Retention does not happen in a vacuum

For many years, our focus has been more on the work that volunteers do, rather than fulfilling their needs. The times call for a better balance. If we understand what motivates AFSers, volunteer retention will follow.

When volunteers are satisfied, you can see an improvement in independence and accomplishments. By focusing on what keeps volunteers, potential volunteers will be attracted to the organization, making recruitment easier. What goes around comes around!

We’ve developed 5 motivational drivers to profile your volunteers. You can use them to assign better roles, define more effective learning paths, reduce disengagement, and more!

Focus on Retention

  • Review your current retention rate. How long are volunteers staying?
  • Are there any systems or structures in your organization that ensure focus on volunteer retention?
  • Consult other partner organizations. What strategies have improved retention?

Remember: Retention is a constant process

More than a stage, Retention is a process that should be a constant through each step of the Volunteer Journey. Think about what motivates and pushes your volunteers, and in what ways you can use that to tackle each step of the Journey.

We’ve included ideas on how to use the motivational drivers on each step of the Journey, you can find them at the bottom of each stage’s page.

The AFS Motivational Drivers


Task Achievement

Accomplishing a task and developing projects attract people to keep on volunteering.

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Volunteering for AFS generally increases the self-esteem of our volunteers.

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Skills Development

The urge to get better skills is a reliable driver to keep volunteers engaged in the long-term.

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Developing long-lasting relationships or simply making a new best friend.

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Impact & Influence

Being able to see the direct outcome of their actions and impacting other volunteers.

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