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Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

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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Yesterday, ifPeople got out in our neighborhood – the same one Dr Martin Luther King, Jr was born in – for a day of service. We worked with Trees Atlanta to plant over 60 trees in Atlanta’s Forth Ward.

It was a gorgeous day and we even had the help of ifPeople’s youngest team member, Alon (our Junior Officer of Keepin’ It Real, aka JOKeR). In the photo you’ll see us beside our first (and most challenging) tree we planted, which was in a former parking lot.

ifpeople team
ifPeople team at MLK Day tree planting

Many thanks to all those who got out and made Monday a day “on” in honor of Dr. King’s legacy.

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By now, many of you know that Mozilla Service Week happens in two weeks, September 14 to 22. But some of you may have missed out on all the buzz, and might be wondering what Mozilla Service Week actually is — and (hopefully) how you can get involved.

If this is you, have no fear. Mozilla’s latest video breaks it down for you:

You can get more information about how Mozilla Service Week works here.

Or if you want to jump right in and search for service opportunities in your area, you can visit idealist.org’s Service Week volunteer site here.

At ifPeople, everyone in the office is participating in a single project that gives an organization-in-need a fully functional Plone site.

Is anyone else participating? If you are, what projects are you working on?

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In case you haven’t heard, the NTC, put on by the amazing folks at the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) was a raging success. With over 30% growth in attendence over last year, the organizers had to reorganize the space a couple times to be able to accommodate as many as possible. So what made it so hot? Well, in part, it’s kinda the only game in town that can address technology in the nonprofit on a comprehensive scale. And what’s more, NTEN does a smashing job at community organizing – it isn’t just a fly-in-and-out kinda event, it’s more like family.

Soft stuff aside, you say, what was hot on the technology front? Here’s a couple things I thought were innovative technology and knowledge showcased at the conference:

  • SMS text-based evaluations: rather than the typical carpeting of colored papers with rating scales and comment boxes, NTEN went paperless for session evaluations. To fill out an evaluation, all you did was text a code for the session to a number and then you were walked through a process to fill out evaluation. Not sure what overall uptake on this system was (last I heard was half way through event and about 400 had been filled out). I found it hard to have the info I need (ie code and number) when I had a spare moment to fill it out. Sweet idea though!
  • Google Moderator: Not revolutionary – and occassionally annoying (ie having to lug around laptop, finding working wifi, remember the address, log in…), but still a cool way to promote collaborative dialog/questions between an audience and speaker. We used it in our session (~60 people) and it was even used in the keynotes (1,000+ people).
  • Twitter everywhere! We were trending in Twitter for the #09ntc and there was an overwhelming amount of traffic and conversation! Was great to watch people from beginner-level Twitter through very experienced rockin during the conference (those without computers could jump on one of many laptop workstations around the conference).  You can follow me here 🙂
  • The Social Actions folks (an in particular @engagejoe) ran an awesome campaign that climaxed during NTC. Here’s the scoop: Social Actions has an API to all the big volunteer sites around the web (wicked!). They had a contest to give away $10k to the coolest app created that leverage their API. They got some amazing entries! Have a look at the 24 finalists here. Very cool stuff! Highlights include CauseSense, which replaces Google Ads with volunteer opportunities and the Take Action button (but it with your content and watch it suggest actions!). Nice job everyone – go crowdsourcing for a cause!

Clearly that’s not all, but that’s a taste. I’ll be going through notes a bit more thoroughly soon, so expect some more posts, including one on Eben Moglen’s talk!

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