In times of social distancing and quarantine, it might feel like the whole world has come to a halt. When time seems to move more slowly, we often find ourselves with an opportunity to reflect.
Volunteer coordinators might find themselves reflecting on their volunteer programs. How is the program faring, overall? How are the spirits of the volunteers, given the current circumstances? What will ensure the wellbeing and moral of your volunteer base during and after times of COVID-19?
We’ve put together a “Top-10” list of creative ideas to grow and enrich your volunteer base in preparation for eventually re-opening your doors:
- Develop a recruitment team. Find volunteers/staff who make it a focus to meet regularly to discuss and implement initiatives focused on new volunteers. (Remember, you can get started on this now with virtual meeting platforms, like Zoom.)
- Create fun team names and/or titles for your different volunteer groups! This will help your volunteers bond and get to know each other, without even trying.
- Create short-term project teams to help volunteers get a feel for your organization and make an impact before committing long-term. Depending on the nature of the project, they might even be able to do it from home!
- Recruit volunteers online (Idealist, Network for Good, VolunteerMatch).
- Develop partnerships with companies that will bring in new volunteers. We’ve heard it before, and it’s true in this context as well: we’re stronger together.
- Reach out to local schools for potential field days, workshops, and collaborations.
- Come up with a friendly competition! For example: Who can make the best sign/flyer? Who can come up with the catchiest tweet?
- Make it quirky! A famous example: the ice bucket challenge.
- Reach out to local government organizations that can offer community-mandated volunteers.
- Research “volunteer organization meet and greet” events that may be happening in your area, or organize one of your own! Again, this can be held virtually.
We are inspired by the creativity and ingenuity we are observing from volunteers and volunteer coordinators around the world during these challenging times. We hope that these tips are helpful in keeping volunteers engaged and growing a volunteer base, even after COVID-19.