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Last updated October 12, 2018

So many times we hear people complaining that it’s the same people doing the same jobs all of the time – but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want more people in your organisation to get involved, chances are there are a couple of things you’re missing. Next time you find yourself sighing, consider the top 5 reasons why people aren’t helping out:

1. They don’t know what you want them to do

People want to make sure they are completely capable of doing a job, before they volunteer to do it. When making requests for volunteers, tell them exactly what you need them to do, when it needs to be done, how long it will take, where it needs to take place, and who they will be working with. It is easier for people to say yes, when they know what they are saying yes to.

2. You haven’t asked them personally

If you ask for volunteers in a newsletter or via a bulk email, you will usually only get replies from your hard-core volunteers. The remainder will assume that with so many people reading the request, somebody else will put their hand up to help. When you ask for help one-on-one, people know they are needed.

3. They have offered to help before and you turned them down

People volunteer to help out because they want to be of service, and if they are not being of service to you, they will go and be of service to somebody else. As soon as someone shows a desire to volunteer – find them a job – even if you have to create one!

4. They have helped before and they weren’t appreciated

Very few people are so saint-like that they will continue to volunteer despite lack of reward or recognition. If they didn’t feel appreciated the first time, chances are they won’t volunteer for a second.

5. They CAN’T not WON’T

Not everyone has the skills or confidence to do certain tasks. Be sensitive to what people might be thinking or feeling, and offer opportunities to make it easier for them. Perhaps they need some extra training, or there is a different task which is better suited.


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