Recruiting Volunteers Through Social Media

28 Jun

It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a community to run a nonprofit. While many for-profit companies focus mainly on marketing and perfecting a product, it often times feels as though nonprofits are running two “businesses”. One side of their organization includes the day-to-day business operations that all companies have to oversee to ensure smooth operation. On the other side, they have a second list of management duties pertaining to fundraising and addressing the purpose of their cause with its countless projects. Garnering volunteers through social media is one way non-profits can juggle these additional tasks, while having supporters invest in the future of their organization. Here are some ways to recruit individuals to donate their time and talents using online tools.

Ask!

This may seem terribly obvious, but many people would be willing to help if they only knew what the need was. Create a wish list/job list of what you need done in your organization and post it on your website.

For example, if you have an event or big campaign coming up, analyze every essential aspect and list specific jobs that need to be completed, how long the tasks will take, and how many people will be required to get the work done. Once you post your plea for volunteers on your website, Facebook, and Twitter, provide the necessary steps to sign up online. Construct an easy-to-use form specifying day/time options and what task they would like to work on along with the basic contact information.

Know Where to Look

Sometimes just knowing where to look can make all the difference. There are several companies, students, and other organizations looking for volunteer opportunities. Many large businesses offer a day off for community work to provide team building skills. High school seniors have a required number of volunteer hours that they need to complete in order to graduate. Connect with a high school counselor or vice principal and ask if you can leave forms for students to contact you to complete their volunteer hours. Countless college students are looking for internships for job skills and experience to put on their resumes. Organizations like the Girl Scouts or church youth groups want to reach out and get participants more involved in their communities.

There are also increasing numbers of online resources available to find individuals or organizations around you that may want to partner with you on a project. Check out websites such as Idealist.org, Volunteermatch.org, Sparked.com and Mediacause.org to get matched up with volunteers on short-term projects or for long-term commitments. The possibilities are endless!

Making Volunteering a Positive Experience

Organization is the key to any successful project. You want your volunteers to walk away with a better understanding of what your nonprofit is doing, how you are doing it, and that you are accomplishing your goals. This may be the first or only time that those who also give financial support step in to your building to see what goes on first hand, so it can have a huge impact on future support. Being organized by having all of the supplies ready, having a neat and clean work space, and carefully using your volunteers’ time by not having them wait around is fundamental to showing that you are professional and considerate.

Secondly, record your volunteers’ experiences through interviews and pictures to post in a follow up e-mail, blog, Facebook post, or next year’s volunteer recruiting push. It will bring back fond memories for those who were involved, while also encouraging others to participate in the future.

Show Your Appreciation

The best way to ensure that your volunteers will come back is to show your gratitude. Provide refreshments, have a director greet and thank your guests, give a tour of your facility, and send an old fashioned, hand written thank you note. Of course the depth of your appreciation correlates with the amount of work done, the time dedicated to the task, and the skill level required, but every job deserves a thank you. Your supporter should walk away feeling needed and that their time was well-spent making a difference.

Online fundraising can have many difference faces and finding volunteers is just one aspect. Volunteers can save you money, be encouraged to financially donate, and can be ambassadors for your nonprofit to their friends. What is free has the potential to be priceless!

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