Attract and keep your volunteers

Attracting volunteers doesn't have to be difficult.
Date Published
10/19/2016

One of the biggest challenges for a nonprofit radio station is recruiting quality volunteers and keeping them around. With how busy people’s lives are these days, not many have the time to spare to volunteer regularly without earning some sort of compensation. Since it can be a struggle to get people onboard, most nonprofit broadcasters want to retain their best volunteers, which is a challenge in and of itself. Here are a few tips for attracting the top talent and keeping them around:

Many people take to the internet for volunteer opportunities.Many people take to the internet for volunteer opportunities.

Publish ads
By putting ads out on job boards, you get far more eyes on your volunteer opportunities than you do by simply posting them on your website or on your social media accounts. Though most people searching through websites like Indeed, LinkedIn or Monster are seeking paid jobs, your ad may catch the eye of people who are interested in your cause as well. Use a specific job title other than “volunteer,” and offer a detailed description of what the position would entail and how much time people would need to commit. Additionally, it’s important to include the fact that it’s an unpaid position. You don’t want people who are interested to feel like they’re getting the bait and switch.

There are specific volunteer boards as well, like VolunteerMatch, so you can target people who are looking to offer their time and resources for free. It’s also a good idea to reach out to local high schools and universities with volunteer opportunities, as many students have to do so in order to fulfill graduation or club requirements. Keep in mind these types of volunteers will likely be temporary.

“Have an organized, well-described plan for all of your volunteers.”

Be organized
While a large amount of people stop volunteering after realizing they don’t have the time for such a commitment, many quit in frustration after working for a disorganized charity or nonprofit. If you find that your volunteers more often than not seem to be standing around, unsure of what to do, it may not be because they’re lazy. More than likely, these people are genuinely unsure of what you expect of them. Make sure that you have an organized, well-described plan for all of your volunteers before they even step foot in the door. 

Consider writing a volunteer handbook that outlines all of the duties and expectations of people who are giving their time. PTO Today suggested including resources and tips that will will come in handy on the job, like how to use office machinery. Not only does this keep you from having to answer the same questions over and over, but it also serves as a reference for your volunteers anytime they might need help when you’re not immediately available.

Establish a relationship
It’s no secret that people like to feel as if they’re being valued for the work that they do. This is why it’s important to treat your volunteers like regular employees. Nobody wants to be a random face in a crowd, so if you run a small broadcast, there is no excuse for treating them as such. Even if your volunteers only stop by a couple of times a month or just work special events, remember their names and talk to them as if they’re longtime employees of the station. When someone’s doing a good job, tell them personally how much you appreciate it.

When it comes time to recruit volunteers for a specific event, instead of sending a mass email to the whole crew of volunteers, consider reaching out to a couple people that you know exemplify the traits that you’re looking for. For example, if you need greeters for a fundraiser, reach out to some of the most bubbly, talkative volunteers. If you’re looking for people to set up sound equipment, talk to the people on your team who are the best with technology. This makes the request for volunteers so much more personal, and people will feel as if they’re being valued for their own sets of skills.

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