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How to Find Good Volunteers

Want to know how to find good volunteers for your nonprofit? Whether it’s for virtual work, more laborious tasks or even micro-volunteering, we share how to find good volunteers with some essential tips below. 
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There is a huge amount of work that goes into recruiting volunteers. It is a time-consuming task, but volunteers are undoubtedly the most important assets of any nonprofit. So, then how do you ensure your recruitment of volunteers is time well spent? We share how to find good volunteers with our 5 essential steps below.

Organisation is Key 

The biggest timesaver and most crucial step in how to find good volunteers? Ensuring your recruitment process is organised – and from the outset. Not only will this save you the time of trying to wade through or file away backlogs of volunteer & activity information at a later date, but it will also ensure you don’t allocate the wrong person to the wrong role, and will optimise the onboarding and processing of volunteers. 

While spreadsheets are great, online systems that automate these processes will be your biggest help in being organised and reducing the work load for everyone. You want your volunteers to be able to update their details and complete repetitive tasks without fuss, with a process in place that’s just as easy for your staff. 
People sign up to volunteer because they feel an alignment to the cause; they want to give back. Volunteer satisfaction is paramount, so being organised and getting the onboarding process right is crucial.  After all, first impressions are everything!

Some tips for Volaby users:

You can streamline this process using the onboarding process and the activities page, so that volunteers can explore and apply for opportunities that make sense to them. This can then be easily followed up with “Managed Rosters” (for managers), or you can automate it using “Open Rosters”.

Make it Easy to Apply

Volunteers put in a lot of hard work. Don’t let the application process add any more difficulties.
If you take up too much of your volunteers time before they’ve even begun, they’re likely to feel unfulfilled, and that your nonprofit doesn’t value their time.

While online is the best way to collect, sort and store applications, remember that good volunteers are all ages and have varying skill sets. Ensure the application process is a positive one for your volunteers by keeping it short, easy-to-follow and as simple as possible. 

Tips for Volaby users:

Depending on your requirements, you can make your Volaby account super secure and only require volunteers to complete their name, email & password to login in and start. Input simple yes / no questions for your volunteers before speaking to them for suitability in the screening process. Once in the system, volunteers can then easily create and update their profile, updating info around their skills, availability, locations and task preferences. 

Make it Fun!

While the work can sometimes be laborious, it doesn’t meant it can’t be fun. Make it a priority to create a fun environment in which volunteers are able to enjoy themselves. Foster connections among volunteers by having fun onboarding activities, organise social events, or even just plan ice-breaking activities prior to volunteer activities that allow people to get to know each other. 

Here is an amazing example of this from Katherine Bruce and her volunteers

Building a community and fostering relationships play a crucial role in recruiting volunteers for your nonprofit, increase volunteer participation, and keep good volunteers coming back. 

Try to think outside the box, change it up, and be open to feedback and suggestions from your volunteers. 

Provide a Range of Volunteer Activity Types & Micro-Volunteering

In your quest to find good volunteers for your nonprofit, remember that not all volunteers have hours of free time at their disposal. And not all can endure laborious work. Beginners may also want to dip their toes in shorter, occasional work to begin with, before building up to bigger, longer-term volunteer activities.

Micro volunteering is the term given to short, easy tasks that give volunteers the flexibility to do in their own time, in any location, and on their own terms. This could include online tasks like completing surveys, fundraising or teaching – anything that can be completed online, from their laptop or smartphone anywhere in the world. This will help new volunteers get quick exposure to your cause and a chance to fall in love with volunteering with you – encouraging long term commitment.

Get Social 

The next, and possibly the most effective step in our how to find good volunteers guide, is to utilise your social networks. 
Your social networks – both the real life connections you have, and those you have in the digital world – are some of the very best ways to get the message out there about upcoming activities and to scale your nonprofits.

Your network in real life
Your connections might be family and friends, or the base of volunteers you already have. 
Be in constant connection with local schools, universities and work places so your nonprofit is front and centre when they consider commencing volunteer work, or are looking for nonprofits to partner with or raise funds for. 

Social Media 
Unsure how to promote volunteering? Use the power of social media to share brand messages, showcase your community impact through video and photos of volunteers engaging in the tasks, and get volunteers to share their experiences through hashtags and campaigns. 

Social proof and word of mouth is the best way to build your community and keep them.
Hashtags play pretty important roles when it comes to your content being seen on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. We also recommend you include 2 to 4 hashtags with each post on your LinkedIn and business Facebook page.  You can increase your reach organically by researching and using hashtags that are relevant to your particular nonprofit and each particular post.

You want to use hashtags that are popular, but you also want to use hashtags more specific to your desired audience.
When it comes to hashtag strategies, we recommend the following: 

  • Use up to 2 branded hashtags, and use these every time you post
  • Use between 3 and 10 hashtags that cover everything else. Look to include hashtags that encompass
    • Category 
    • Your specific content theme for that post, or a campaign hashtag if it’s part of a campaign
    • Any trending or time-specific hashtags that might be relevant
    • Location specific hashtags

To save you time, we’ve done some of the research for you. Here are just some of the most popular general hashtags to get you started. 

You can reach audiences with an interest in volunteering through organic social, but the audience groups become even bigger through social advertising. 
The term “volunteering” has more than 90 million audiences worldwide on Facebook. You can reach these audiences – narrowing down to your specific locations & audience requirements – through Meta’s Ads Manager, creating ads that go out across Facebook, Instagram and their Audience Networks. 

Through these ads, you can target those with interests in volunteering, with related interests, certain age groups and demographics, and re-target those who have visited your page, or have volunteered with you before. 
Stay tuned for a more in-depth blog on the topic of organic & paid social media for your nonprofit coming soon

Say Thank You

And last but definitely not least: say thank you. 
Say thank you to every volunteer who engages in every task – no matter how big or how small. We also believe there is not such thing as saying it too many times – we’d rather someone be annoyed with how much we can, then never hear it at all.
A simple a pat on the back and an individual thank you on the day goes a long way, but there are some great ways to take this further.

Reach out and connect with businesses like cafes or retailers who might be able to offer small discounts for volunteers, or even an awards system that sees volunteers given a tangible token of appreciation that they can hold and truly be proud of in the form of a certificate of appreciation, with their hard work shared on social media. 
However you say it, make sure all volunteers are made aware just how appreciated their time and effort is, and always give them the opportunity to provide feedback. 

Now You Know How To Find Good Volunteers

If you’ve made it this far, you should now have some ideas on how to find good volunteers – and keep them!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your volunteer operations, we understand, and we can help! The Volaby volunteer online management system was born after our charity Orange Sky struggled to keep on top of countless spreadsheets, emails and texts just to keep the wheels turning. 

Since being backed by Google, we’re now able to share our platform and help other volunteer groups, charities and nonprofits take some of challenges out of volunteer management, and instead focus time on critical tasks for non-profits that can’t be automated with technology such as finding and retaining great volunteers.
It’s simple, and easy-to-use for both volunteers and staff, allowing you to do much more with less. We invite you to get in touch and trial Volaby for Free today, with no obligations.

We hope to chat with you soon!

Best of luck with all your amazing work 😊 

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