Most nonprofits usually have more work to do than resources to get it done. That’s where volunteers come in. Givers who choose to donate their time can help your organization fill in the gaps and increase your impact. But how do you find them and convince them to help? It isn’t always easy, but with a little work, you’ll be able to build a quality volunteer base eager to donate their time and expertise to your cause.
First, present your organization as warm and approachable.
If your nonprofit has a human face, name and personality, it’ll make it that much easier for it to become a recognizable organization that people want to engage with. One way to accomplish this is to share stories of existing volunteers. This will help your current team of devotees feel appreciated, and encourage potential recruits to get involved.
Second, ask for help — in and beyond your immediate network.
It may seem that everyone in your circle knows you are a part of a nonprofit that could use an extra hand every now and then, but it isn’t always apparent. People are in their own little worlds, so you’ve got to do the obvious and ask for help. Start with your closest associates and extend a personalized invite. And from there, work to spread the word on a larger scale. Make sure your website has a section dedicated to prospective volunteers. Leverage social media to highlight volunteer activities and successes. Pitch stories to local news media about your organization and mention that you’re looking for volunteers. There’s no shortage of ways you can go about asking for the help you need.
Third, get specific with your request.
“Volunteer” isn’t a job description — it’s more an indicator of the kind of work that is expected. So instead of putting out a general call for volunteers, be clear about what you need done. Whether you need tour guides, home builders, tutors, or dog walkers, ask specifically for people willing to do the job that you need them to. And, also nod to any special skills that a volunteer may need in order to effectively help out.
Finally, drive home the benefits to the volunteer.
For those who enjoy giving back, volunteering comes with a number of intangible benefits. And it may serve your organization well if you reminded potential volunteers of the power of giving. Donating one’s time can help make a huge difference in the life of a person in need, gives people an opportunity to use their skills and talents for good, and creates a greater sense of community.