Sourcing more volunteers

[reading time: 5 mins]


“How can we find & retain more volunteers?… ASAP!”
This is an extremely common question and topic we hear a lot when speaking with volunteering organisations across the country. Each org we speak with has an amazing cause/mission in their own right, and common sense would suggest the right people should be drawn to these causes organically and excited to join in and help – unfortunately that does not seem to be the case
From the interactions we have had, this is certainly not due to the lack of engagement/passion/purpose generated by the organisation. Most people we speak with exude passion for their cause. Not only that, we seem to find that all of these orgs seem to have a core group of “Champion” volunteers who give their all, and can always be counted on.
So what seems to be the problem?
It seems like the common cause keeps coming back to a lack of – awareness… awareness in the ecosystem that your cause actually exist and how people can find you. 
I’ll be honest, when reading this, even my mind has a strong thought that says – “well obviously! But what’s the solution?”

There is an age old marketing principal that was discovered in the 1930’s called “The Rule of 7(more info: Sigl Creative) – which essentially means people need to see something (an ad, image, message, etc.) at least 7 times before they trust it and are psychologically inclined to take action on it. Although this refers to marketing fundamentals, it has been proven extremely relevant for developing any mass awareness or educational campaign to help encourage people to take action on something.  Essentially, the wider and more often you can cast the net, the more fish (so to speak) you should catch! 🎣

Unfortunately, as most non-profits would attest to – we don’t have unlimited budget to purchase a tonne of ads to execute on this 😩. However, not to worry 😀,  there are many cost effective ways to get the word out about your organisation and front of mind for your future volunteers.
Some of these might already be old favourites of yours, but it’s always worth checking in or even updating them regularly to keep things fresh. These can include:

  1. Free volunteer recruitment website – GoVolunteer
  2. Free volunteer recruitment website – SEEK Volunteer
  3. Free volunteer recruitment website – Be Collective
  4. Volunteering Australia (and perhaps your local subsidiary, such as Volunteering QLD, or Volunteering NSW)
  5. Local Facebook community groups – this might need a little bit of research to find those relevant to you (e.g. {suburb name} community notice board / {name of town} Facebook group). Remembering that 98% of Australian & NZ volunteers and volunteering organisations use Facebook as their primary social media platform. 
  6. Creating content (such as educational or thought pieces) to provide to like minded companies or organisations that connect with your ideal demographic of volunteers! (for example, if your cause is to find volunteer mentors to teach children in need, you could contact a university and see if they would like to feature you in a newsletter/blog/video/Facebook post to share your story, some valuable lessons, and see if any of their students might like to join your cause!). 

Essentially the key is to understand that you don’t need to re-invent the wheel or spend millions of dollars to promote your cause and find volunteers. There are already ‘pools’ / groups of your ideal volunteers that exist in the community, they just need to know you exist, an explanation of why it is so great to volunteer with you, and how they can become a part of what you do! 

Tip For those using Volaby:
This is where you can simply share you “Make an Account” main application landing page URL across as many areas/platforms/pages as possible to easily funnel people back to your org to join! 
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