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Volunteers are crucial to a nonprofit organization’s sustainability.  You may have existing tools attract, and retain talented people who are willing to contribute to your cause, but now you can consider how social media can be part of the mix. Since internet users are more likely to volunteer it’s good to figure out how to use social media to engage people in your nonprofit’s volunteer efforts.

The three core functions of a successful volunteer program can be broken down to Recruitment, Retention, and Recognition. Each of these can be powered and accelerated with the strategic use of social media. This blog will discuss how this can be used for recruitment.

Recruitment

volunteerThe first step in a successful volunteer program for your organization is attracting people to help out. In the hunt for volunteers, you can use social media to get some traction in your efforts :

  • Leverage Your Existing Social Media Network: In your volunteer recruitment efforts, if you are placing a generic posting on a nonprofit job board, chances are some of the people who see your ad may like your organization or be keyed into your cause, others may not. If you are already engaged in social media, your existing tools are the first place to start. You have already established a connection and presence with people who care enough about your cause to follow you in some way. Your messages to your twitter followers or facebook fans have by default become more targeted because they are people who are already interested in what your organization represents. Design campaigns that go out to your existing networks.
  • Make It Shareable: Social Media is called “social” for a reason. Increase your chances of being mentioned through word of mouth in the by giving people who sign up easy ways of sharing your organization’s project with their friends.

-Facebook- Get a more tech savvy staff member to use facebook integrations so when users sign up to volunteer with you, they have an option to share that message with their friends.

-Twitter- Create a hashtag for your event and use it for tweets related to the volunteer project. Then use Twitter’s Widget Tool to create a badge that shows all the tweets about the event based on the event.It will give people the impression that there’s a buzz about it and also give users a way to signal to each other that they are participating in the same event.

  • Connect with Influencers: To widen the scope of your influence after getting the word out in your own circles, start engaging individuals with high leverage points in your target audiences. By getting buy-in from people who have wide audiences, your volunteer opportunities will not only be exposed to a larger number of relevant people, but will likely come from someone who is trusted in the community you are trying to reach.

Case Study: Volunteer 4 Long Island

This is a great example of an organization that used some of the above strategies for a successful volunteer recruitment campaign. They started by optimizing their existing social media vehicles and corrected the error in the site. After taking stock of what they had in place already, they chose to expand their reach by tapping into the specific network of Long Island Tweetups. They messaged specific twitter influencers in the group to get them on board with Volunteer 4 Long Island’s project. This lead to retweets, facebook messages, and several more volunteers signing up.

If you’d like to learn more strategies and read more case studies for how social media can be used to boost your nonprofit’s volunteer efforts, then be sure to sign up for the webinar on the topic in a few weeks.

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