A chapter’s volunteer program starts with recruiting good volunteers. Connecting with potential volunteers is the most crucial and, sometimes, the most challenging step in maintaining a successful volunteer program.
Good recruiting starts with reaching out to prospective volunteers through multiple avenues. Following are a few ways you can reach out and let the public know about volunteer needs at your site.
Thanks in part to a grant from REI, Statewide Friends launched the use of VolunteerMatch in 2012. VolunteerMatch is a tool that provides non-profit organizations with an easy way to connect with potential volunteers. Through the online VolunteerMatch system, each chapter can post volunteer opportunities that are then publicized on the Internet through the VolunteerMatch website, through the Statewide Friends website, through multiple corporations and partners as well as through social media.
Each chapter has an account on the VolunteerMatch system and should have at least one administrator within the chapter who is able to post volunteer opportunities and coordinate with perspective volunteers.
VolunteerMatch is the industry leading service to help match prospective volunteers with volunteer opportunities. You can visit the website at www.volunteermatch.org.
Training on the VolunteerMatch system is available for new users or for those who need a refresher. However, the system is very intuitive and easy to use. The following steps briefly describe how to log in to the system and post a volunteer opportunity for your chapter.
VolunteerMatch offers ongoing training and provides best practices for reaching volunteers through social media and more. To learn more, visit their learning center at: learn.volunteermatch.org.
1. To log in to your VolunteerMatch account, visit www.volunteermatch.org. Click the “sign in” link in the top right of the website and enter your email address and password for VolunteerMatch. If you have forgotten your password, you may click the “Forgot your password?” link to have it reset. If you are unsure if you have an account, contact Statewide Friends to get set up.
2. Once you have signed in, you will see your chapter listed under “Manage Organizations.” Click on the chapter name to start working with volunteer opportunities.
3. Near the top of the screen, click “Add New Listing” to add a new volunteer opportunity.
4. Now you will simply follow along in the webform to create your volunteer opportunity, clicking “Next Step” as you proceed through the wizard.
While not required, adding pictures and creative descriptions can greatly enhance your volunteer opportunity listings. Be sure to check out all the advanced features available in VolunteerMatch.
At a minimum, you should always have at least one volunteer opportunity listed in VolunteerMatch. In addition to the VolunteerMatch website, opportunities are also published on the Statewide Friends website, the Statewide Friends Facebook account and on individual chapter websites. Keeping at least one opportunity listed helps volunteers visiting these resources know you are out there.
Screenshot from Statewide Friends website showing available volunteer opportunities through VolunteerMatch
Facebook is another great tool to reach out prospective volunteers. Creating a Facebook event that links back to your VolunteerMatch posting is a great way to keep your Facebook fans engaged with your opportunities and to make the best use of the hard work you put into developing your Facebook page.
Facebook is also a great way to thank volunteers and celebrate their accomplishments after an event by posting a picture of your volunteers.
On-Site volunteer interest forms
The individual most likely to volunteer with your chapter is one who frequently visits your site and has a vested interest in it. With on-site volunteer interest forms, you can connect with frequent visitors even when you’re not there.
With site manager approval, a chapter can create a bulletin board or display highlighting volunteer efforts to help recruit additional volunteers.
A volunteer corner or bulletin board can be a great way to recruit volunteers and celebrate your accomplishments. You can post pictures alongside your volunteer interest form and also post upcoming volunteer opportunities, all in one place.