neighbors – If it was a good experience, tell people in your life. Specifically, tell them about the people you’re helping. They may not want to help, or not even fathom that they can get involved. But, hey, if you’re nice about it, I’ll bet at least one person joins you next time.
- Most Importantly, Send A Thank-You – That’s right, thank the coordinator(s). Especially if they’re a volunteer themselves, give them a pat on the back for what they’re doing.
Oh, by the way, do you want to know a terrific side benefit to following-up after a volunteer activity?
It’s practice for following up on all those other great opportunities in your life.
Spent the evening following up on to-do items from yesterday’s Toastmasters Leadership Conference. Also, after hearing a very unique presentation today at my son, Zachary’s piano recital/workshop, I’ll be following up with the coordinator.
Thanks Eric. I work both as a volunteer and as a manager of volunteers nearly every day, and those are useful tips to bear in mind.
Thanks Steven! Feel free, as a volunteer manager and volunteer, to offer any suggestions you have found to help make the volunteering experience better. I’d love to hear them!
You have given us some wonderful suggestions here Eric. I love the fact that you remind us that we have the ability to continue to take action after we have volunteered since it is likely we will continue to benefit when we do so! Thanks for these nuggets of wisdom.
You are most welcome, Linda. Sometimes the little things can help keep us connected with the volunteer work we do. Thanks for the comment!