Volunteering has tangible benefits both to organisers and volunteers. Here are 12 tips to help get more volunteers to engage with your opportunities.
- Find out the things that motivate your volunteers. A good way to discover this is to ask existing volunteers to describe why they volunteer in 10 words or less.
- Recognise and utilise your volunteers’ unique skills. People wish to feel valued, so taking the time to understand their skills and find appropriate opportunities will get the best out of people.
- When choosing a project that you require volunteers to support, choose one that that you feel passionate about. Your enthusiasm will be infectious!
- Volunteering in a professional capacity will allow candidates to gain vital experience and insights, and help inform their career choices going forward.
- Consider what the candidates get out of the experience: what is the value to them? Whilst some may volunteer simply to do good, most will at least want some recognition of their work, for example, to enhance their CVs or meet new connections.
- Choose causes or issues that are important to you and align to your strategic goals and priorities. People increasingly want to know what the institutions and businesses they deal with stand for and contribute to society. Supporting a good cause is a great way of showing your commitment.
- Consider working in partnership. There will be organisations and individuals that already have experience and recognition in their field. Working in collaboration will make organising and promoting events easier.
- Word of mouth is still the best way of promoting your cause. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.
- Be clear and specific when it comes to what skills you are looking for when advertising volunteering opportunities. People want to know that they can make a meaningful impact and feel their efforts make a difference. A clear idea of the role will allow them to make a fast decision.
- Get back to volunteer enquiries in a timely manner. Nothing puts potential volunteers off quite as much as a delayed response, especially in a digital world. Imagine offering your time for free and having to chase. How would it make you feel?
- Bear in mind that there is a different relationship between paid staff and volunteers. This is why supporting their efforts, rather than managing volunteers is a better approach, sharing your experience with them to help achieve a collective goal.
- Recognise volunteer contributions and efforts in a timely and personalised manner where possible. Manchester University found that sending out handwritten thank you cards resulted in a massive increase in volunteer satisfaction than sending out lavish gifts or generic communications.
I hope that you have found this post useful. Find out how our engagement platform, Aluminate Community Builder makes building and promoting your volunteering easy.
You may also be interested in our 10 takeaways from the CASE Working With Volunteers conference that features practical ideas on how to further increase your volunteer engagment.