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Audience Questions from Webinar on Volunteer Engagement & Mobilization

In the first of our 2-part webinar series, Divya Narayanan and Jacob Cherian from spoke with Bharat Bhaskaran to understand what is the best way to Engage & Mobilise Volunteers. Chiku Agarwal managed the slides for the session.

The session had over 90 attendees on Zoom, and was also streamed on Facebook.

View the Slides here. The session recording can be found on our Youtube channel.

Below are responses to the questions that we could not tackle during the session. All questions on chat were collected and answered by Bharat after the session.


I’m leading a team right now, but I’m pretty new to the whole system, so I wish to learn how to better mobilise my team and keep them motivated to work on their own.

1. Invest in their learning and development. Help them upskill themselves with both domain awareness and skillsets that they need to do their role

2. Help them connect with each other meaningfully and build stronger relationships with each other


I’m in the midst of building a volunteer program for marine conservation and litigation. I’m trying to build after college programs for law students that will help them to lend their skills to environmental law projects. 


Start by talking at least to 5-10 students from your demography and ask them what they would like to see in the program. Using those as building blocks, build an experience for the students that would allow them to meaningfully help the program grow



How can one build a great volunteer bonding?

– Gratitude circles

– Sharing top challenges with each other

– Talking about why they took up volunteering (deep shares about the reason why they strongly feel about the cause)



I want to learn how to engage people and to keep their volunteering energies high during COVID -19

– Using online platforms such as zoom, google meets, hangouts etc

– Playing online games like pictionary. psych etc

– Doing morning check ins on whatsapp daily where they share about their daily lives





I want to learn as to how to mobilise volunteers in a non conventional organisation system say male abuse or mental health.


Find people passionate about the cause and get them to build a system along with you. As long as you have the right team with you, mobilization strategies do not vary. IT’ll be similar to the conventional mobilization strategies that we spoke about in the webinar.



I seek to know how we can create opportunities to enable our volunteers know each other well, which leads to better team cohesion and cooperation.

– Gratitude circles

– Sharing top challenges with each other

– Talking about why they took up volunteering (deep shares about the reason why they strongly feel about the cause)

When volunteers connect at a deeper level, they understand where everyone is coming from. This builds better empathy, cooperation and cohesion between the team.



How we can convince someone who is confused whether to join the team or not?

When someone is very demotivated in the team and he/she feels like that they are not giving much effort…so how to motivate them?

Allow them to volunteer for a week or two with your team and ask them to take a call at the end of it to see if they fit in and enjoy the work.



In these hard days of covid 19, any strategy on how to get people to volunteer for different cause?

– Social media campaigns where you talk about your cause passionately

– Explaining to potential volunteers what kind of impact they would be making

– Telling them how they can volunteer as well as support people during Covid 19 crisis and it’s not one or the other. They can do both.




Engaging volunteers is a part of creating impact in any sector that we work. How can we be mindful about that throughout the process?

– Constantly talking to volunteers on ground and getting their feedback

– Asking them how you can improve and incorporating their feedback

– Every decision you take, ask yourself the question- How is this impacting the volunteers on ground?




How to gather more volunteers, like during these times we are not able to go out and tell people that we need volunteers…obviously we can put the information on social media but people tend to ignore it so how to gather volunteers during these times and what are the factors that play an important role in this?

– Word of mouth also plays a good role. If I had a good experience, I will tell my friends to join as well. So that is a good strategy to try out. Asking your existing volunteers to bring 5 friends each.

– Colaborating with organizations that already have volunteers. Partnering with them for your events.



How do you start building a base without being too intensive on the ground? Some organisations might need volunteers for specific purposes (part time volunteers) and are not aiming at becoming a full blown volunteer organization. How would you tweak some of the on-ground intensive strategies  (inductions, monthly meets, after-work hangouts) what could be the alternatives? Can the core be built through a few pointed, efficient touchpoints as well?

– Recruitments

– Trainings

– Monthly meetings 

These should be enough platforms to ensure that expectations are set correctly with your volunteers and you can also infuse elements of bonding and training in these.



How important is it to divide departments within an organisation. I’ve come across this confusing of letting people choose what they like or putting them in different departments to get the work done( which they might not necessarily like )

Program team- Core departments that deliver your interventions on ground

Support team- HR, PR, Marketing, Sales etc

Allow volunteers to choose one of the two departments but ensure that they are flexible within their department.



How to deal with volunteer who came solely for the purpose of gaining certificate and do not believe in our cause ? Should we not let them in at all?

 That is absolutely okay. Some people are driven by the cause while some are driven by the certificate or experience. As long as they do their role well, it should be okay. 

Sometimes volunteers become passionate about the cause after working towards it for a year or so. So they may come for the certificate but they stay for the cause. If they feel engaged and mobilized, their intent will become a non factor.



How to create collaboration between volunteers?

– Create a culture of collaboration

– Make it mandatory to work in teams

– Make it mandatory to collect feedback and incorporate before launching any event/running a program

– Build a culture where asking for help is encouraged.



How to get the volunteer to open up? I want them to be comfortable in giving their suggestions. I personally open all kinds of suggestions and criticism.

– Create a culture of transparency

– For the first few times you may have to ask them to compulsorily share feedback. Once they do, incorporate their feedback. Show them that their voice matters and is being heard. Soon they will step up themselves to share feedback and create an open system.

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