A new year means new volunteer opportunities. But getting volunteers…not always so easy. 

To bump up awareness and interest, try these six out-of-the-box ideas:

  1. Hold a contest – We all have a little competitive streak in us. Try hosting a contest to pique people’s interest and sway those who may be on the fence about volunteering. For example, “Everyone who volunteers in 2020 will be entered to win a [Prize of Your Choice].” The better the prize, the better response rate you’re likely to see.
  2. Dig around social media – If you’re active on social media (which hopefully you are), take some time to dig around your organization’s pages a little. Who engages with your posts the most? See any names pop up over and over again? Those would be great people to reach out to personally and ask if they’d be interested in volunteering. Their engagement with your posts shows they have interest in your organization and want to be involved, at least to some extent. See if that extent includes volunteering! 
  3. Ask existing volunteers to bring a friend – Your volunteers have friends — some who are also members of your organization and others who aren’t. Ask them to bring those friends the next time they have a volunteer-related job to do or meeting to attend. They would love the company, I’m sure, and that would put them in a position to “do the marketing” for you. (We all know how powerful word-of-mouth marketing can be!)
  4. Offer exclusive swag – Who doesn’t love some good swag?! Come up with something fun, creative, and desirable to give your volunteers. A well-designed t-shirt with a witty saying, for example. Or a nice S’well bottle or YETI tumbler with your organization’s logo on it. If it’s something not everyone can get, it instantly becomes more appealing. 
  5. Touch base with former volunteers – People stop volunteering for many reasons, and many of those reasons are understandable. But situations change, and maybe some of your former volunteers are in a better position to volunteer now than they were when they “quit.” If you have a way to pull a list of your former volunteers who are still active members (this is where a membership management system can really come in handy!), try reaching out and asking if they’d have any interest in getting reinvolved. You may even want to mention micro-volunteer opportunities and/or new opportunities that weren’t necessarily available when they used to volunteer. Who knows, maybe they quit because they were doing something they didn’t enjoy. But now that you have more options, well…game changer!
  6. Send direct messages on LinkedIn – It can be harder to ignore a LinkedIn message than it can be to ignore an email. That’s because it feels so personal; so one-on-one. And that’s why it could work! Now, you can’t send direct messages to people from an organization’s account, but that’s actually okay. Send it from your own personal LinkedIn account, and just explain your role within the organization and the need for volunteers. You may even want to mention that it’s a great way to get experience that they can then add to their LinkedIn page. 

Once you have volunteers, a little onboarding is a must, as is having a retention plan in place for those volunteers. For a few tips and best practices, check out our free guide below!