Volunteers are an indispensable resource to any non-profit organization. These people give of their time and expertise to help organizations achieve their mission. Help your organization find and retain enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers with these tried and true suggestions.
Current volunteers are a great source for helping find new ones. However, casting a larger net will yield you a greater variety of volunteers. There are plenty of free and low cost options to help you advertise your need. Here are our favorite 5.
- Postcards. Direct mail is a great way to share your need for volunteers and postcards are an inexpensive option. You can send them out to past donors or purchase a list that includes those close to your physical location. This is the time to find volunteers, so resist the urge to ask for donations.
- Public Service Announcements. Get in touch with local newspapers, radio stations and tv networks and ask them to do a PSA on behalf of your organization.
- Flyers. Coffee shops, gyms, preschools…all of these places have community bulletin boards and welcome flyers. Take advantage. Print out your flyers in black ink (the least expensive color!) on brightly colored paper so you catch the eye of potential volunteers. You can put up several copies so people aren’t shy about taking one. Keep a stack in your car, too — you just never know when you might run into someone that may be a good fit for your organization.
- Business Cards. Inexpensively print information about your organization and the need for volunteers on a business card. Ask current volunteers, friends and other supporters to take a stack and hand them out. You can also leave a few at locations your ideal volunteer may frequent.
- Social Media. Place a call for volunteers on all of your social pages — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and SnapChat! Those that are following you already know how wonderful your organization is and may be ready to get more involved. Post eye catching graphics to draw potential volunteers attention to it and include a link to your website page that has more information about available volunteer opportunities.
Now that you have a group of new volunteers ready to help your organization it’s time to welcome them. Schedule an orientation before you have them roll up their sleeves and get involved.
At the orientation, you will want to clearly set expectations. Sharing formal policies, scheduling and giving volunteers specific direction will make it a better experience for everyone. Volunteers want the experience to be rewarding. Showing them specifically how their efforts will impact others will get them excited to work with you. Keep in mind, they are volunteers and though they aren’t looking for monetary compensation, they want to be shown their efforts are appreciated. Saying “Thank you” often is important. Incentives such as swag, volunteer perks or even a free meal are motivators and should be offered as often as possible.
How does your organization recruit and retain volunteers? Share your creative efforts with us!