“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”
Does this strike a chord with your organization? While this certainly seems true with respect to implementing technology, is it also true for volunteerism numbers in the organization? It can feel that way.
An organization’s engagement can fluctuate significantly throughout a year. Volunteers retire, move away, or experience life changes (like new babies or new jobs) that prevent them from serving the organization in the same way.
How can you keep your volunteer list from growing stale? In this post, we’ll offer a few volunteer recruitment ideas to keep things fresh.
Don’t Give Up on Departing Volunteers
First, if a valued volunteer is leaving the organization, ask if there is another way to keep him or her engaged “part time” or in a different manner.
Maybe the volunteer would still like to work remotely or help out in the office when time allows. Check out our guide for setting up work from home volunteer opportunities.
Tips for Getting New People Interested
To search for new volunteers, the field is wide open. New technologies allow organizations to reach wider audiences more so than ever before. Here are some ideas for getting new volunteers interested:
- Run a contest – Hold a drawing for all new volunteers who donate their time. Give away a gift card or prize to a lucky winner after the work is done.
- Offer an incentive – Remember Disney’s “Give a Day, Get a Day” program a few years back? When volunteers logged a set number of hours at approved locations, the coordinators reported their numbers back to Disney. Disney then rewarded these volunteers with a free day at a Disney park.
- Give away some swag – Shirts, bags, and coffee mugs are popular choices. These freebies will also double as advertisements for your nonprofit.
- Do something really unique – Set an outrageous goal that is destined to get media attention (example: strive for getting the most people to volunteer at a single event in your city’s history). Volunteers will love being part of something special.
How to Get the Word Out
This all sounds great, but how can you get the word out?
- PR buzz – Radio, TV, and newspaper ads will reach a more traditional segment, while social media posts via Twitter and Facebook will likely reach a younger demographic.
- Ask volunteers to bring a friend – Offer an incentive for those who help you grow your volunteer list.
- Ask your donors to volunteer – Download this free letter template to convert donors into volunteers.
- Ask volunteers to advocate on social media – Volunteers love sharing their photos and stories from your event. Send an email reminding them to use your hashtag when sharing.
Keep New Volunteers Engaged
After a volunteer’s initial experience, it is essential for your volunteer coordinator to reach out. If the coordinator’s schedule will not allow it, ask someone else on the board to take this responsibility and run with it. Text or email the new volunteer to show gratitude (hint: VolunteerHub can do this automatically for you). Also, remember to invite the volunteer back for an upcoming event.
Before you know it, your numbers will be booming. And, more importantly, you’ll have more engaged volunteers who can help you achieve your mission.