Now that your site features new volunteer opportunities, you can just sit back, relax, and wait for an onslaught of enthusiastic volunteers to start signing up by the dozen...right?
Well, maybe not. If your Connect site already gets a lot of traffic, then your new opportunity is certainly more likely to get some views. But what if you're a new site that doesn't have many users yet, or maybe you haven't had time to manage the site and it's lost some visitors? What if—for whatever reason—your volunteer opportunities just aren't generating the volume of need responses you were counting on?
There are several steps you can take to make your posted opportunities both more visible and more attractive to volunteers. Here are some tips for posting and publicizing volunteer opportunities that will generate responses. Some of these suggestions also apply to agency managers and are covered in this article that you can share with agency managers who are looking for inspiration.
Think Like a Marketer
When coming up with a title for your need, it helps to think like a marketer. Avoid vague, generic titles like "Volunteers Needed" and "Help Wanted." Those titles fall into the background of the more cleverly titled needs on your site. When crafting a title, be specific and show enthusiasm if you can. Here are a few examples of real-world titles we've seen on Get Connected sites:
- Volunteer Crisis Counselors Needed - Help Make a Difference in Someone's Life!
- Tutors Needed for English Literacy and Math Students! It Feels Good to Give Back!
- Our Residents Need You!
- Be a part of something BIG! Seamster Park Playground Community Build
It also doesn't hurt to use puns or to be just a little cheesy. So, when you're looking for volunteers to stuff envelopes for your upcoming campaign, why not go with, "Help This Year's Campaign Be the 'Stuff' of Legend!" Playing with language like this may evince a few eye rolls, but those same volunteers will be clicking on your need to learn more at the same time!
Appeal to Volunteers' Need to Make a Difference
Don't turn off your marketing mind once you've written the title. When crafting the opportunity description, don't just write what needs to be done. Explain how this volunteer job is going to help make a difference in your community. Even if you're just asking people to answer phones or stuff envelopes, make sure volunteers know the big picture. Appeal to volunteers' desire to support your cause, and they'll be happy to sign up to help!
Tip: If you're going to be providing snacks, coffee, or swag of any kind, be sure and include that information in the need posting. Volunteers want to make a difference, but adding a few perks to the job won't hurt!
Share, Share, Share!
Now that you've created an opportunity posting that volunteers can't help but check out, it's time to make sure people know it's there! The key to sharing a need is the small Share icon located on the published posting:
Click this button to see all of your sharing options.
Note: Social media posts will display your site's banner image, as shown here.
Don't Forget Other Media
Note that the Share option includes a Copy Link button. Use that feature to link your volunteer opportunity elsewhere: on your main website, in your eNewsletter, in an email to supporters, on your organization's blog, and anywhere else you can think of! If you're putting out a large call for volunteers, you may even want to share the link in a press release.
Create a Spotlight
A spotlight is a great way to publicize short-term calls for volunteers. You can create a spotlight for a single need or a group of related needs. When visitors come to your site, the spotlight (particularly if it's the top spotlight) will grab their attention right away, so be sure to "think like a marketer" when crafting the language for the spotlight.
Message Users Who Are Likely To Volunteer
Both the email blast and in-app messaging tools provide an effective way to reach volunteers who are likely to be interested in the opportunity you're promoting. Below are some ideas for user filters you can apply.
Use the email blast to send emails to a filtered group of users--in this case, those users who may be more inclined than others to sign up for your volunteer opportunity.
Note: Are you using your Connect site's SMS tool for text messaging? That tool has the same filter options as the email blast.
Some useful filters are:
- Volunteer > Agency Fan > is a fan of > [Select Agency or Program] - Email everyone who is a fan of the agency or program that posted the need.
- Volunteer > Need Response > has responded to > [Select Past Need] - Email everyone who has responded to a similar need posted by this agency (or another agency) in the past.
- User Data > User Interests > is > [Select Interest] - Email everyone whose interests match those of the opportunity being posted.
- User Data > User Causes > is > [Select Cause] - Email everyone who has indicated that they'd like to support the agency's cause.
- User Data > User Availability > is > [Select Time of Day] - Email everyone who has indicated that they're typically available at the time the opportunity will occur.
Note: To come up in the user availability filter, a user will need to have indicated their availability in their user profile.
The in-app messaging tool does not have as many options as the email blast, but it can still be useful for sending messages to prospective volunteers. In the email blast, you can message volunteers who are fans of a selected agency, who have indicated certain preferred causes, and who have indicated preferred volunteer interests or skills.