Any nonprofit or charity organization knows that finding volunteers who can donate time is as essential as receiving financial donations. Volunteers can be difficult to recruit as time is becoming more and more precious. These issues have been compounded over the past year with so many restrictions keeping people at home and away from others.
As such, the demand for virtual volunteers has increased exponentially in recent months. There is always more work to do, than people to do it. But a good volunteer can change everything and make a huge difference to your cause.
Finding, recruiting, and keeping volunteers engaged is challenging at best. So, if you’re struggling to find the right people to aid your cause, we’ve put together some top tips to help identify and recruit virtual volunteers.
If you already have a strong team of volunteers in place, then utilize this network to encourage and reach other potential candidates. It’s likely that your existing volunteers know others who share similar values and would be willing to volunteer if asked.
Give your team training and information on how to recruit volunteers. Let them know the best ways to communicate your cause, the roles available, and the skills needed. This way, they can be confident in asking others to join.
Use your existing volunteers as a support system to help onboard new recruits. Pair people up so new recruits have someone they can go to for questions and advice. Provide opportunities for new recruits to chat with each other.
Volunteers are a powerful asset. They not only do the bulk of the work; they can also help you grow and expand. If they know which jobs need to be done and the skills required, they may already know someone for the role. Let them take an active part in helping recruit new volunteers as well as identifying new roles.
Many people are unsure what virtual volunteering entails. People who regularly volunteer may have concerns about their own and other people’s safety and therefore feel they cannot volunteer at this time. You should clearly advertise all possible volunteering roles as involving no contact with others. This will help encourage people to learn more about the role’s details. By making it clear that virtual volunteering roles are totally safe and based at home, you encourage people to feel confident when signing up.
You should also let them know, immediately, what the role entails. Providing a detailed description will help people understand if they can actually perform the role. Some people may wish to help but do not have the appropriate skills to perform a role, digitally. The more transparent and concise you can be about what a virtual volunteering opportunity entails, the more you will encourage the right kind of candidate. Asking for “virtual volunteers” is so vague it may be off-putting. Be specific and clear, so people know from the start if this is something they want. As well as attracting the right kind of people, you’ll avoid time wasters.
Once you have people interested in volunteering, you should make the process of signing up, discovering opportunities, and passing over information as easy as possible. A complicated website with a long process is likely to put people off. You should streamline your volunteer recruitment process so potential volunteers can find virtual volunteering positions, signup, and receive the necessary information within a few minutes.
Online forms with clearly marked sections make it obvious where information is needed so potential volunteers can give you any information you need. You should also provide clear contact information; both email and a phone number.
If you need to provide information or training, you should have a downloadable link ready or send everything over in one email. If you have a dedicated team of on-boarders who can help new recruits access all the information they need, you’ll find people more willing to stay.
You can’t just rely on people going on your website and looking for roles. You need to actively promote and market the positions and your cause on social media platforms. Social media can be frustrating as it requires constant work and attention. But in the long run, it’s a very powerful tool. Targeted ads, suggestions, regular posting, and promotions all help build a robust online network of people who are dedicated to your cause.
You need to let people know that you have virtual roles available. While social media is the easiest way to reach a large group of people, you should consider other options, such as volunteer management software to broadcast new roles to existing volunteers who would be compatible.
Whether it’s with schools, educational programs, or corporations, partnerships are a great way to maintain a steady stream of volunteers. Many businesses are looking for ways to give back to the community or partake in social-responsibility causes. You can use this to your advantage to make sure you always have people you can call when you need volunteers.
Reach out to any business you think might want their employees to volunteer and explain your work and how it can benefit them. You should also consider schools with volunteering programs and other organizations requiring volunteering. Ensure these organizations know about your cause and what roles you have available. This way, they can come to you, and you’ll increase your volunteer recruitment for an extended period with minimal active recruitment from you.
Finding and recruiting volunteers is not a new problem for nonprofits. However, the digitization of many skills and recent restrictions means virtual volunteers are more crucial than ever. There might be additional challenges to overcome, but with the right strategies in place, you will be able to find the right people for your cause.