GuideStar Blog

Get Creative to Increase Volunteer Retention

Untitled design (14).png
Doesn’t every nonprofit want to retain their volunteers?
Organizations work hard to recruit and engage their volunteers. They spend countless hours and dollars encouraging volunteers to give their time. Training and educating new volunteers takes time and energy. By retaining current volunteers, your nonprofit frees up time to focus more on your cause. How about using your creativity to retain volunteers?

Create a Marketing Buzz

The majority of volunteers interact on social media. People are constantly checking their phones for updates. Volunteers want to see what is going on in the world around them and will follow your organization to get the latest updates. This is your chance to entice your audience and create a marketing buzz. A marketing buzz is the interaction of your supporters with your cause, which amplifies your original message.

Creating an interaction could be as simple as hosting a tweet chat to get people talking. A tweet chat is an interactive social media tactic. Someone on your team will ask questions on twitter in order to get feedback from your audience. You never know where the conversation will go. Be sure to have someone who is available to respond to all tweets in a timely manner.

An example of a question, could be:

“What inspires you to give your time to an organization?”

By interacting with your volunteers and influencers on social media, you will pique your communities’ interest and yield more engagement. This also shows that you are curious about your supporters’ feedback and want to strengthen your relationships with them.

Here are a few other ways to create a marketing buzz:
• Team up with your local media outlets to create new content.
• Reach out to bloggers in your industry who can be an advocate for your cause.
• Create weekly campaigns promoting your next event.
• Watch for other news around your industry that you can use in your media strategy.
• Ask to speak at seminars catered to your cause or industry.
• Join GuideStar’s community conversations to meet fellow nonprofit professionals and       gain their insights. 

People want to be up to date on the latest news and what’s going on. By making your organization stand out, it will inspire volunteers to continue to be a part of your cause. Volunteers will be proud to work with your organization.

Brand a Movement

When you think about a movement, what comes to mind? Maybe you think about politics or saving the environment. Believe it or not, you can create your very own movement for your mission. By sharing your vision, you will inspire people to continue to give to your cause.

Create a campaign or slogan that your team and volunteers can use when interacting with the public. Get creative and think outside the box. What would pique someone’s curiosity about your cause?

Using a slogan in all your communication efforts also creates consistency. Creating consistency will ensure your supporters understand your mission and will get behind your cause. This will inspire them to use the slogan when they are interacting with your nonprofit.

Here are a few other ways to brand a movement:
• Create a t-shirt with your slogan printed on it. If it doesn’t state your cause directly, it       will pique the curiosity of others who see your volunteers wearing the shirt.
• Use consistent verbiage and your slogan when posting on social media.
• Create graphics that go along with your slogan.
• Encourage your team and volunteers to use your slogan when posting on social media.
• Reach out to bloggers and other media outlets to promote your movement.
• Refer to your volunteers by a name other than volunteers. An example of this could be       referring to your volunteers as Dream Makers.

People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Being a part of a movement will encourage them to continue to give their time and energy to your nonprofit.

Use Social Media to Connect with Influencers

There are countless ways to interact with your community and the world on social media. Almost everyone is accessible. You can not only interact with your community but also with leaders in any industry. Reach out to them, tweet out to them!

Building an association with leaders in your industry will show that your organization is worth the time volunteers are spending. This will also show your nonprofit is passionate about making a difference and working with other organizations to help your mission.

When an influencer promotes a certain cause on social media, it encourages more engagement. Your community will think if that influencer is involved with your cause, maybe they should be too. Volunteers will feel proud to be a part of your organization.

You don’t have to reach out to all influencers. However, make it a point to contact a few that could have a large impact for your cause. Invite them to your events. Make them feel special and appreciated. By associations your nonprofit with an influencer, your nonprofit will retain more volunteers.

Creating an environment that individuals want to be a part of will encourage their involvement with your mission. Making your cause stand out in the community will show that your team is doing something special. Volunteers want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and something they are proud of. Let that “something” be your nonprofit!

Headshotblogandrea.jpgThe preceding is guest post by Ashley Chorpenning, Marketing Communications Specialist for VolunteerHub, a cloud-based volunteer management software application that offers online event registration, email and SMS (text) messaging, report generation, and much more.

Topics: Volunteers Marketing Social Media volunteer retention Volunteer Management