To successfully lead volunteers takes a twist on what might work in a corporation. You have to be sensitive to people's needs and adjust your leadership activities accordingly to satisfy those needs.
Importance of Recognition
Anyone performing volunteer work does so at least in part for personal reasons. Even if they don't admit it to themselves — even if they protest the attention — most people want at least some degree of recognition. Give them what they are looking for. It's an expression of proper respect and manners. Ensure that recognition and feedback happen on a regular and consistent basis. If you don't, volunteers will perceive that you are favoring one group over another.
Don't Take Dedication for Granted
Be genuinely thankful for all the time that people are willing to donate to help you achieve something and at the same time to provide you with an opportunity to expand your leadership capabilities. You don't necessarily need to make a show of gratitude. The internal recognition will guide the external expression and will help you learn the important lesson that team members are every bit as important, and often even more so, as leaders.
Selling People into Helping
Persuasion is everything when it comes to working with volunteers. Without being heavy-handed, you must constantly sell them into continuing their work and increasing their commitment. Often this takes just a bit of creativity. You could simply ask someone to sell raffle tickets at an event, which isn't terribly inspiring. Instead, explain why the raffle is important and how it is vital to the success of the event as a whole. Help volunteers see the context of what they do; in this way, they will understand why their time and effort are valuable contributions.