A guide on how to recruit volunteers and generate extra passion for your charity
Charities have spent the pandemic hunkering down and braving the storm. Now that restrictions are easing, it’s time to energise your staff and workforce. Volunteers from diverse backgrounds are a great way to keep your enthusiasm going.
Volunteers are also vital to many charity operations. They can help jazz up your event, fundraise, and even lift some of the administrative burden from your employees.
But the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) says that involving volunteers is not just about additional resourcing. Volunteers foster relationships in communities, provide feedback on service delivery, and help raise awareness, aligning with many strategic goals. They are the best ambassadors of your cause, and attracting them is essential.
At Charity Digital, we think the best way to attract volunteers is digitally. Now that the world is opening up again, it’s time to get back out there and recruit. Here are our top tips to attracting volunteers of all types.
Trustees and board members are valuable resources for identifying volunteers. Many charity trustees and board members are recruited from sectors with specialist skillsets. They may already have a network of candidates for that special volunteering position.
Digital platforms help charities advertise volunteer positions and promote charity projects. Reach Volunteering, Team London volunteering, and Volunteer Scotland are digital resources to know. The platforms also provide guidance and templates on how to recruit volunteers.
Getting your call for volunteers out on social media is vital. To maximise your post, use hashtags to generate buzz in your community. Create secure and clickable bitly links for each channel to direct audiences to your application or job specification. Remember to share the links in your bio and posts, and track them to see where interest has come from.
Our top tip for grassroots movements is to be ready for the call to action. In our case study of grassroots movements, empowering community groups is key to going viral.
Charities should be prepared to post downloadable banners, toolkits, and any helpful templates for local action groups.
Let your existing volunteers sing your praises. Have your experienced members share their fond memories of volunteering. Online videos, live streaming, and digital photos are good ways to promote the experience.
Ask volunteers to share their own stories with their network. Volunteers’ Week recognises how motivating these stories can be. To help guide your ambassadors, check out some of the best volunteering stories on their website.
To make your roles as attractive as possible, being flexible is key. At Charity Digital, we’ve highlighted how mobilisation can help empower your volunteers. For organisers, devices allow volunteers to manage their own time and space.
Volunteering roles need to work for both individuals and the charities. Volunteer Scotland suggests allowing potential supporters to try volunteering before committing. The organisation also says that once your call-to-action is out there, volunteers might even suggest roles for themselves. Ensure that opportunities aren’t just limited to individuals, but can accommodate groups willing to donate time.
Don’t forget about keeping people up to date with your cause. Donorbox says that recognition ensures a high employee and volunteer retention rate. Give your staff the attention they deserve for their hard work.
Thanking volunteers and staff doesn’t need to come at a high cost. Publicly acknowledging deeds goes a long way. Mentioning and tagging volunteers, projects, and special works on social media spreads the good feeling. Charity digital leaders can also send e-mails and thank you letters to show thanks.
Let your audiences know that there are lots of ways to show support. One of the best ways to attract volunteers is to offer both digital and in-person roles. Make sure that the range of digital roles is clear to your audience.
Many charities already offer digital opportunities like mentorship, companionship and admin. Most roles vary in terms of time commitment and tech requirements. AgeUK and The Mix already among those offering digital opportunities.
Offering online opportunities also needs to be easy. Galaxy Digital has one of the best tips to make sure you’ve thought everything through. When launching online opportunities, ensure that even the onboarding is digital.
From the interview process to training, have your programme be accessible online. To make your content engaging, digital tools like video conferencing, uploaded documents, and interactive quizzes work well.