It’s no secret that nonprofit organizations often operate on a tight budget. Many nonprofits rely heavily on volunteers to make their budgets work, but sometimes it’s difficult to get people involved. If you’re seeking to expand your volunteer base and bring in new faces to your organization, try some of these simple tips.
A Family Affair
If you already have some great volunteers, why not tap into that existing base and ask the whole family to come help out? Research has shown that parents and grandparents greatly influence their children’s future philanthropic tendencies. Try hosting a family day, or encourage parents or grandparents to bring in their children and grandchildren. Even young children are capable of simple tasks, such as decorating cards or packages, collecting litter, or spending time with nursing home patients. You could have new volunteers for generations to come! These youngsters could also be a great base for future donors, staff or board members.
Don’t Dismiss Teens
When you think of potential volunteers, teenagers may not be at the top of the list. However, just like younger children, if you can get teenagers involved early, you could potentially have volunteers for years to come. Many teenagers are already involved in service organizations through their high school or university. Most of these service organizations require their members to log an annual amount of volunteer hours to remain active members. Why not have your organization benefit from these “required” hours? Volunteering is a great way for teens to build their resumes and flesh out college applications. Let your local school counselors know that you’re accepting teenage volunteers, or post flyers at the local high schools, universities, and other areas where teens spend time.
The New Social Network
Everyone - from my grandmother to the kids next door - is on social media these days. Social media is a valuable and inexpensive marketing tool for attracting volunteers. Regularly update social media profiles, and be specific about what your organization needs. If you have a job that doesn’t require an on-site presence (like updating your website, designing marketing documents, writing letters, or making phone calls) social media can help broaden your pool of potential volunteers.
The Old-Fashioned Social Network
The volunteers you need may be hiding right under your nose. You may spend a lot of time trying to attract brand-new faces from the general public, but don’t neglect your own community relationships. Ask your friends and family if they know someone that might want to volunteer. Ask your current volunteers, staff and board members to do the same. Make it a competition - who can bring in the most friends, family, and co-workers to your next big volunteering event? By leveraging existing networks, you may be able to dig up a whole new batch of volunteers.