Many nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers. For some, “rely heavily” is a significant understatement.
But recruiting and managing a legion of volunteers can be quite an undertaking. Sure it’s worthwhile, but coordinating this effort is a lot to juggle.
Many nonprofits underutilize their websites when it comes to managing their volunteer efforts. There are a wide variety of ways your website can help boost the efficiency and effectiveness of the way your nonprofit handles volunteers.
Here are three such ways.
1. Getting Visitors Interested in Volunteering
Your website is the perfect place to cultivate a potential volunteer’s interest in getting involved with your organization. It’s your job to make them believe they can make a difference through your nonprofit.
When it comes to the types of content you share, consider the following:
Impact of Past Volunteers. Share the impact your volunteers have had in the past. Showing what past volunteers have been able to accomplish will help build faith you can repeat it in the future.
Stories from Past Volunteers. Share thoughts directly from the mouths of your volunteers. These will serve as a sort of testimonial, helping to instill confidence in potential volunteers that they should get involved.
Photos and Videos. Effectively leveraging emotion can help you connect with website visitors in a profound way. Use photos and videos whenever possible to help create this emotional connection.
2. Signing Visitors Up to Volunteer
Allowing website visitors to actually sign up to volunteer through your website can help your nonprofit in multiple ways. Not only will it increase the likelihood a visitor will sign up since it’s less work than printing an application or sending an email, it’ll also prevent potentially interested volunteers from getting lost in a pile of papers or crowded inbox.
When utilizing your website to sign up volunteers, consider focusing on the following:
Easy Signup Process. You’ll want to make your signup process as easy as possible. Only ask for personal information you absolutely need. The more you ask for, the less likely a visitor is to complete the process. Also, test your signup form in all major browsers to make sure it displays and works properly for all your visitors.
All Relevant Logistical Info. Make sure your volunteers know what to expect from an event. Tell them everything they need to know, including:
- Date and time (start and end)
- Activities to expect to do on site
- Proper attire
- Any items they should bring
- Rain plan
Impact of the Volunteer Opportunity. Tell your visitors why this particular volunteer opportunity is worthwhile. Explain the impact they’ll be having in the community. They’re signing up to make a difference. Make sure they know they’re doing just that.
Multimedia from Past Events. If you’ve done this same volunteer event in the past, show volunteers what to expect using photos and videos. Such multimedia can help build an emotional connection while making volunteers more comfortable signing up since they know what to expect.
Person to Ask Questions. Provide the contact info for a specific person in your nonprofit. Having a point person can help convince those website visitors deciding if they should get involved to do so.
3. Maintaining Relationships with Past Volunteers
Getting new volunteers is great. Maintaining the passion and support of past volunteers is even better.
Keeping past volunteers engaged will not only prevent you from being short of helping hands, but it also increases the likelihood they’ll get further involved. Perhaps they’ll take on a leadership role and lead a volunteer event. Or maybe they’ll recruit some friends to volunteer in the future. Maybe they’ll even start supporting your organization in other ways, such as becoming a donor or raising awareness for your cause.
When looking to maintain relationships with volunteers, consider the following:
Ongoing Appreciation of Volunteer Efforts. Share your appreciation for your volunteers. And not only right after they’ve given their time or during Volunteer Appreciation Week. Write blog posts about how much volunteers mean to your nonprofit. Dedicate pages of your website to recognizing outstanding contributions made by your volunteers. Your volunteers probably mean a great deal to you. Make sure they know it.
Demonstrate Volunteer Impact. We’ve already discussed the importance of demonstrating your volunteers’ impact. Instead of relegating such sentiments to an occasional email newsletter, dedicate blog posts and web pages to discussing the impact your volunteers are having in the community you serve. Reminding your volunteers how much good they’re doing may prompt them to come on back to do some more.
Post Information Volunteers Will Find Interesting. Don’t be the kind of nonprofit that’s always asking for support and never offering anything in return. If all you do is ask for help your supporters may very well tune you out. Instead, write blog posts and share articles your volunteers will find interesting. Write about topics related to your mission. Doing so can stoke the passion of your volunteers.
Your website can be a valuable tool when it comes to cultivating new volunteers, informing current volunteers and staying connected with past volunteers.
How are you using your website when it comes to promoting volunteerism? Is there anything you think your nonprofit could be better at? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below.