How to Turn a Giving Day into a Volunteer Recruitment Engine

During #GivingTuesdayNow, Neon One helped power giving events that helped 15,369 people pledge 515,778 volunteer hours in their communities. That is a lot of generosity! Yet how can your organization take the momentum that comes from a giving day and turn that into year round energy for your new volunteers.

Let’s unpack the three key steps you can take to engage new volunteers that you’ve recruited from a community giving event. 

Welcome Them

Your organization should treat your new volunteers the same way you should be treating new donors – with an enthusiastic embrace. Creating a series of communications and programs that help energize your new volunteers will go a long way in keeping them with your organization for a long time. Here’s a few ideas on how to kickstart this for your organization:

  • Host a virtual celebration of these new volunteers, updating them on the success you had with the giving event itself
  • Create an onboarding email series that is triggered by their start date with your organization
  • Give them a gift from your organization – it can be as simple as a sticker of your organization’s logo that they can put on their laptop

Personalized Training

Studies show that up to ⅓ of volunteers stop supporting their organization after one year, so ensuring that they feel supported as early as possible is key to maintaining the energy that comes from a giving day. There are a few simple yet effective strategies your organization can put into place to ensure long term success with your volunteers:

Report Back

Just like donors want to know the impact of their contributions, volunteers are going to want to understand how the work they’re doing is creating a positive impact in the mission that they are supporting. Here’s a few ways that your organization can create a feedback loop that keeps volunteers engaged and potentially turns them into donors as well

  • Create a dedicated newsletter for volunteers that spotlights the work that individuals and groups are doing as well as telling stories about the programs they are supporting
  • Carve out a section in your annual report that is specific to the work that volunteers are doing, intentionally spotlighting a volunteer that you recruited from your successful giving day
  • Create a retrospective one year later about the volunteers you recruited on your giving event and include them in any promotion you do for the giving event in the next year, including interviewing them on a live stream

By employing these strategies and tactics, your organization will be able to turn the energy created from the moment of a giving event into momentum that powers your volunteer team for the rest of the year and into the future.

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Montana Food Bank Network

Order up!

The Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN) is the only statewide food bank in the country, covering more than 10,000 highway miles per month and serving food to hundreds of thousands of people every year. In 2012, the organization distributed 7.4 million pounds of emergency food to nearly 200 agencies!

Although the MFBN hosts many events year-round, the organization’s crown jewel crowd-pleasure is the Big Sky BBQ, a community cook-out held in conjunction with a local brewery. The Big Sky BBQ has become one of the organization’s largest (and tastiest) fundraisers. “Thousands of people attend every year,” says Katie Lane, Volunteer Coordinator for the Montana Food Bank Network. “It’s a fun mix of delicious BBQ, local beers and live music.”

“With VolunteerLocal, it was easy to set up my event, job descriptions and shifts.  The volunteers were able to sign up at their convenience and all of the information was gathered for me.  VolunteerLocal allowed me to use my time to work on event preparations rather than inputting data into a spreadsheet.  I will absolutely use VolunteerLocal for our future events.”

-Katie Lane, Volunteer Coordinator for the Montana Food Bank Network

As you might imagine, it takes many volunteers to make this great event happen each summer. This year, the MFBN got a taste of another kind of craft product – a midwest-based volunteer management software. “VolunteerLocal really streamlined the process,” says Lane. “Before [using VolunteerLocal], I had to individually contact hundreds of prospective volunteers and keep a running spreadsheet of their names, shifts, contact info and shirt sizes for each of our major events. It was really cumbersome and time consuming.”

Now, the Montana Food Bank Network can ditch the spreadsheets and sharpie markers, instead focusing on what it does best: eradicating hunger. “We have been feeding hungry Montanans since 1983.” That’s 30 years and counting, MFBN – thanks for bringing VolunteerLocal along for the ride!

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