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6 Outside-the-Box Volunteer Recruitment Ideas

Your volunteers are an essential asset for your nonprofit as they offer their unique skills and energy to help you achieve your goals. Keeping your volunteer recruitment strategy fresh and innovative is crucial to finding the most suitable volunteers for your organization. When you adopt unique volunteer recruitment ideas you can reach a new audience of prospective volunteers and catch their attention in a different way. 

If your volunteer recruitment strategy could use a refresh, try out one of these six outside-the-box recruitment ideas: 

  1. Reach out to corporate partners.
  2. Offer video interview opportunities. 
  3. Introduce gamification.
  4. Connect with prospective volunteers directly over social media. 
  5. Reach out to lapsed volunteers.
  6. Invite your donors to participate. 

By recruiting the right volunteers effectively, your organization will have a stronger support base. If you’re a volunteer manager who wants to take on a more effective volunteer recruitment approach, let’s dive right into it!

1. Reach out to corporate partners.

According to InitLive’s guide to employee volunteering programs, “Corporate volunteerism is becoming more and more popular as businesses seek to improve their societal impact.”  Businesses want to engage employees in volunteering to enhance teamwork, contribute to a better work/life balance, and improve employee satisfaction. All in all, these actions help companies improve their culture and boost employee retention. 

Reach out to corporate partners to invite them to participate in your volunteer initiatives. Teaming up with corporations can be a powerful way to create social change. Plus, facilitating corporate partnerships can provide many benefits for your nonprofit organizations and help it grow. Corporate partnerships can help your organization by: 

  • Bringing in more revenue – The company you choose to partner up with may sponsor an event, program, or project and in exchange, they may donate to your cause. These donations are valuable in helping you grow your program and generate revenue.
  • Creating awareness and expanding your program – Create a great welcoming environment for your corporate partners by offering opportunities that are specifically tailored to employee volunteers. For instance, you can offer opportunities that help employees develop professional development skills, such as public speaking or graphic design. When your volunteers have an enjoyable experience right from the beginning, they are more inclined to continue volunteering for a long time and can also help you generate awareness by inviting their families and friends.

Nonprofit and corporate partnerships can result in positive outcomes for both parties if planned properly. These partnerships can offer your organization valuable access to skilled volunteer support, giving you a powerful new volunteer source. 

2. Offer video interview opportunities. 

Technology has made volunteer recruitment processes more streamlined as it provides an improved experience for both the administrator and the volunteer. Video interviews offer greater convenience for prospective volunteers and allow you to open up your recruiting pool to those who may live further away. It also helps reduce the risks of losing top talented volunteers.

Video interviews also speed up the recruitment process when you have many qualified volunteers lined up for an interview. All you have to do is determine a time that’s convenient for both you and your prospective volunteers and schedule everyone accordingly. This allows a larger number of candidates to be screened in a shorter time, allowing extra time to get to know your volunteers before hiring them.

3. Introduce gamification.

Gamification involves adding fun game mechanics to a non-gaming environment and features elements such as points, leaderboards, and badges. 

You can use gamification to recruit new volunteers who are interested in the friendly-competition aspect of your volunteer program. People enjoy participating in activities with a slight competition because it inspires a drive to succeed and makes accomplishing tasks fun. 

Award volunteers with badges or points once they hit certain milestones such as a specific number of hours worked or donations raised. Furthermore, your volunteers can continue earning points until they hit a certain benchmark and receive a prize! This is a fun and engaging way to motivate your volunteers.

Be sure to offer prizes such as volunteer t-shirts for signing up or points and incentives for current volunteers to bring new volunteers. This will go a long way in building excitement in your existing and prospective volunteers.

4. Connect with prospective volunteers directly over social media. 

Promote your volunteer opportunities on your volunteers’ preferred social media platforms. You can determine who your most engaged followers are by tracking who interacts with you most on social media. Then, you can market your volunteer program directly to these individuals. 

Keep track of the followers who comment, share, and mention your page the most. Since these individuals are already highly engaged with your organization, they are more likely to participate in your volunteer activities. Here are some great social media platforms to connect with prospective volunteers:

  • LinkedIn: This is a great platform to build relationships with professional or skilled volunteers. You can view users’ past philanthropic histories on their profile pages and send direct messages inviting them to explore your volunteer opportunities. 
  • Instagram: Keep track of your most engaged Instagram followers and send these individuals private messages providing information about volunteering. You can also create engaging posts and stories with polls to get an idea of who is interacting with your page the most.
  • Facebook: Create Facebook event pages for your volunteer opportunities and share them with your Facebook groups. You can also send them directly to your most engaged followers. 

Prospective volunteers will feel special and valued when your organization takes the time to reach out to them and personally invite them to your volunteer opportunities. 

5. Reach out to lapsed volunteers.

Previous volunteers who have been a part of your organization for a long time are already familiar with your cause and goals, which is why it’s a great idea to reach out to them. You never know when a former volunteer might decide to start engaging with your organization again!

Another reason why reaching out to former volunteers can be a good idea is because they are already experts on your nonprofit. They are familiar with your organization’s values and how you plan on achieving your goals. This may allow them to bypass the onboarding process and start volunteering right away. 

Use your volunteer management system to identify lapsed volunteers who might be interested in volunteering again. Your database will make it easier to determine who to contact based on their frequency and history of volunteering. Check data points such as the number of hours worked per individual or whether they have worked in the past three months.

Remember to contact these volunteers individually to see if they would be interested in getting involved again and use their preferred names to personalize your messages.

6. Invite your donors to participate. 

Donors choose to support your nonprofit because they believe in your mission. Your organization’s donors already have a strong affinity for your organization. You can invite them to take their involvement to the next level by becoming volunteers! Volunteering is a natural next step that allows donors to get more involved in your cause and form personal connections with your organization. 

There are many ways you can recruit your donors to become volunteers, such as:

  • Post on social media – Create a fun and exciting post about your volunteer opportunities and include details about your roles. Remember to mention how much of an impact this will make on furthering your mission, as that’s what donors care about most.
  • Create a blog post – You can include volunteer testimonials within your blogs and use pictures and videos to enhance your message. Share these posts on social media to allow everyone to understand what your volunteer opportunities bring to the community.
  • Create a form on your website – This is a quick way for your donors to sign up if they are interested in becoming a volunteer. Collect all necessary information and contact them accordingly for the next steps!

Remember to thank donors for their previous support and mention how their volunteer contributions provide much-needed on-the-ground support for your cause. 

Now that you’ve learned some new outside-the-box volunteer recruitment ideas, it’s time to put them into action! Maintaining a flexible volunteer recruitment approach allows you to continue reaching new audiences and diversifying your volunteer base. Good luck!

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