If you have struggled to engage enough volunteers to sustain your mission, it may be time to refresh your technology. More and more, volunteers use the web to research and find opportunities to serve. Unfortunately, many causes have not upgraded their digital online communications to keep pace.
A simple, but effective, way to boost your volunteer recruitment results is to improve how you feature volunteer opportunities on your website, specifically by creating a focused landing page devoted entirely to attracting new volunteers.
In traditional internet marketing, a landing page is a stand-alone web page that doesn’t contain navigation tabs or links to other pages on your website. Marketers drive traffic to these pages through links placed in paid ads, emails, and social media links.
Unless you are mounting a comprehensive recruitment campaign with a robust marketing support, an integrated web page that includes links to your website may be a better option. That way, traffic that comes to your general site can always reach you (as long as there are clear links, tabs, or buttons on your homepage, etc.). Regardless of what option you choose, the best practices for designing a landing page that converts “visitors” to “doers” are the same.
Here are five tips for designing a volunteer-friendly recruitment landing page that is more likely to convert potential supporters into active volunteers.
1. Choose a Focused, Target Keyword for Your Web Page
Organic internet searches are king so make sure your web page ranks on the first page of Google. This means strategically focusing on a keyword that describes your volunteer opportunities in a general way. If you are a local organization, it also helps to feature your locale—for example, “youth volunteer opportunities fairfax va” or “animal rights volunteer atlanta.” To choose the best keyword, brainstorm a list of possible candidates and work with your webmaster to identify search terms with the highest monthly volume. Also, take steps to optimize your web page by including the keyword in headlines, image tags, and the webpage search snippet—learn more about these here.
2. Make Your Call to Action Stand Out
Place a call to action button with text above that describes what action you want a prospective volunteer to take (e.g., a Volunteer Now! button that links to a volunteer application). This button needs to be big, bright, and “above the fold” so that visitors don’t miss it or need to scroll to reach it.
3. Keep it Simple and Link to Deeper Information
Don’t make the mistake of packing your landing page with too much detail. People won’t read it anyway. Use upbeat language to describe the differences volunteers make and what they can expect from their experience. Save the list of volunteer screening requirements for a downloadable fact sheet or info kit or include them at the top of your volunteer application form. If you have multiple opportunities, include a bulleted list of them and link each one to a sub-page with more info (e.g., a volunteer position description). Include your call to action button on each of these pages as well.
4. Build Trust Through Testimonials
Quotes from current volunteers and those who are impacted positively by their work are powerful ways to demonstrate social proof for volunteering. Feature three to five on your volunteer recruitment landing page. If you are linking to subpages for specific volunteer roles, you can also feature one to two on those pages as well, as long as they directly relate to that volunteer role. If you hope to diversify your current volunteer corps, be sure to feature volunteers or other community supporters from diverse communities to endorse your organization and its volunteer opportunities.
5. Use Images and Video to Add Interest
Help volunteers imagine how it might feel emotionally to volunteer through words and images. Close-up photos of smiling volunteers and videos of enthusiastic teams talking about their work and welcoming others go a long way toward reducing and subconscious fears or resistance toward making the commitment. Keep these simple—it’s not the detail that matters, it’s the gut feeling they evoke that is important.
Once you have posted your new volunteer recruitment landing page, work with your webmaster to track the number of monthly visitors, how they found you, and whether or not they clicked on your call to action button. Once you have established a starting benchmark, you can begin to test and tweak to see if you can improve your traffic and conversions.
With a little time and creative effort, you can quickly expand the awareness of your volunteer opportunities and the number of potential volunteers you attract. Consider doing this work with a team of volunteers who can give you honest feedback on your progress and make suggestions from their unique perspective. It will be more fun than working alone, and the results will have more impact.
Tobi Johnson, MA, CVA is an internationally recognized trainer, author, speaker, and expert in volunteer engagement. She is the President and founder of VolunteerPro, an online learning and networking community for leaders of volunteers and Tobi Johnson & Associates, a consultancy that helps organizations build capacity and strengthen their volunteer strategy.