“Volunteers wanted!” How many times have you received an e-mail or walked past a sign with that written on it? If you’re like most people, the answer is: a lot. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the message, it’s lacking a key ingredient that can tremendously help the quality and quantity of your volunteers. What is it, you ask?
Here’s the secret: Be specific!
Companies are constantly vying for your attention, time, or dollars. If they all said the same thing, how would you know which to choose? Instead, businesses use specific marketing messages to try and convince you that Pepsi is better than Coke, or Toyota is safer than Honda. If you’re a volunteer coordinator trying to recruit volunteers, we recommend utilizing the same approach.
Stand out from the other nonprofits looking for volunteers by being specific about the jobs that need to be filled. The first step is to identify what types of skills are needed for each volunteer position, and then what type of person would best fill it. For example, maybe you’re looking for help with social media. Why not target high school groups to see if they need volunteer hours filled for school? Looking for volunteers to help outdoors with greenery? Go to your local community garden or co-op to hang flyers and find people passionate about composting or recycling.
This approach may take more time and thought, but we believe the benefits definitely outweigh the costs. Being specific with your asks will ensure that you find volunteers that not only have the qualifications for the role, but also the passion to go along with it!
We’d love to hear from you! Do you create specific positions and target groups that have those interests and/or skills or do you go with the general approach?
P.S., if you’re worried that managing volunteers in numerous roles will be difficult, that’s exactly why we built VolunteerLocal. You can learn more here.