Understanding the best ways to recruit volunteers through social media

Social media is a great way to recruit volunteers.
Date Published
08/19/2015

The first step of volunteer management is getting volunteers on your nonprofit’s staff. They are the core of your operations and serve as the face and the front lines of your organization. With this in mind, volunteering for a cause requires passion and energy on top of important skills and talent. It only makes sense that you have a plan that gets them into the fold effectively.

In recent years, young volunteers are more likely to be found not in recruiting drives but through social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. More importantly, they’re not only more interested in social causes but also more likely to post about them. The potential for passionate volunteers is vast. Your recruiting strategy should have a focus on these sites and others to get some of the best and brightest into your organization. However, because the most active users of these sites have distinct sensibility, it’s important to consider that your tactics have to take a more personal approach than usual.

The act of engaging audiences
Social media has that name for a reason: It’s built on the interaction between users. Outlets such as Twitter and Instagram make socializing over the Web easier. More importantly, young millennials, who represent the base of volunteers for many nonprofits, are often found on social media. For nonprofits, it’s an essential outreach platform to bring in new recruits.

Another factor that makes social media so powerful is engagement. Users interested in your cause aren’t just supportive but passionate about their beliefs in it. The zeal these people possess makes these people ideal candidates for outreach.

You need to engage them in the right way, according to the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network. The ideal method of outreach is through sharing content. By sending inspiring media to supporters and visitors, they’re more encouraged to act and join the cause. The most effective method is displaying rich media in the form of pictures and videos. This material is often the most expensive to produce, but it’s also the most powerful. It makes your cause more authentic and encourages people to care about what you’re doing.

Twitter and Facebook offer opportunities for more textual outreach. Interacting with your supporters with some questions is a good approach. For example, if you’re a public broadcaster, discuss the programming, and ask if you’re doing enough to show and learn more about your community. You can also deploy inspirational quotes that make your supporters feel good. This can simply be a text post, or something affixed to an image. A quote, especially from a famous person, creates an opening for people to consider what they can do to help your organization.

There are also opportunities  to engage with your audience in a light-hearted manner. Humor is a great way to interact with your supporters and get them in the mood. Photo caption contests, meme generation, funny content and other humorous material are a great way to show there’s more to your nonprofit than the seriousness of your cause. All of these help turn users into volunteers.

Carrying the news of the world
There’s more to energizing your supporters into becoming volunteers than a funny picture or an empowering video, however. VolunteerHub makes a point that no matter what engagement method you use, you have to tell a story. That remains the core of how you achieve your mission and get people to join. By engaging your audience with an effective story, you’re able to develop the inspiration that will drive people to your nonprofit.

Sometimes, that story takes the form of news. Be sure to use your social media outlets as a way to deliver new developments at your nonprofit. It could be a reminder about an upcoming fundraiser, or new shows debuting in the coming weeks. Similarly, you should talk about any events you’re hosting, since that presents chances to volunteer and be a part of something bigger, even if it’s temporary. These situations show you’re active as an organization and implicitly suggest that you’re on the lookout for people to get directly involved with your mission.

Once you have informed and engaged your followers, you’ll have an energized audience. From there, you can share information that will lead them to join your nonprofit as volunteers. The most effective way is to share links to registration forms or events calendars that display opportunities to get involved. However, there are other methods of encouraging recruitment. For example, you can talk about what nonprofits like yours do for the community, such as reporting on local events that regular news channels would skip. You can also use infographics to display statistics showing the benefits of what you do as an organization. Whatever the method, your solutions will get people to volunteer at different capacities at your organization.

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