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6 Simple Strategies to Recruit More Volunteers
Are you getting fewer volunteer sign-ups than you think you should? Are volunteers not returning as often as they should?
It takes a lot of effort to recruit a new volunteer and even more to keep them. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 1 out of every 3 new volunteers never comes back - that's a lot!
If you're working hard and still not getting the results you want, the answer may lie in one of these 6 simple strategies that you can quickly employ to recruit more volunteers (and reactivate existing ones!).
1. Emphasize Volunteering on Your Website
If your organization's website does not provide clear, easy to access links to send potential volunteers directly to your list of Volunteer Opportunities, then you might be missing out on some interested volunteers.
No doubt your organization has an incredible mission and beautiful stories to tell. But those stories need to be supported with Calls-to-Action on your homepage, like...
- A prominent "Volunteer Now" button that sends potential volunteers directly to your Volunteer Opportunity Portal
- Links in the homepage's header and footer to the Volunteer Opportunity Portal
And you might want to consider...
- A key feature article or content block on the homepage linking to the Volunteer Opportunity Portal
- Direct links to key volunteering initiatives
- Direct links to volunteer applications, orientation sessions or other key first steps for volunteers
The bottom line is...make it easy for potential volunteers to find Volunteer Opportunities.
2. Link Social Media Posts & Emails to your Volunteer Portal
Wait, you're not using social media?! Just kidding:) But seriously, it's incredibly important to maximize every social media post and volunteer-facing email. Your website, social media, and email newsletters are your best venues to communicate - so take advantage!
Social media posts should not only encourage people to volunteer (and preferably for specific Volunteer Opportunities), but should link directly to the Volunteer Opportunity Portal.
Email newsletters should also link directly to volunteer opportunities...even if they're primarily focused on fundraising appeals. That's right! Adding a link to the Volunteer Opportunity Portal in ALL of your organization's emails is a simple way to encourage people to sign up.
3. Make it Easy for Groups to Sign Up Together
One of the biggest enticements for new volunteers is the chance to volunteer with their friends (or family or colleagues). People are shy!
Some organizations (like mentoring programs for instance) can only accept individual volunteers, but for others, making it easier for volunteers to bring guests/+1's is a great way to encourage new volunteers to try a new experience.
And maybe more importantly, you might even find a new corporate partner...
4. Re-engage Individuals after Company Events
Corporate volunteering days are great ways to engage potential big money donors. But they're also great ways to recruit big groups of new volunteers.
You probably can't rely on all (or even a majority) of those corporate volunteers to come back again as individuals, but if you don't ask, you'll never know! Sending a personalized thank you email with a link to future volunteer opportunities is an absolute must when working with corporate groups.
⭐⭐⭐BIG HINT: many corporate groups won't provide email addresses for their employees, so try using digital waivers to capture email addresses. It's a great way to build your contact list AND protect your liability.
5. Limit Lengthy Volunteer Applications
Volunteer applications are often a great tool to ensure that you have the right people in place to help serve children, students, senior and vulnerable populations.
HOWEVER, one of the biggest mistakes we see is organizations requiring applications for activities like park cleanups or food service. A great volunteer management system like Golden provides you with the ability to get their information you need (including Background and Motor Vehicle Record Checks) while allowing volunteers to claim a spot.
Unnecessary "applications" deter new volunteers from signing up for simple activities.
6. Have an Easy Way for Volunteers to Get Started
Similarly, when volunteers have an easy way to dip their toes in the water, they are more likely to try something new.
Maybe that's an open house, an orientation session, or maybe just an open community day where you welcome new volunteers to perform some simple tasks and get to know your organization a bit.
How can you make it really easy for a new volunteer to say "Yes, I'll try that!"
Volunteer Recruitment is Hard...
So please make it easy on yourself by making it as easy as possible for your volunteers!
- Easy to find volunteer opportunities on your website
- Easy to click links from your social media and emails to find volunteer opportunities
- Easy to volunteer with a friend
- Easy to sign up and get started
It's amazing how much difference a few simple tweaks can make!