Nonprofit Essentials: Recruiting and Managing Volunteers Online

Giving the usual disclaimer, the nature of your organization – its aims, day-to-day operations and goals – will determine whether or not you actually need volunteers. If part of your mission is to influence elections on any level, you will need as many volunteers as you can get. What you will find, however, is that volunteer enthusiasm is incredibly delicate, and that your volunteers may have a very different interpretation of your organization that only comes out in front of the media.

Recruiting volunteers online

Recruiting volunteers is actually the easy part, and social media is the perfect place. A few well-targeted posts and ads can start an influx of volunteers that will continue to grow organically as new volunteers share their experiences with their friends, online and off. Almost overnight, you can find yourself cast into a leadership position after a rapid influx of volunteers. Unfortunately, enthusiasm wanes, and you will need a plan to keep your volunteers together.

Stay busy

One major obstacle with new (and especially young) volunteers is a profound but fickle enthusiasm. From the moment you recruit a volunteer, they start to get bored. Communicating with the full group about its goals and accomplishments on a regular basis is a good way to keep the energy level up. Activating Facebook Groups is a great way to keep volunteers on the same page and talking to each other.

You should only recruit volunteers if you need them and have something for them to do immediately. Any delay between signing up and getting to work will cost you volunteers. No matter how vital (or not) the task, every volunteer should have something to do and a document that clearly lays that out. Never assume your volunteers know what to do or how to do it. Create a process, maybe even a set of written scripts, and let everyone stick to the plan.

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