Volunteers are crucial for the success of any nonprofit. With their help, organizations can accomplish many more goals that would otherwise be an exhaustive task for a few individuals to handle. With the help of volunteers, nonprofits are able to significantly increase their impact on the community they serve.
However, many nonprofits struggle with finding the right volunteers to fit their organization’s needs. There are many ways to attract volunteers, but finding the method that works best for your organization often is a process of trial and error. There are a few steps a nonprofit can take that make attracting volunteers a less disheartening task.
Have a Strong Message
Before your organization begins recruiting volunteers, it is important for your organization to have a message that evokes interest. Your message should also adequately convey your organization’s mission and communicate the importance of your organization in your community.
Having a clear and compelling message will allow potential volunteers to see the value and importance of investing their time in your organization. Your message should also describe the expected and desired results of the volunteer’s activities.
Only once you have perfected the message that you wish to convey will it then be time to start recruiting volunteers. Each time you have a different volunteer role, you should revise your message to ensure that you are attracting the individuals that are best suited for that position, whether it’s by the skills required or if you are looking for someone for a more long-term position.
When All Else Fails, Ask
While this may sound obvious, the best way to attract more volunteers is to simply just ask. There are a variety of different ways that a nonprofit can reach out to individuals, including utilizing social media and your website. The use of these platforms can reach a broad array of people, including those who may have more specialized skills.
Many successful nonprofits showcase their previous volunteers working at events or during general operations, thus allowing for others to be made aware of the future volunteer opportunities your organization may have available. Even if your organization does not currently have many volunteers, featuring your current volunteers can still attract more. Additionally, utilizing social media to reach out to volunteers is advantageous because it allows your organization to build a community around it. Through social media you can communicate with potential volunteers and previous volunteers.
The more communication you have with these individuals, the more engaged they become with your organization, thus allowing not only for more volunteers, but those that are more dedicated. Your network of dedicated volunteers is also a vital tool in volunteer recruitment. By asking these volunteers to reach out to their friends and family they may be able to offer a compelling and personalized reason to their friends and family to volunteer for their organization.
Keep Everyone’s Needs in Mind
Another important aspect when searching for volunteers is to keep their needs in mind in addition to your own. Focusing on the needs of your organization is an easy task, but appealing to individual needs will help elevate your volunteers. There are a variety of different reasons why a person may volunteer for an organization, such as they believe in the cause or they want to feel like they are making a difference.
Knowing what is important to your ideal volunteers can make it easier to identify the best places to search for them. For example, if your organization is working to raise funds for a disease cure, you may want to target support groups for those affected by said disease.
An additional avenue that can help appeal to potential needs of volunteers is achieved by reaching out to high schools or universities. Many students, especially high school students, are in need of volunteer opportunities. Many scholarships and clubs often require a certain amount of volunteer hours in order to be eligible for the award or participation. Additionally, students are often looking for a way to set themselves apart from the competition for awards or spots at a university, and volunteer opportunities are an excellent way to do so.
Make Your Presence Known
Finally, when searching for volunteers, organizations want to ensure that their presence is known in the community that they serve. There are a variety of options that a nonprofit can utilize to make their presence known, with one of the most common methods being either having your organization attend events hosted in your community or by hosting your own events in the community.
While you may be able to reach people at other organizations’ events, it is far more beneficial for your organization to host its own event as it ensures that the spotlight is on your organization. When planning an event, your organization should keep in mind to what is popular in your community and what would attract more people to attend your event. There are a limitless number of events your organization can hold to gain notice, such as picnics or game nights. Once you have people in attendance of your event, this will give you a platform for you to spread your message, show your achievements, and explain your goals. This will give you a better opportunity to seek out volunteers by not only demonstrating your needs, but also appealing to their needs.
Overall, when looking for volunteers it is important to ensure that your message, mission, and needs are clear to those who may be interested. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to simply ask someone to volunteer their time, whether it’s for an event or a more long-term position. There are many reasons why an individual would choose to volunteer for an organization, but no matter how vital your mission is, it is still important to appeal to the needs of your volunteers.
If your organization is struggling with recruiting volunteers, please contact the office of BizCentral USA to speak to one of our nonprofit experts at 407-857-9002 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help guide you and your organization in the right direction.