Where would your association be without volunteers? Your volunteer program gets members more involved and connected with your organization and helps your association’s small staff do more to accomplish your mission.
So, how can you get more members to raise their hands to volunteer?
By Caitlin Hustrulid, Marketing Manager, Community Brands
Email can be your best friend when it comes to volunteer recruitment. It’s a simple (yet powerful!) channel for connecting with your members and driving interest in your volunteer program.
Ready to get started? Here are 4 emails that will help you get more members volunteering:
1) Volunteer interest survey 📝
To make your recruitment efforts more effective, it’s important to understand member’s needs and interests. So, start by sending your members an email with a link to a survey that asks about their interests in volunteering. (Reminder: Be sure to suppress current volunteers from this email.)
Here are some possible questions to ask:
- Are you interested in volunteering for our association?
- If so, what are your top three reasons for wanting to volunteer? (Options for answers might include: to gain new skills, to build my résumé, to make a positive impact in the industry, to meet people, and to have fun.)
- Approximately how much time do you have each month to dedicate to volunteering? (Consider offering a pick list of 3-5 ranges of time commitments.)
- What types of volunteer opportunities interest you most?
- Do you have any specific skills that you would like to bring to a volunteer opportunity?
Review your survey responses, and then consider creating or modifying volunteer opportunities to make them more appealing to members.
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2) Call for volunteers 📣
Believe it or not, according to an ASAE Foundation research study, 32% of former volunteers and 31% of non-volunteers said they don’t currently volunteer simply because no one asked them. So, be sure not to make the mistake of assuming your members will come to you if they want to volunteer – reach out to them directly.
Here are some ideas for creating a “call for volunteers” email that gets results:
- Consider your audience.
You could send one email to all of your non-volunteering members asking them to sign up for a volunteer opportunity. But think about going a step further by sending targeted emails based on member groups.For example, based on the answers to your volunteer interest survey, see if there are specific groups that might be more interested and better suited for specific volunteer opportunities and send them a special version of your email that emphasizes those specific opportunities.
- Highlight the benefits.
List some of the key benefits of volunteering for your organization – such as learning a new skill, meeting peers, and supporting your organization and the industry you serve. Be sure to mention any perks that come with volunteering, such as free or discounted event registrations.
- Link to more details.
Your email should be clear, simple, and compelling, with graphical elements that make it attractive. So, don’t try to list the details of every volunteer opportunity.Instead, mention a few types of key volunteer opportunities to let members know you have a wide variety to meet their interests and availability. Then, link to a web page that includes detailed volunteer opportunities and descriptions.
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3) Benefits spotlight ⭐️
Members who are eager to volunteer will likely sign up after your “call for volunteers” email goes out. But those who didn’t respond right away will need a nudge (or two!).
Send them another email that focuses on the benefits of volunteering. At the end, invite them to explore your volunteer opportunities by clicking through to your volunteer web page.
Some ideas for this email:
- Revisit your volunteer interest survey responses, and focus on the top reasons your members said they’re interested in volunteering.
- Let members know what types of orientation, training, and support they will get once they sign up. This can be an effective message for members who aren’t sure if they have the right skills to volunteer and for those who are looking to gain new skills and knowledge.
- Mention some specific things your volunteers help your organization achieve. For members who are wanting to give their time to help your association and your industry succeed, this information can be especially appealing.
TIP: YourMembership AMS includes a content management system with mobile-responsive layouts and an easy-to-use editor tool so you can quickly build emails, forms, and web pages that will work and look great on both desktops and mobile devices.
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4) Testimonials 🗣️
For members who still have not signed up to volunteer, consider sending one more email that focuses on testimonials from members who have previously volunteered or are currently volunteering. This approach underscores the positive experience members have when they volunteer, and also can appeal to members’ sense of not wanting to miss out.
TIP: This email is a great chance to include a brief message that acknowledges your organization’s appreciation and gratitude for volunteers.
Here are some things to consider including in this email:
- Quotes from volunteers about how they’ve benefitted from volunteering.
- Volunteer quotes about the overall volunteer experience, including onboarding, training, and support.
- Link(s) to videos from volunteers offering their testimonials about their volunteer experience.
TIP: Share your volunteer quotes and videos in your online member community to help drive more interest in volunteering. If you don’t already have an online community, YourMembership AMS includes functionality that makes it easy to build one.
Get more volunteers today! Your volunteer program is too important to leave to chance. Discover more ways to get more members volunteering for your organization: Read The Small Association’s Guide to Developing a High-Performing Volunteer Program.