Recruiting digital professionals for simple tasks can be expensive. Perhaps the solution lies in your supporter base
Volunteering can bring purpose, enjoyment and activism to those doing good for a cause. For charity digital leaders, volunteers can take on tasks which might not be suitable for operational staff: providing valuable resources whilst freeing up staff to focus on more complex tasks and long-term campaign planning. We dive into the basics of what to plan for - covering some of the most common challenges to recruiting volunteers digitally, as well as how to recruit those with specialist digital skills.
Ahead of thinking who to recruit, and how to do so, do some homework on what operations or projects need support. Digital and in real life volunteers can bring in a wide range of skill sets. The NCVO advises on background planning, including determining:
Taking one step further, access to tech might also be a key consideration. For Millennials and Gen-Z volunteers, many will already have their mobile phones to hand and are ready to post to Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and TikTok. Many older volunteers might feel more comfortable using landlines or standalone computers. When planning for volunteers, consider the project requirements and what may be available from a demographic perspective.
Recruiting for digital skills is similar to recruiting for paid roles – getting the word out is essential. For charities looking for specialist digital skills, volunteer and recruitment platforms are helpful in identifying potential candidates. Across the charity sector for both digital volunteers and paid roles, platforms with high-traffic include:
Social media can drive digital volunteerism by catering to more tech-savvy audiences. Remember that posting content on social media before and after volunteer drives or events is important – make it easy to volunteer – offer audiences direct links to volunteering application forms. Out of the roster of volunteers, charities may want to identify digital volunteers who go on to promote the roles themselves. Digital ambassadors can help charities spread the word on social media.
Specialist programmes for digital volunteers are helpful in attracting potential candidates who already have access to tech.
Granny Cloud offers digital mentoring to underprivileged children in India. Many of the children are from remote areas, with limited access to education. Lacking basic English skills, Granny Cloud offers native English speakers a chance to help children learn the language – all through Skype. The non-profit is clearly digital. The application process is online and requires prospective volunteers to submit a 5-minute video. The next step is a Skype interview, and if approved, access is granted to a secret Facebook group. Orientation is then done through Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp and email. For Granny Cloud, the approach works because the tech involved with the screening and mentoring programme are the same, ensuring that on day one of mentorship, tools are already available.
Once recruited, there are many tech options to help charity digital leaders manage volunteer teams, events, and programmes.
Digital communication tools come in handy, as many volunteers may be working from home or on the move. Low-cost software for videoconferencing meetings includes:
Software with management features for volunteer workforces can help charity digital leaders deliver impact. From simple sign-up sheets to sophisticated management information reports, tailored software can be found: