One of the most critical goals for many nonprofits is to recruit and retain volunteers. Many organizations rely on volunteers and often would not be capable of continuing their endeavors without them. But other than by word-of-mouth or inviting friends, how can a nonprofit go about connecting with potential volunteers and turning them into dedicated assets? Here are four ways inbound marketing can help you to effectively recruit new volunteers:
1. Social Media
Social channels are great place to interact and share content with potential volunteers. Whether through Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, your nonprofit has access to a host of people who are interested in the work you do. Try these suggestions:
- Share multimedia of past volunteer events. Events bring out the enthusiasm in volunteers and showcasing these events with photos and video can drive others to give back to your cause.
- Share stories of other long-time volunteers. Perform short interviews, either written or in video format, with volunteers so that they can share ways they have enjoyed or benefitted from their relationship with your organization.
- Educate on your cause. Share compelling statistics that legitimize the need your organization meets. Be careful to share truthfully and don’t sensationalize.
2. Website Presence
Your website represents who your organization is and what you do or who you serve. When people visit your website, they are inviting you into their lives (at least for a moment), usually because they want to know more about your cause. Your online presence could make a large impact on people who might want to associate themselves with you by volunteering.
- Create web content focused to volunteers. Make your content inspirational through quotes and photos to get your audience considering ways they might be part of what you do.
- Make a clear path of engagement for volunteers. Is it easy for volunteers to find opportunities on your website? Contact forms should be simple and uncomplicated as people might not be willing to invest a lot of time filling out an introductory form. Once you’ve received their contact information, you can continue the engagement process more thoroughly if you need more information from them.
- List volunteer opportunities in an easy-to-find format. Share links to any available volunteer opportunities with your organization and give details if possible. This allows your readers to know if they are qualified (i.e. note if you specifically need certified nurses, a bookkeeper, etc.) and if they have right availability (i.e. two hours every Thursday evening at a drop-in center for the homeless). Also make note if you offer specialized training for those who can perform niche tasks.
3. Email Nurturing
Email marketing for nonprofit organizations offers significant contact opportunities for connecting with and recruiting potential volunteers. Some tips for successful email campaigns:
- Engaging Subject Lines. The truth works when communicating with volunteers and donors, but the way you deliver truth in subject lines makes a difference. In order to get readers to even open your emails provide short, to-the-point subject lines that convey a sense of urgency and value without overused terminology. Avoid words such as “limited time”, “opportunity” or even free” to keep your email in the inbox rather than risking it being filtered into the spam folder.
- Keep Volunteers Informed. Use email campaigns to update your potential volunteers and donors with a regular feed of information. Remember that readers want to know about what’s happening—successes as well as difficulties.
- Use Drip Campaigns. For those on the fence about volunteering, consider feeding your potential volunteers with an automated email campaign—a series of emails that are scheduled to be sent at predetermined times. Drip campaigns can be used to simplify communication through automated processes that reinforce behavior in volunteers or possible supporters. Automated email series are set up to begin as soon as a reader signs up through an online form, working perfectly for a step-by-step recruitment process.
4. Third-Party Websites
Third-party websites are designed to help volunteer coordinators find the right volunteers for their needs. Here are some websites you can post to that will match you with volunteers:
- Volunteer Match. A site allowing charitable organizations to post needs for volunteers. Provides information to volunteers searching for nearby events.
- Volunteer Hub. This software works to recruit and manage volunteers.
- LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows organizations to accept resumes from candidates as well as posting volunteer descriptions.
You believe in your cause, so it’s only natural for you to share your enthusiasm with others by inviting them to be part of it. A specialized nonprofit inbound marketing plan works to effectively communicate to your target audience, connecting them with your organization and inspiring them into action.