3 ways to recruit and engage more volunteers for your small association

Volunteers can be a big help for small associations.

Here are three approaches and some helpful tips to get more members volunteering.

Michelle Schweitz, YourMembership Marketing Manager

By Michelle Schweitz, Marketing Manager, Community Brands

With a small staff, volunteers can be a big help to your association. Encouraging your members to volunteer (and continue to volunteer) not only helps your organization, it also gets members more involved and connected with your association long term.

So what can you do to engage recruit and engage more volunteers?

Here are three effective approaches:

1. Promote your volunteer opportunities.
It might seem obvious that you need to advertise volunteer opportunities to get members to sign up, but there’s a whole world of untapped volunteer potential out there. According to ASAE Foundation research, 70 percent of members have never volunteered. Promote your volunteer opportunities so you can get more members more involved. Some tips:

  • Get the word out – Think about the channels you use to recruit and engage with your members: your website, online member community, emails, newsletter, and social media. Use these same channels to promote your volunteer opportunities and highlight the work of some of your top volunteers.
  • Ask! – According to the same ASAE Foundation research mentioned previously, thirty-two percent of former volunteers and 31 percent of non-volunteers said they don’t currently volunteer simply because no one asked them to. Reach out directly to members via email and your online community to let them know what needs you have and ask them to help.
  • Highlight virtual volunteer opportunities – You might think about volunteer opportunities as only in-person activities, but there are multiple ways your members can volunteer in today’s virtual world. This might include helping to produce virtual events, create content, and engaging other members online. It also might include micro-volunteering opportunities – or small, bite-sized volunteer opportunities that take only a few minutes or a few hours to complete – which allow members to help when they have time. Be sure to let members know about these opportunities for them to lend a hand when and how it’s convenient for them.

TIP: With YourMembership association management software, you can recruit volunteers via your website, emails, and online community, plus track who has volunteered for what opportunities and for how many hours.

2. Put your online community to work.

Your online member community is a powerful tool for recruiting and engaging volunteers. Here are some ideas:

  • Highlight volunteer opportunities in the news section of your online community. Include a link to an online form to make it easy for members to sign up.
  • Create discussion groups in your online community focused on specific volunteer opportunities. This allows volunteers to collaborate, ask questions, and answer each other’s questions.
  • Post feedback surveys in each volunteer discussion group to give you insights on how to improve each volunteer opportunity and your overall volunteer program.

3. Give volunteers the tools and knowledge to succeed.

Volunteers will be more likely to thrive and continue to volunteer if they feel clear and confident while performing their tasks. A few tips:

  • Offer new-volunteer orientation – Make sure new volunteers understand how your association is organized and what expectations and resources are in place for their specific volunteer roles.

TIP: With YourMembership association management software, you can make new volunteers feel more welcome by automatically pairing them with a volunteer member ambassador through your online community.

  • Provide training for veteran volunteers – Your volunteer committee members and leaders may be in roles that have nothing to do with their day-to-day work. Offer them training on items such as public speaking, technical writing, social media, office technology, or other areas in which they might need help.
  • Provide support – Check in with volunteers regularly to ask about any concerns they may have, provide guidance, and offer the tools they need to be successful.

Learn more

Get more helpful ideas tips on how to recruit and engage more volunteers:
Wach the on-demand webinar, How to Make an Impact with a Virtual Volunteer Program.

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