Volunteer Help: How To Find It!
As nonprofits grow and host increasing numbers of events and activities, support from volunteers becomes more important.
There are several methods to mobilize people around your cause to make your projects successful. We have collected some tried and true strategies to help with volunteer management.
The following tips will have your projects staffed in no time:
- Use Online Platforms Dedicated to Volunteer Recruitment
- Use Social Media Accounts to Reach New Volunteers
- Spread the Word to Local Press
- Leverage Word-of-Mouth
Use Online Platforms Dedicated to Volunteer Recruitment
Several organizations provide a website portal for volunteers that can help match them to a company that provides the best volunteer opportunities for their interests. In fact, some websites are solely dedicated to helping match nonprofits with online volunteers.
Joining these services can grant you additional visibility and give you the opportunity to provide more information about your program and volunteer experience to an audience that is specifically looking for a way to make a difference. This can be a great benefit for you and for prospective volunteers!
Matt is leveraging online platforms to find volunteers!
You can fill out an application and upon approval, make a pitch about different volunteer positions available and even direct them to the home page of your website or video webinars so they can get the full story behind your company and your vision.
Some examples of volunteer recruitment platforms are:
Volunteermatch.org - One of the largest options, Volunteer Match provides a lot of analytical information and great customization. While it is free to use, there are premium services available for a monthly or annual fee.
Justserve.org - A simplified and flexible free option to find the help you need.
Volunteer.gov - Another free portal, this service is great for connecting volunteers to cultural or natural resource agencies.
Idealist.org - Offers free volunteer recruitment services although if you want to post a job, you will have to pay for the opportunity to do so.
Createthegood.aarp.org - This website is great for free recruitment of small or large numbers of volunteers.
Use Social Media Accounts to Reach New Volunteers
It’s no secret that we are at an all-time high of social media usage, so let’s harness that power for social good! Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn make great options to attract interested volunteers. Through these resources, there are many opportunities to spread the word about your organization and its effort while focusing on the interests of individuals that make up your target audience.
Google ad grants provides nonprofits with free ads that can be utilized to drive volunteer recruitment. This is a great way to inform the public about volunteer opportunities and a description of your organization to pique interest.
Pro Tip: Wondering about Google Ad grants? Well, it is a great way to get up to $10,000 of free advertising for your organization each month. Eligible organizations can try their hands at online advertising in a risk-free scenario. Whether you are looking for more donations, more members, or simply greater awareness, Google Ad grants may be the vehicle to help you achieve your goals.
While the platforms mentioned above are great places to target older adults, to reach a younger population, many nonprofits make use of additional social media such as Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok. If this strategy interests you, don’t forget to make it part of your communication plan! Remember, planning is the key to effective communication.
Spread the Word to Local Press
Approaching local press may be intimidating, it can be a big step in marketing your organization and improving your outreach to attract more volunteers. Often, the press likes to include feel-good stories to counteract the greater amount of negative news, and your mission for social good is a great avenue if you approach it properly.
Ryan is spreading the word the old-fashioned way!
A simple manner to reach out is via a phone call or email. Contact your local newspaper team or other public information agencies directly and answer the major questions:
Who are you?
What is your purpose?
Why do you need help?
How can people assist in your mission?
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get your big break right away. Local news stations and newspapers are highly solicited so you may have some trouble getting through the noise. However, if you do, consider it a major victory and take advantage of the added visibility.
The power of word-of-mouth is well documented. According to Hubspot, "word of mouth" influences two to 10 times more customers than traditional media.
Engage your staff, those who make donations to your cause, members of your organization, as well as your community neighbors to help you find suitable candidates for your volunteer positions. Sharing experiences and requesting support on social media is a great way to get the word out.
Also, consider posting ads or flyers at locations where you fundraise or in locations where your target audience is most likely to visit. This will notify the public that you are seeking help and help spread the word.
Speak to other nonprofit organizations in a variety of fields from those working in disaster relief to those working with veterans, pets, childcare, seniors, or world hunger. Each organization has different experiences and can serve as a mentor to help you find volunteers or at least offer advice on strategies that work for them.
Finally, when you do build up a roster of volunteers, go out of your way to make them feel appreciated for taking their valuable time to help your nonprofit succeed. Keep them informed by sending out a volunteer newsletter and find ways you can thank your volunteers for the hard work they do on your behalf.
If you can add incentives, it is always nice to be rewarded for your commitment, even if it is just a few goodies here and there.
Also, you can track volunteer hours to create a visual representation of just how much each volunteer has impacted your organization and you can use this as part of preparing a volunteer appreciation month!
Pro Tip: It is well known that it is far easier to retain staff than recruit from scratch. One of the best tidbits of advice we can give you is to take exceptional care of your volunteers. If they enjoy what your organization does, the impact they have, and feel valued for their contribution, they will probably remain in your organization. Furthermore, they will more than likely talk about their activities within your organization to others which could attract additional recruits to your nonprofit. Have a strategy for how to retain volunteers so you can capitalize on this.
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