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Introverts are often misunderstood and even undercounted. Because of this, career and volunteer organizations often lose out on their skills. Introverts become frustrated by being overlooked and misunderstood. They exit before they can be utilized appropriately. Estimates for introverted people range from thirty to fifty percent of the population. Though they’re quiet, introverts often have a range of valuable skills. When nonprofit organizations can harness these, it can make a big difference.

It’s important to know how to approach and nurture introverts. They aren’t as shy and self-centered as old stereotypes suggest. Introverts are creative, social and adaptable. They’re very vital and dynamic. They often have great ideas and even ways to implement them. It can just be challenging to see introverts and their gifts when they’re overshadowed by louder, more alpha types. Helping introverts come out of their shells, rather than ignoring them, can be vital to the success of a volunteer program.

One good way of defining introverts is where they get their energy, not just how they expend it. Introverts tend to feel recharged by being alone. Often, they can work successfully in highly public and social places. However, they may need alone time to recharge their batteries. Providing introverted volunteers with work that can be done alone, or quiet places to recharge can make it easier to prevent burnout and retain them.

It should be a goal of every organization to attract introverted volunteers. They can be great fits for positions like grant-writing, where a lot of alone time and written work is required. Inclusive language and FAQs for other areas can also ensure that introverts apply there, too. As a group, introverts tend to look before they leap. They like lots of information before applying for a post. Making good information available can help to capture their attention.

Finally, make sure to include introverted volunteers in coaching and mentoring programs. Introverts, when appropriately mentored, can be great fits for leadership positions. Often, organizations invest too much time in extroverts and lose out on the skill sets and experience of introverts. Taking steps to help draw them out, make them feel appreciated and develop their skills are fundamental. Introverted volunteers can one day be leaders of organizations, provided they are adequately managed.