Managing Legacy Volunteers

There are new volunteers and then there are the volunteers who have seen it all and been there forever. Both types need you and vice versa. 

There’s always at least a few volunteers who have been there forever…the legacy volunteers. They have tons of knowledge and maybe even decades of experience. They bring a lot of value to your team, but can also present somewhat of a challenge. Whether you are new to your position and inheriting these volunteers or just trying to figure out the best way to continue working with them, here are some best practices to keep in mind when in comes to legacy volunteers.  

Show some respect. If someone has been a volunteer with you or your organization for years, give them a whole bunch of respect and appreciation. Seriously, how amazing is it that they’ve continued to commit year after year? Don’t take them for granted and be sure to let them know how glad you are that they have given their time and energy as a core volunteer. If you are newer to the event or organization than they are, then there is probably a lot you can learn from them, which is a huge asset to your team. You likely won’t have to hold their hand like the new volunteers and can trust their abilities to fulfill their duties. Perhaps they have worked in the same role for years, which can also be a benefit.

Honor their continued dedication by promoting them if they are ready. Ask them if they want to try out something new or even better–find out if they would be willing to help train and lead newer volunteers to do the same job. 

Set boundaries. While you definitely want to treat your longtime volunteers with respect, you also want to create clear boundaries. Unfortunately, sometimes these volunteers are used to things being a certain way and don’t want you to shake things up or give you some proper respect in return. Be patient with them if this is something you face, but also let them know that ultimately the decisions are yours. They may challenge you in this process if you’re new, but find ways to communicate with them kindly yet honestly about what you’re doing and what your goals are in doing so.

Instead of just cutting them loose, try to reach a common understanding because deep down, you both care for the success of this event and/or organization. If you are still having a hard time, look to some of your coworkers who have been around longer than you have for advice on how to best connect with this volunteer while also standing your ground when necessary. That said, if an agreement cannot be reached and a legacy volunteer is unwilling to budge, let them know what the expectations are of current volunteers and the boundaries they must follow under your leadership, regardless of what it was like in the past. If they can’t comply with those boundaries and expectations, then unfortunately you may have to ask them to step down.  

Ask for their cooperation. With these experienced volunteers, you both need each other. No, they may not need as many instructions or an orientation, but they do still need your leadership and direction. Likewise, you need their skills, time, and effort as a volunteer…not to mention some of their knowledge and wisdom gained from being around so long. Try to work to each other’s strengths and start by asking them to be involved in that process. You need their cooperation. Ask for guidance and advice when appropriate. Ask them to use their experience to lead others. And finally, ask for their flexibility and understanding as you make changes or have your own learning curve to face. 

No matter how long a volunteer has been with your organization, remember they are all sacrificing something to be there and all carry value. Legacy volunteers may need a different management style at times in order to give them more freedom or flexibility, but they can have a huge impact on you and your team. Hear them out, learn from them, but also remember that you are in charge. You have the responsibility and privilege of providing vision and leadership to all of your volunteers, whether they are legacy or brand-new.

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Creating Goals for Your Volunteer Base

Knowing ahead of time what you want to accomplish with volunteers sets both you and them up for success. 

We’ve got squad goals, relationship goals, personal goals, soccer goals…you name it. So can you tell me what your volunteer goals are? 

You have a number of people present and ready to help, so what’s the goal? They may have their own motivations for being there and thoughts on how they can best help, but what do you think? What are you hoping to accomplish through each individual volunteer and with the volunteer group as a whole? 

Make a plan 

Before things get crazy or overrun by too many cooks in the kitchen, outline your goals. What needs do you have? What can be accomplished by volunteers and what needs to be done by staff or by someone with a certain level of credentials? Outside of the actual assigned volunteer tasks, are you hoping to recruit and retain more volunteers? Are you trying to make a splash in the community or gain corporate partnerships? How do the goals you set out for your volunteers align with the mission of the organization? 

Ask for areas of interest 

Now that you have an idea of what you are hoping to accomplish, what is it that your volunteers want? You can’t read minds, so go ahead and ask them! Send out a survey to get to know your volunteers to understand what makes them tick. Or, include a checklist of areas they may be interested in or experienced with during the volunteer registration process. Not only will they have certain areas of interest, but volunteers may have extra motivation to be there to network or bolster a particular skill set. Be careful to align expectations and not overpromise. Sometimes you want more than anything to say this volunteer experience will look great on a resume or that they can volunteer wherever they want, but that’s not always realistic. You can only have so many social media managers on a volunteer team, or sometimes a volunteer experience will benefit the community more than their resume. 

Consider the big picture

You may have primary goals like accomplishing the tasks at hand but keep in mind secondary goals like volunteer retainment and recruitment. Sure, you need to pass out water to all the runners, but you want to make this volunteer experience a memorable and enjoyable one. Likewise, volunteers may have primary goals like learning a new skill or rubbing elbows with musicians, but if those can’t be met, make sure you give them a glimpse of the big picture, too. They need to know how their involvement makes an impact and how their primary goals can be achieved in the future.

As a volunteer coordinator, you can’t get too bogged down in the individual needs and wants of every person on the team, because it’s almost impossible to keep everyone happy. Making sure your goals and the goals of your volunteers align with the mission of the organization helps keep everyone in check with what’s to be expected and what’s realistic. 

Writing up a list of defined goals for volunteers usually isn’t a difficult task, but it does take time and thought. Make sure to take the time to think through what you want for volunteers and what they might want from you. Then, back it up with feedback from volunteers to make sure you’re all on the same page. Comparing and contrasting your goals and the goals of your volunteers might provide clarity on what your goals are and what they aren’t.

You may not hit every goal every year, but providing some benchmarks will help you plan and prepare for this year and for years to come.

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Perks for You and Them: Making the Most of all that Volunteer Data

Managing volunteers looks different for different organizations and may shift from season to season or event to event. But at the core of the job are three phases: recruiting volunteers, managing jobs and relationships on the day of the event, and recording the work that’s been accomplished.

Today let’s take a look at that last piece—recording what’s been done. 

Setting up a volunteer hour tracking system and training your volunteers to use your system gives you a huge advantage and infuses some fun competition among your volunteers.

Creating the right system for your organization does take an investment of time from you as a volunteer coordinator. But keeping things as simple as possible for both you and your volunteers reaps great benefits! Just remember to keep it to the essentials. 

Your volunteers don’t want to spend extra time tracking trivial aspects of their role, and you don’t need superfluous data to deal with after your event is completed. Just asking for the necessities is a big win for everyone!

Perks for You

Instant Feedback

I love running events! There’s so much camaraderie and adrenaline as you navigate and the highs and lows. But there have been times I’ve been asked at the end of the day, “How did it go?” And I had been too busy to know how to answer. Anyone else have that problem? 

Taking the time to collect volunteer data after the event and through a proper system helps volunteer coordinators gain the proper perspective to reflect on the event as a whole and celebrate successes.

Demonstrate Value for Others

When the Board of Directors, donors, or sponsors asks for a report on the event, volunteer data is a great place to start! It offers concrete numbers that helps to demonstrate investment from the community and the reach of your organization.

Perks for Them

Let’s be honest, tracking hours isn’t the most fun thing to do, whether you’re getting paid or volunteering. Use your tracking statistics to showcase your high level volunteers!

Individuals

When creating incentive programs for your volunteers, think about how to reward those certain individuals who go above and beyond the typical level of volunteer commitment. These might be people who have played a major role in an event for multiple years in a row or it may be someone who commits to volunteering multiple hours each week. Assessing the data may show some surprising trends!

The incentive may be as simple as posting a volunteer spotlight in a prominent place in your office. Or if you have the resources, recognize your top volunteers at a volunteer appreciation night.

Teams

Want to really play up the competition aspect? Encourage people to recruit their friends or coworkers to volunteer together in a volunteer team competition! The team with the most volunteer hours tracked wins. This works especially well when your organization is frequently hosting volunteer groups from companies who offer Volunteer Time Off. 

In similar ways to individual recognition, these teams can be recognized by something as simple as a social media post or as involved as creating a traveling trophy or a specially designed t-shirt for the winners.

Volunteer tracking is a simple tool that creates a significant impact, not just for you, but also for the people who work alongside you to bring success to your organization!

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Cancelling an Event

Even for the most weathered of event planners, unexpected complications can arise and result in a cancelled event. Bad weather, low ticket sales or a sudden illness can force an intricately planned program to come to a halt.

While a cancelled event is disappointing for the staff involved, it can be even harder to figure out the right way to break the news to your registered volunteers who were committed to making it a success. 

Volunteers that signed up for an event may include students that were banking on those hours for a class, mandated volunteers, or long-time volunteers who attend your yearly event as part of their tradition. Others maybe just wanted to hang out with their friends and do something fun for the day.

Whatever their reasoning, communicating quickly and clearly after an event is cancelled is critical with volunteers to ensure you don’t lose them for future events and let them know that their efforts and altruism have not gone unnoticed.

Be clear and transparent

It’s frustrating to learn that a plan has fallen through. Communicate the cancelled event in as many ways as you deem appropriate, including emails, social media, text messages and phone calls. Volunteers are going to be curious as to why an event is cancelled – give them a reason and be transparent to avoid further frustration. You don’t need to get into the nitty gritty details, but give your volunteers clarity for their own sakes – and so they can better empathize with you.

Show your appreciation

If this was a volunteer’s first time signing up with your organization, an event cancellation may leave a bad taste. To prevent this from happening, let your volunteer know (through a personalized email or a phone call) why their willingness to help continues to matter. Be grateful and appreciative in your tone. While a volunteer may not have had a chance to actually come out and help with an event yet, it’s the thought that counts. By being appreciative and communicating directly, your volunteer will feel valued and more likely to come back in the future.

Keep them in mind

You now have information for people who are willing to volunteer for your organization – use it! Communicate about other events where you need volunteers and be willing to make those follow-up emails or calls when the time comes. There’s nothing that sends a better message than a personal touch to let that person know you’re thinking of them.

No matter the reason, make sure that your cancelled event is an opportunity to speak directly with your volunteers and convey your appreciation for their dedication and time. You can use your cancellation as a time to reconnect and recruit for future opportunities. Silver lining, baby!

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Managing Mandated Volunteers

What’s the different between managing volunteers who want to be there and those who have to be there?

Volunteers, by definition, should voluntarily be giving their time to your organization. But when community service is made a requirement, some people who are contributing to your organization by mandate might come with different attitudes or expectations. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Challenge your assumptions about mandated volunteer attitudes: Once upon a time, a college student (me) got a speeding ticket (whoops!) and decided to go to court because she didn’t have the cash flow to pay her fine. She ended up with some mandated community service, which she welcomed because she actually liked to volunteer, and served her time with Habitat for Humanity. 

I might not have made the time to sign up for that build if it wasn’t required, and found it much more rewarding than asking my mom for money to cover a speeding ticket. Some high school and college programs also mandate service. Don’t assume that everyone coming through these programs will have a bad attitude about volunteering, or won’t put in the effort. 

Don’t skip their orientation: Mandated volunteers might need a little extra information about your organization, and how volunteers impact your mission. If you have a busy schedule, it’s easy to dismiss these individuals or groups because you think they won’t be returning or don’t see the purpose in investing precious time into their training. But by providing context, you may be better able to engage the volunteers. If you have a testimonial from someone else who has been through their program about how the volunteer activity created a meaningful experience for them, pop that into your standard PowerPoint to make a deeper connection. 

Try tracking your mandated volunteers: If you want to keep track of trends or hours for mandated service versus other volunteers, you might consider using the VolunteerLocal volunteer information field to create a special question that asks whether a volunteer is from a certain organization, or volunteering to fulfill a requirement. You could gain interesting data about the contributions mandatory volunteers make to your organization, and whether they return after their required period.

In a perfect world, each of your volunteers would come to you because of their deep commitment to your organization. But regardless of the reasoning, volunteers (mandated or not) are giving their time to you for free, and have the opportunity to become long-term volunteers if you put in the time up-front.

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The Succession Plan: Transitioning Volunteer Coordinators

Today, you are the volunteer coordinator, but one day you won’t be anymore.

Let’s assume you love your job as a volunteer coordinator. You’ve worked hard to build trust with your volunteers, to gain respect from your leadership, and to find your perfect volunteer management systems and style. Even if you love it, there’s another thing we can assume here: one day, you won’t work here as the volunteer coordinator. 

Whether you move on to another organization or you are promoted to a new role within your current organization, eventually there is going to be a new volunteer coordinator running the show. Instead of staying in denial, prepare yourself for the possibility and begin establishing a succession plan for when that day comes. Sometimes you know the person next in line or sometimes you are long gone by the time they get started. Preparing ahead of time gives them the best shot at picking up where things left off, regardless of timing. 

Need to know 

With any position, there are core details that the next person will need to know to do the job. Make a list of all the key job responsibilities you fulfill. Then, if there are certain software systems or memberships that are included in those, be sure to include log-in information and pertinent details about how those programs are used. If anything has a standard procedure to follow or instructions that would be helpful to know, include these, too. While this document is often something created when you’re already in the transition process, it can be useful to have even now in case you’re out sick for a while and need someone to pick up the slack. Also, before a succession, this document of duties can be referred to during your annual review as you show your boss the responsibilities on your plate and how you manage them effectively. 

Things you’ve found 

As the volunteer coordinator, you know there are so many more intangible parts to the job that don’t get listed on a document of duties. You’ve likely learned certain routines or management styles that have proven useful over the years. Maybe you’ve learned which volunteers don’t work well together (but are still great volunteers separately) or which vendors have helped you out in a pinch. These are all great things to talk about with the next volunteer coordinator! That is, if they want to hear about it. Be prepared to share these things if you’re willing, but also realize that they might have their own style or plans for the future. If you have notes about some of these details, you can offer to pass them on, but if they decline or decide to do things differently, don’t be too discouraged. Of course you might think your way is best, but different people have different styles and the new person needs to have the freedom to make their own decisions. 

People to keep in the loop 

One of your primary roles as a volunteer coordinator is communicating with volunteers. So if you are leaving, be sure to let your volunteers know in the proper time. You may have to work with your boss or the up-and-coming volunteer coordinator to determine the best way and timing to tell volunteers, but don’t forget about them during the succession process. You may even make a list of who to tell in person, who to tell via email, and who tell by phone. This is another list that can help you now as you look to identify core volunteers and people who may be ready to volunteer more. 

Especially when it comes to your core volunteers, the way this succession is handled may make or break their continued commitment to the organization. Try to be as communicative and clear as possible, giving them the opportunity to ask you questions or even keep in contact with you in the future if appropriate. Within your communication, be sure to empower the next person in the role and guide volunteers in communication and confidence in the new person. Ultimately, you want volunteers to trust and respect the new volunteer coordinator as much as possible. Exhibiting this trust and respect yourself will make for a more effective transition. If you don’t yet know who will take your place, direct volunteers to whoever will be handling things in the interim. 

Succession planning can sound big or bad or scary sometimes. But remember, change can be a good thing if handled well. Starting to prepare for succession now, regardless of how far away that change may be will allow you to be as thorough as possible. At some point we all change jobs or advance our careers in a new direction, which can be really fun and exciting. But through those changes, how we manage the exit can sometimes most define our role and impact. So, do your best to hand off the baton as gracefully and respectfully as possible. 

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The Value of Volunteer Time

Volunteering is never free. 

Volunteers come to you with time, energy, and talents to share. They volunteer for all sorts of reasons. Whether it be it out of the goodness of their little hearts or because an authority figure mandated it–volunteers are there in hopes of doing good and benefiting your organization. 

At the same time, volunteers take a ton of time, energy, and talents to organize and communicate with. Heck, your entire job is to be a volunteer coordinator because it’s a lot of work! And then there’s the t-shirts, and the pizza party, and the info packets, and maybe even the volunteer management software. These costs all add up quick, so you might start to wonder if it’d just be easier (or cheaper) if you did it all yourself and skipped the volunteers altogether.

Let’s unpack some of the values that volunteers bring to the table…because even though there’s a lot of expense that comes along with running a volunteer program, often what you gain is even greater.

Monetary value 

Sometimes it feels like when the price is free that there’s no actual value to something. Instead of “free help,” volunteers can quickly be added to your mental list of “more work to take care of.” Think it’d just be easier to hire someone at minimum wage? Think again. The estimated value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour according to the Independent Sector in 2016.  When you start to count up the vast numbers of hours contributed by your many volunteers, this really adds up to both a huge savings to you and a huge benefit to your organization. 

Brain power

When you have volunteers from all different backgrounds and experience, you gain access to valuable resources and talents. A diverse group of volunteers are going to bring new ideas and wisdom that you can’t come up with alone, not to mention connections to the community. Whether it’s through a senior-level volunteer advisory board or someone full of spunk handing out water to runners, the thoughts and enthusiasm volunteers can breathe into an organization really boosts your capabilities as an organization. Be sure to tap into this resource along the way by asking lots of questions and gathering feedback after they volunteer. 

Physical strength 

We’ve all heard the phrase “many hands make light work” … because it’s true! Yes, there’s a lot of organization required to coordinate a large group of people, but you can’t actually be everywhere at once and do all of the things. Your back would eventually go out; everyone attending the event would be hungry, thirsty, or lost; and the inflatable bounce house would be overrun with kids. When you have an army of volunteers, this can all be easily staffed to keep things running smoothly without killing your spirit or your budget. 

Community 

When you have a lot of volunteers invested in your cause and organization, you build awareness and credibility in the community. Those free t-shirts become walking billboards on the faces of people who are passionate about what you do. But more than that, the more volunteers you have, the more sponsors you might also be able to get on board. It builds credibility to have several committed volunteers active in your organization. Ask corporate sponsors to match dollar-for-dollar the amount of volunteer time spent with a financial contribution. Say you have 100 volunteers who give 2 hours of their time for your event. If you multiply that times the value of their hour ($24.14), you’re looking at $4,828. Now, if you manage to recruit 500 volunteers to work 4 hour shifts at $24.14 an hour of value, that would mean a $48,280 check! 

Yes, volunteers add work and sometimes require resources and incentives that cost money. But don’t let that overshadow the value volunteers bring. Next time you have to invest money for volunteer resources, remember the potential return on your investment. With each volunteer, you are gaining monetary value, brain power, physical strength, and community.

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Managing Volunteers Online and In-Person

You can’t be everywhere at once, but your volunteers come from everywhere. 

Your job revolves around one major (and sometimes vague) thing: managing volunteers. But, what if you can’t be everywhere at once and there’s only so much you can cram into the day (plus, you want to avoid burnout)? Using a variety of tools (ahem, like VolunteerLocal) can make your life easier, but you also want to continue to have that personal touch and strong communication with volunteers. How do you get the best of both worlds? 

Let’s talk through a few common volunteer management moments, so you can weigh what methods are best for you and your volunteers. 

Orientation

In-person option: Hold an orientation event. This would mean you get to meet people face-to-face, shake hands, and easily answer questions right there. You know people heard the message, and it’s their first sign of commitment. Downside? You have to find a place to meet, set-up chairs and snacks beforehand, organize a time that works for everyone, and maybe even plan on a make-up date for those who can’t attend. 

Online option: Send a video and/or email message. Instead of scheduling several orientations or waiting until the next event, you can give people the rundown of what they need to know right away in a pre-recorded video and automated email. They can do it on their own time, and you can stay focused on whatever is next ahead of you. The cons may include wondering if they actually watched the video or losing out on a connection point and opportunity to answer questions. Maybe it takes too much time and effort for you to create a video that is easy to understand, interesting, and informative. 

Scheduling/Registration 

In-person option: Sign people up when you see them. Whether you are at an event or activity fair, you can get people plugged in right away. Travel with a tablet or a clipboard, and you can strike when the time is right. You raise awareness about your organization, and you get the chance to meet someone before they show up for their first volunteer shift. But the bad part is it means you have to schlep a tent, an iPad, and your game face all over town, and then go back to the office and sort through what just happened. 

In a more informal setting, if you know someone personally or are simply networking, you can ask someone directly in a kind and personable way to volunteer. But, if you don’t have any of that stuff on you when you meet someone who wants to get involved, you have to try to mentally remember their details and contact them again later. 

Online option: People sign up on their own through your website. This allows you to sort out the info and necessary forms all in one central location. They can pick their areas of interest or available shifts and it goes straight to you. You don’t even have to be there! The hard part is losing out on some of the visibility and appeal that some of those in-person events or meetings provides. If they’ve never heard of you, what’s going to compel people to find your website?   

Planning meeting

In-person option: Hold a meeting with your team. Sometimes face-to-face meetings are simply more productive, and the conversation flows easier. You can sit around the same table and read the unsaid thoughts and emotions more clearly. The tricky part? Scheduling both the people and the location–be it due to timing, distance, or availability. These meetings can get long, and people may not be able to come between work schedules, kids to care for, or whatever it may be. 

Online option: Send email threads and have video conference meetings. A brainstorm via email can allow people time to consider different options and send them to the group to read on their own time. Video conference calls can allow those who live far away to still meet and communicate together all at once. The disadvantages of the online option is that those emails can get long (or worse, can go completely without response) or may be overlooked. The video call can have technical difficulty and cause frustration. 

In the end, ask: what’s going to be most effective for the volunteers and for you? More likely than not, you’ll find a hybrid combination of both in-person and online volunteer management methods will be what suits you best. What may work for you in some seasons or with certain volunteer teams may not work for others, so try to continue to be aware of what tends to be the most successful and be willing to pivot as needed.

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The Biggest Pain Points for Volunteer Coordinators (And How to Handle Them Pain-Free)

Volunteer coordinators are awesome, positive people committed to mission-driven organizations. But they aren’t above a few pet peeves. Here are a few things that might bring even the most upbeat among us close to becoming a #headdesk gif. (As told by real volunteer coordinators.) 

Pain Point: “Trying to find a balance between maintaining volunteer enjoyment while not straying from the mission of the organization.” 

How to Handle It: If you have a volunteer who is excited about an idea or project that isn’t a good match, there may be ways to redirect that energy without stomping out the volunteer’s enthusiasm and losing them forever. Before you give an outright “no” – try to ask a few questions to get to the heart of why the volunteer is so pumped about the idea. Can you channel the core concept that gets them fired up in a way that better aligns with your needs? Encourage them to pilot a smaller version of a concept before sucking your organization into the logistics.  Maybe the golf tournament fundraiser turns into an evening at the driving range the first year? 

Pain Point: “Internal employees and/or leadership not valuing the role of volunteers and investing appropriately.”

How to Handle It: If you’ve been making your case with metrics and data, maybe switch to testimonials and storytelling (or visa versa) to find the language that resonates with different members of your team. Put faces to names, to help connect your paid staff to your non-paid volunteer base.

Pain Point: “Volunteer turnover. You will always have one-off volunteers or people wanting to use their VTO, but they still have to go through the same protocol and training.” 

How to Handle It: Yes, it’s frustrating to bend over backwards to offer a volunteer training in the evening and then have three quarters of the volunteers in attendance ghost on you within a month. Try to determine the sweet spot where you get a return on investment from training new volunteers (maybe around 25 hours of service). Try to see if an employer will create a “dollars for doers” match grant for volunteers who reach that threshold and set an expectation that as many people as possible can. Create different kinds of jobs for those one-off or large group projects that don’t yield long-term relationships but provide important exposure for your organization.

It’s OK to feel the frustrations of your role – especially when you can look at them critically and consider how to make changes that will benefit your organization and your avid volunteers.

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Reaching Prospective Volunteers

Recruiting volunteers is a part of your job, but it can still be interesting and fun for both you and your future volunteers. 

Ever feel like, “Here I am, the volunteer coordinator, now where’s all the people?” If so, then it’s time to recruit some new volunteers! You already know all the basic (and sometimes boring) ways to try to recruit volunteers, so why not have a little fun with it? 

Talk about it. 

Everyone knows word of mouth is powerful. So get out there and really talk about volunteering with your organization! College campuses, corporate lunches, PTA meetings–wherever you can go that might have the type of volunteers you need. But don’t stop there – create a nice informative video or simply turn on Facebook live/Instagram stories and tell the top five reasons people should sign up to volunteer. If you have the budget, promote it further on social media by paying for a sponsored post. (Even better, encourage some of your media and corporate sponsors to do the same on their social media channels.)

Jazz up your fliers. 

Start by removing corny words like “jazz” (unless of course this is some sort of musical production). Yes, the basic information can and does fulfill the need when it comes to getting the word out about your organization. But it could also look like an epic band poster or have the style and design of a trend setter. Collaborate with the coolest screen printing shop in town to create them or simply ask yourself…would this be hip enough to wear as a t-shirt? Aesthetics matter, which means the coffee shop, retail space, and local business will be even more inclined to hang your poster when it looks good. 

Find a friend. 

Involve the volunteers already serving with your organization and promote benefits if they find a friend to join in as well. Maybe you can’t give a referral bonus or half-off their gym membership, but incentivize current volunteers by offering first dibs on the most sought out volunteer shifts or an extra ticket for the music festival for every extra pair of hands they bring. 

Raise the stakes.

Similar to the find-a-friend method, encourage people to seek out the most volunteers in a certain time period. Award the best volunteer recruiter with a goofy trophy and some extra incentives. Sometimes having a little friendly competition will help people up their game. 

Give away free stuff. 

Ears always seem to perk when hearing the word “free!” So pass out stickers, launch t-shirts out of cannons, hold a luncheon or interesting seminar, host a meetup at a local coffee shop, give away yummy cookies…the possibilities are endless. Just make sure those free things come with more info about the organization and ways to volunteer. 

A big part of being a volunteer coordinator is making sure you have enough people to fill your volunteer team. While recruiting can seem daunting at times, make it your own and get creative with it!

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