If you’re hoping to increase your nonprofit’s volunteer numbers, we’ve got a few suggestions on how to do so. More volunteers can also translate to more donations for your nonprofit!
In 2016, an estimated 63 million Americans spent time volunteering, totaling 8 billion hours of service that was worth $193 billion to the organizations.
Here are five things you need to know when it comes to recruiting volunteers
- Get Help
Every nonprofit need volunteers, no matter the consistency, and it’s important to let your donors, staff, board, supporters and online followers know you need their help in the form of volunteering (as well as donating) to achieve your goals!
- Volunteers’ Motives
Don’t volunteers just want to help your cause? Well, yes and no. They no doubt have good hearts and believe in your organization’s work. But most volunteers have additional reasons for volunteering — perhaps looking to meet new people, develop skills, and feel needed. If you assign them to stand by a photocopier for long hours, it may not satisfy any of those motives.
Ask volunteers at the outset what they’d like to get from their experience, and look for ways to satisfy that. If, for example, a volunteer is hoping to use photography skills, ask her to build up a collection of photos ready for use in your newsletter, annual report, or website. If you have regular volunteers, try to schedule them so that they overlap and can talk with one another.
- Recruit online
Companies now post job opportunities almost exclusively online–why not post your volunteer opportunities there as well? Volunteer matching sites are the new equivalent of job searching sites. A few of the top sites include Idealist, Volunteer Solutions and VolunteerMatch.
- Show Appreciation
Every volunteer wants to know that he or she is making a difference and advancing the cause.
- Say thank you, early and often.
- Plan volunteer-appreciation activities.
- Hold an annual volunteer party.
- Invite volunteers to your other nonprofit’s events, like a holiday party, lecture, or annual dinner.
- Thank volunteers publicly at an event for all they have done for your organization, give awards, certificates, or small plaques.
- Ask your donors for participation
It’s likely that you already have the contact information for your past and present donors. This can be used to your advantage when it comes to asking for volunteers. Your donors have already pledged their support to you by giving their money. By asking them to volunteer, you would be allowing them the opportunity to give their time. For those one-time donors, the opportunity to serve by giving their time may be something they are more willing to do. The same goes for those who donate irregularly or have less money to give. Volunteering may even inspire them to give again!