While donors are essential for funding your cause, volunteers are essential for supporting its ongoing functions, from day-to-day operations to fundraising event management. However, even if your nonprofit has the most ardent of supporters, it can still be incredibly difficult to actually motivate volunteers to give their time.
At DNL OmniMedia, we specialize in nonprofit tech strategy consulting, so we’ve worked with quite a few nonprofits to develop plans around specific goals such as boosting volunteer engagement. Check out the following reliable strategies for increasing volunteer sign-ups:
- Solidify your mission statement.
- Keep an updated website.
- Manage volunteer data with a strong CRM solution.
- Use technology tools to motivate volunteers.
Read on to learn how to use the above strategies to increase volunteer engagement.
1. Solidify your mission statement.
There’s one thing that’s absolutely essential to bring volunteers to your organization– a strong mission statement.
Your mission statement encompasses your “why,” as in why you’re dedicated to your cause and why you’re giving your time and efforts toward it. It can be easy to develop your mission statement when your nonprofit is born but then take it for granted going forward. Instead, you should think of your mission statement as a kind of living document to guide your work.
You should be actively using this statement to attract new supporters. When a supporter connects personally with your mission statement, you’ve made the strongest, most direct connection you can possibly make with that individual.
These supporters become volunteers. You should focus some energy on crafting the best mission statement possible to help build these relationships.
2. Keep an updated website.
Your website functions as your nonprofit’s home on the internet, and it’s most likely where you’re going to direct potential volunteers to find opportunities. Therefore, it’s absolutely vital you keep this information up-to-date and easily accessible.
Regardless of whether you’re a tech expert or a total newcomer, keeping your website updated can be a manageable (and even budget-friendly) task. There are a few features you’ll want to make sure to include:
- An easily-read calendar widget for quick viewing of upcoming opportunities
- Uncomplicated volunteer registration processes for events, embedded directly within the site
- A call-to-action button to gather contact information from interested potential volunteers
- Links to your nonprofit’s social media profiles, so volunteers can stay in the loop
If your website could use an upgrade to better target volunteer audiences, check out this guide to nonprofit website design for an idea of how to get started.
3. Manage volunteer data with a strong CRM solution.
You could have the strongest volunteer force imaginable and it still wouldn’t be effective if you didn’t have a comprehensive CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution to manage and gather data from these interactions.
Your CRM software hosts all of the data you gather on donors, volunteers, and any other supporters. With this data, you’ll be able to:
- Maintain volunteer profiles, tracking information such as engagement history and contact info
- Identify which fundraiser campaigns have been most engaging for your volunteers and implement similar ideas in future endeavors
- Identify which volunteers are most likely to convert to donors down the line and contact them accordingly
- Recognize the preferred contact methods for segments of your volunteer force and reach out with new opportunities appropriately
Setting up your organization’s technology solutions can be a difficult undertaking, especially if you’re a larger organization working with particularly robust solutions.
Bringing on a nonprofit technology consultant is usually the best bet to mitigate risk, whether you’re developing a quick website or needing customized Blackbaud consultation services.
4. Use volunteer grant tools to motivate donors.
You’ll motivate donors using your mission statement, navigable website and engaging events. However, there may not be anything more engaging to a volunteer than the knowledge that they may be able to double their impact on your nonprofit.
This is made possible through volunteer grant programs, typically part of broader corporate social responsibility practices at businesses. The process is simple: an eligible employee volunteers at your nonprofit, they submit proof of time volunteered to their employer, their employer verifies this time with your organization, and then this employer sends a financial gift to your organization matching the time given.
The biggest obstacle in obtaining a volunteer grant is that volunteers are rarely actually aware of these opportunities. Therefore, by providing supporters with education surrounding the practice and directing them to an online volunteer grants database, your supporters are able to determine their eligibility and begin the process.
For more information on these programs, check out Double the Donation’s guide to volunteer grant basics.
Volunteers are essential for any nonprofit to function, but it can be difficult to motivate supporters to actually give their time!
By crafting solid messaging, keeping volunteers updated on upcoming activities, managing your volunteer data, and utilizing corporate social responsibility tools, you’ll be sure to motivate volunteers to sign up for future initiatives.