Finding Volunteers

Volunteers are crucial to any nonprofit organization, and while nearly 65 million Americans volunteer annually, many organizations are always looking for volunteers. So how can your organization recruit more volunteers?

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When I served as a baton twirling ambassador in Trujillo, Peru in 2007, they utilized our group of eight twirlers to help feed the homeless. This was one of a few service projects we got to experience while we were there. Even though we were not local people, they used the event we went there for, the coming of spring festival, to gain more volunteers and provide more services to their community. They capitalized on the opportunity to gain more volunteers.

Use the resources already available to your organization.  Email the volunteers you already have. Encourage them to give more time when they can, and also encourage them to recruit their friends and family to help with certain events. The United Way says the best way to engage people via email is to create an interesting subject line.

Special Events. Special events are a great way to share your mission with other people. Sometimes simply making the community aware of your organization, and educating them on what services your organization provides can inspire them to become a volunteer or a donor. Special events are a great way to raise special funds and promote your cause.

Local Businesses. Volunteering isn’t always about money. A lot of businesses have services and products they can donate to local nonprofit organizations. Something as simple as styrofoam cups or plates can be useful to an organization for a service they provide. Many businesses and nonprofits alike don’t think about this, but something so simple can have a huge impact and save the organization from spending precious operational funds on basic needs to complete their services. In turn, the business gets recognized as donor which puts the business name out in the community as an organization that seeks to give back to the community in which it thrives.

Use Local People. Depending on where your nonprofit is located depends on the demographic of your volunteers. In a college town like Morgantown, there are over 30,000 college students with the capability to volunteer. Your organization should market to everyone and anyone who can make a difference regardless of age. If you really sell and promote your organization, people with a passion for the cause will step up to the plate.

Use Technology. Many organizations use volunteers within the community, and it’s important not to overlook volunteers within the community, however, your volunteers don’t always have to be physically present. Virtual volunteers are a growing trend, especially with the expansion of technology. When managed properly, virtual volunteers can be very effective. Many virtual volunteers help run social media platforms, answer emails, and write grants. Virtual volunteering allows those people with time constraints who want to volunteer to still be a part of the organization when it’s convenient for them. They can still work volunteering into their day even if it’s midnight or five in the morning.

If you’re looking for volunteers, it’s important to remember that volunteers aren’t always the same. There are a variety of ways people can volunteer, and no one volunteer is more important than the other.

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