Your organization relies on the dedicated efforts of volunteers. But sometimes, fewer volunteers show up to event day than expected. We know how much work goes into planning a large-scale event, so we’ve put together some suggestions to ensure your next one is a full house!
Make Volunteer Opportunities Easy to Find
Volunteers shouldn’t have to dig through your website to locate opportunities. Here are some ways to help your events and opportunities stand out:
- Incorporate a “Volunteer” heading in your website’s navigation menu.
- List all your events and opportunities in one place on your website (we recommend a “calendar of events” page.
- Spotlight a particularly exciting event on your homepage.
- Link to the event page directly (rather than your home page) when you feature volunteer opportunities in social media and marketing materials. This way, volunteers are only a few clicks away from signing up!
Simplify Your Registration Process
Once prospective volunteers find opportunities they’re interested in, they should be able to register for the event painlessly. Some organizations require volunteers to email expressing their interest; this creates unnecessary wait time. Instead, have volunteers sign up for the event directly through your website. An intuitive volunteer management software will allow you to integrate registration into your existing site. Include a “Click Here to Volunteer!” button beneath each opportunity that leads to an online sign-up form. After entering just a few pieces of key information, volunteers are registered immediately, and your organization’s list updates automatically.
Reach Out to Businesses in Your Community
More and more companies are incorporating volunteerism programs into their business model. Reach out to local companies, especially those with employee volunteer requirements, for your next event. Employees can sign up as a team, increasing the number of participants and the likelihood that all members will show up on event day. Following the event, software like Community Connect will allow you to generate a team resume, track data on how many hours were contributed collectively, and calculate money saved. Businesses appreciate readily available documentation of corporate responsibility, while you bolster close relationships with local business. Plus, you’ll increase your volunteer pool!
Click here for more on the benefits of corporate partnerships.
Employ Social Media
Spread the word using a variety of outreach platforms: announce upcoming events on your organization’s social media channels while encouraging community members to sign up for exciting volunteer opportunities. And why not regularly incorporate a calendar of events in your nonprofit newsletter? With every mention of an opportunity, be sure to provide a link or button that leads directly to the event page or your site’s volunteer registration page.
Want more guidance on nonprofit social media strategy? Check out this article.
After volunteers have registered for an opportunity, follow up with an email to confirm registration and thank volunteers for their interest.
Because we’re all humans, sometimes we forget things. Send a reminder several days before with the date and time of the event. Specify logistical information so that volunteers feel prepared. We recommend including the following information:
- Location details
- Day-of contact numbers
- What to bring
- A schedule for the day
You may also want to attach brief yet insightful literature about your cause so that volunteers are engaged before they even arrive. Your organization’s preparedness demonstrates your dedication to the cause, inspiring commitment on behalf of volunteers.
No time to send reminders? Your Connect software does all the work for you!
Establish a Volunteer Check-In System
A check-in system at each event will help you keep track of volunteer attendance. As soon as volunteers arrive at the event location, have them go directly to a check-in point. Include clear signage. An automated check-in — like the Check-in Kiosk on any Connect platform — will also allow volunteers to sign in and out, so your nonprofit can record valuable data about participation numbers and hours.
Plus, a well-organized event will minimize stress on volunteers, ensuring that they have a positive experience. They’ll want to volunteer with your organization again!
Thank Your Volunteers
Wrap up the event by gathering your volunteers to thank them for their hard work. Talk about everything you were able to accomplish as a team, and how valuable their volunteer efforts were. Follow up with a sincere email thanking volunteers. By the way, your Connect software does this automatically! Being appreciated feels good — volunteers might just want to help out again! For more ways to thank your volunteers, check out this post.
The benevolent efforts of volunteers allow for enduring do-good programs. So volunteer opportunities should be quick to find and simple to register for. With the employment of a robust management software and some best practices for volunteer outreach, your nonprofit’s next event is bound to be a success!