Since volunteer rates have declined over the years, marketing your volunteer opportunities is more important than ever. Through marketing, you’ll expand your reach and increase the chances you’ll find suitable volunteers quickly.
Do you have to be an expert marketer to promote your organization and draw volunteers? Nope. Not at all. With a few basics under your belt, you can start marketing immediately.
What Does Volunteer Marketing Involve?
Marketing is all about promoting your mission and opportunities to attract volunteers. It can be a simple process that mainly entails creating a well-written description of an opening you currently have and then posting these descriptions where your audience will find them. Here’s how you’ll start:
- Determine your goals: Before you can begin marketing your volunteer opportunities, it’s crucial to have a crystal-clear picture of what volunteers will do, how many you need, and when you need them.
- Get to know your audience: What motivates your intended audience to volunteer? How does your mission speak to them? Knowing your audience will teach you how to craft an attention-grabbing message.
- Develop a plan: Once you have a clear, complete picture of what the opportunity looks like, you’ll need to think about how you’ll communicate this to the world and who will take care of these activities.
- Write the description: You’ll use your description to catch volunteers and urge them to apply. As we’ll cover more below, your description must be concise, clear, and engaging to provide information quickly and hold interest.
- Spread the word: Once you’ve written the description, it’s time to get it out there. You’ll need to decide where and how you’ll post your volunteering advertisement, considering the best channel for your audience.
Does It Take a Lot of Time?
The time you need to invest in marketing volunteer opportunities depends on your needs and what you wish to accomplish. For instance, if you want to reach as many people as possible, you’ll need to advertise on various platforms, which could be a greater time investment.
On the other hand, if you plan to share an opportunity with existing volunteers through email, you could probably complete the entire process in a few hours.
Who Should I Market To?
An essential part of marketing is identifying your target audience and learning what motivates them. The following questions can help you determine who you want to reach:
- What will my volunteers be doing?
- What specific skills will they need, if any?
- Where will my volunteers be located?
- What do they care about?
- What motivates them?
- What type of media do they interact with?
- What are their interests and hobbies?
- Will they be doing physical work?
Try to define your target audience in a few sentences and use this definition to guide you as you write about the opportunity.
Where Should I Advertise Volunteer Opportunities?
Where you place your volunteer advertisement largely depends on your audience and where you hope to find them.
For instance, posting opportunities online rather than in a newspaper could be more effective if you’re targeting younger volunteers. However, to reach as many candidates as possible, it helps to advertise on multiple channels. Channels you might use include:
- Social media platforms like LinkedIn or Instagram
- Your organization’s website
- Radio, TV, or newspapers
- Live events
- Job or volunteer fairs
You might also hang flyers in public places, like libraries or schools, or email or text existing volunteers about available opportunities.
Also, take into account the power of word of mouth. Share the opportunity with friends, relatives, current volunteers, and others in your community. It’s a free and effective way to get the news out there.
Tips for Writing a Call for Volunteers
Are you experiencing writer’s block when you write a description of your volunteer opportunity? The following tips will help you find the right wording when crafting your call for volunteers.
Hook Them With the Headline
Have you ever clicked on an ad because the headline was so enticing? If so, you know how much impact a heading can make.
Composing a great heading does not require being a master wordsmith, but it may just mean you’ll want to brainstorm a few ideas before settling for “volunteers needed.”
The first step is knowing why your audience is searching for volunteer opportunities. What words come to mind? For example, are they seeking opportunities to grow, experience, or make a difference? Do they want to feel, create, give, help, do, learn, or share? Consider if you can inject verbs or emotions into your heading.
For example, say you’re recruiting volunteers to cook in a soup kitchen. Instead of using a heading that says “Soup Kitchen Volunteers Needed,” you might write something like “Cooks Needed to Help Fight Hunger.”
You’ll also want the heading to be short, clear, and specific so the reader knows what to expect immediately.
Volunteering can feel intimidating, especially to someone who’s never volunteered or is trying something new. Help calm their nerves by crafting a warm, welcoming message.
Use a positive, friendly tone and show excitement and appreciation to have their attention. Also, using pronouns like “you” and “we” can create a sense of connection. Most importantly, be clear about your mission, so they can quickly assess if your opportunity matches their passions or interests.
Appeal to Their Motivations
People volunteer for different reasons. For example, someone might volunteer to test a career they’re interested in. Or they may be concerned about an issue in their community and want to help.
Consider how your opportunity might match readers’ motivation. For instance, if you’re recruiting volunteers to teach English, think about why someone might be motivated to teach. Do they want to help, give back, or share their knowledge? How can you tie this into your message?
Show the Benefits
Another vital part of your message is showing how the opportunity will benefit volunteers. There are a ton of benefits to volunteering you might incorporate in your description. This could include making friends, learning a new skill, or exercising.
If you offer benefits such as free memberships or coffee, mention those too. That way, you can show volunteers appreciation from the start.
Be Clear and Concise
Your description should clearly state what the volunteer’s duties will be, what skills or qualifications they may need for the role, how much time the person is expected to commit to, and how the role makes an impact. Volunteers should be able to look at your description and determine if they are a good fit.
All of this information should be presented in a clear, easy-to-read way. For instance, instead of writing lengthy paragraphs, include bulleted lists so readers can quickly scan the description.
Volunteer Opportunity Template
Use the following template to help you craft your description quickly:
- Start with a question to hook the reader, such as “Are you an animal lover who wants to make an impact?”
- Briefly state who you’re looking for and why.
- List the volunteer’s primary duties.
- Provide the worksite location.
- Add the supervisor’s name and title.
- Describe how long the volunteer will serve.
- Provide how many hours the volunteer is expected to work.
- List any skills, experience, education, or other qualifications needed.
- Add benefits and resources provided to volunteers.
- Give your call-to-action and any additional details.
Share Opportunities With Volgistics
Hopefully, you’re feeling inspired to pen your next volunteer opportunity description, and if you’d like to make the process even simpler, discover how Volgistics can help. Volgistics volunteer management software makes it easy to list and share opportunities with existing and prospective volunteers.
With Volgistics, you can easily add opportunities to your online directory. You can then add a link to your website to lead volunteers to your current opportunities. To learn more about what Volgistics can do, sign up for a 30-day free trial today.