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Volunteer engagement is about finding AND keeping your volunteers for as long as you are both getting something valuable from the experience. In this section, you’ll find info on how to find volunteers that are the right fit for your non-profit and make sure they become and stay your biggest fans.
If you build it, they will come… Actually, not really. You have to get out there and get them! Developing a robust Volunteer Engagement Strategy is an excellent way to promote your agency, develop a loyal group of raving fans and ambassadors, and ultimately have a greater impact on the communities you serve.
Sometimes redirecting or repurposing the talent you already have is a powerful way to re-engage your current volunteers. Do you have volunteers in your organization who may want to try something new or have more to offer? Find out what they like to do, what skills they have and how THEY think they can help! You can do this with a survey or even better, by having a one to one conversation. Everyone likes personal attention and it is time well spent.
When you create a new call for volunteers, couch it within the story of your organization. Be sure that the description includes how their time and contribution will impact the work you do. It’s important that every opportunity you offer shows how they will help make the world a better place.
To create a great impact statement for every opportunity, answer the following questions in one sentence:
Who will the opportunity be helping?
How will the opportunity make a difference in their lives?
This impact statement can be uploaded to Spark to help you promote your opportunities but can also be utilized in the recruitment, retention and recognition of your volunteers. No matter what their reasons for volunteering are, your volunteers will feel more a part of your organization if they understand how they have help your organization and the community you serve.
In your marketing, you may want to avoid using language that makes your volunteer opportunities sound more like ‘work’ or a ‘job’. Volunteering is special because it is a gift of time and enthusiasm. Make sure that shines through!
Storytelling is a powerful way to help your potential volunteers see the impact they’ll make by spending their time with you. People are wired for stories and respond to them in ways that are hard to achieve through other means. If you can make people feel something when they read a story about your organization, they will remember you.
You can tell your organization’s story through a blog post, a photo-story series on Instagram, a video, a post on Facebook, or any other means of communication. You can even tell stories in 140 characters ;-)
Here are the basics of telling a story:
Beginning: What is the situation? Who is involved? Give a bit of detail to personalize but not so much that anyone can be identified.
Middle: What problem is occurring? How is/was the individual, group or your organization in need of help? Describe the needs of those involved.
End: What solution will the volunteer’s help bring to the situation? How will life change if they get involved and offer their time and talent? Share the outcome.
Call to Action: Tell the potential volunteer what to do next. Be clear about who they can contact to get involved and make it as simple as possible for them to make that important first contact with your organization.
And don’t forget to share your story HERE
So, you know exactly how volunteers make a difference AND you can tell a great story. Now what? There are lots of effective and affordable ways to get the word out: