How to Engage Your Organization’s Volunteers

Volunteers are nonprofitland’s special sauce – they play a big role in helping nonprofits create change and accomplish its mission. Volunteers are likely to turn into donors, giving two times more than non-volunteers. Given their importance, nonprofit leaders often wonder how to recruit and manage volunteers. Here’s some thoughts on that topic with special thanks to Tobi Johnson and VolunteerPro as well as Joan Garry and Nonprofits Are Messy Podcast.

How do I recruit volunteers to my organization?

The most effective recruitment method is using your personal network to make meaningful volunteering asks. Invite the participation of someone that has taken interest in your work on behalf of the organization, and invite them to join you at a volunteer event.

A second recruitment method is through special events. If someone cares enough about your organization to attend a gala, a 5K, community presentation, or informational session, they may also care enough to volunteer. Always have a volunteer sign-up sheet handy at all organization events. Keep an eye out for people who are extra-engaged or enthusiastic during your events and/or who demonstrate passion for your organization’s cause; they just might be your next volunteers. After the event, approach them, ask if they have any questions, and then make a direct ask: will you sign up to volunteer with us?

Another recruitment method requires digital marketing. Now is the time to optimize the online presence of your nonprofit to educate, draw people in, and keep them involved. Engage people where they are: on their phones, tablets, and computers. Every organization should have a “Volunteer Now” button on the home page of their website and highlight types of volunteer opportunities, both big and small.

Be creative and think outside of the box!