It’s safe to say that most nonprofits wouldn’t be able to do all that they do without the help of their dedicated volunteers. While a good volunteer can seem hard to find, it’s important to find ways to share their stories in order to spread the word about your organization and remind them how valuable they are. Volunteers can be the key to recruiting new volunteers as people may find they relate to them and want to be a part of your mission.
How do you utilize volunteers’ experiences to help you gain new support and reach a wider audience?
Try volunteer profiles. People love when they can relate to someone or something. In this case, it may take them seeing or hearing a volunteer’s story that sounds like theirs for them to realize that it’s an organization they’d like to be a part of helping as well.
Because volunteers come from all different backgrounds and may have found your organization in a wide variety of ways, sharing their stories with others can help you reach an audience far larger than you may have been able to organically or even with the best marketing tactics.
They can reach a deeper level of involvement and care as well, as they may see someone who looks like them or has a similar background being a part of your organization and want to take part in that as well. Volunteer profiles can make a great marketing tool as well as serve as relationship builders with the volunteers you highlight.
While you may say thank you properly each time volunteers assist with a project or event, truly spotlighting them and showing your gratitude through appreciating their efforts will make them feel even more valued and appreciated. Overtime, relationship builders like these are what go into cultivating lasting relationships with volunteers.
How to Profile a Volunteer:
1. Write an article or have an article written.
Does your community or association where you live have a local newspaper or magazine? Reaching out to the editor to see how or when they accept new stories can help you secure a spot to feature a volunteer or share a story that relates to one of them.
2. Share a profile on social media or your website.
Perhaps the most efficient way to share a volunteer profile is by sharing one on your social media platforms and website. Writing up a story or post about your volunteers will not only show your appreciation for them but will allow them to share the links and posts with their friends and family, who may want to get involved as well.
3. Write a profile for your newsletter.
Focus on one volunteer per week or month (or however often your newsletter goes out). Not only does this build excitement for those who are regular readers, but it can give each stand-out volunteer a chance to be recognized and appreciated as well.
4. Ask them to share their story at an event.
If there is a volunteer with a captivating story, ask them to share it at your next event. Sharing the impact volunteering has had on your organization is a great way for them to connect with your organization and share it with others to get involved.
What to Include in a Volunteer Profile:
While this will vary for each volunteer and scenario, share the things that make that volunteer stand out to you. You can include things such as:
- How they got started with your organization
- What they love most about your organization
- What they do as a volunteer
- Why it’s meaningful to them
- What their goals for the future are
- What they do in their spare time/their other interests
- What advice they’d give to those interested in volunteering
- Any other insightful information you’d like to include
If writing a piece seems stressful, try an interview format or asking the volunteer to submit their own mini-story. This can take some of the pressure off your organization and will make sure that you’re portraying the volunteer in the way they want to be portrayed. Who knows, you might even have volunteers who have skills in writing that can make valuable assets to writing future volunteer profiles!
Overall, volunteer profiles and the sharing of their stories can help your organization show appreciation to volunteers, increase your ability to reach new audiences, and share your mission further.
Does your organization utilize volunteer stories to share with others? We’d love to hear how!