Articles

Give your volunteers opportunities to keep supporting your mission

BY Dawn Sword
21 Mar 2020

Now’s the perfect time to embrace your volunteers and keep them engaged with virtual volunteer tasks, advocacy and networking.

Volunteers are an incredibly valuable yet often overlooked resource for your organization. This is a very special group of individuals who are with you because they believe in your work and want to help you succeed. If you encourage them, they’ll often promote your mission to their friends and expand your base of supporters. Gold, right? Don’t let them drift off!

With all the current upheaval due to covid-19, in-person volunteer opportunities have evaporated. Feelings of isolation are common given social distancing requirements. Now’s the perfect time to embrace your volunteers and keep them engaged with virtual volunteer tasks, advocacy and networking.

Our suggestions:

  • Don’t be silent! Stay connected and keep building community 
  • Let volunteers know specific ways they can still help you
  • Keep tasks specific, bite-sized and approachable
  • Communicate virtual volunteering requests regularly via email and social 
  • Create an occasional social media post for one specific task to catch people’s attention, then include a link to learn more about this and other volunteer tasks
  • Add a page on your website that lists current virtual volunteer requests and keep it updated (itself a potential volunteer task!)
  • Post your volunteer requests on idealist.org, catchafire.org, volunteermatch.org, serve.gov, and other volunteer sites.

Remember, your volunteers do want to help! Show them how.

Think about sending out a weekly email and social / website posts with virtual volunteer requests such as:

  • posting your social media campaign(s) to their accounts to spread the word to their personal networks. (We’d be happy to help you create a mini-toolkit with campaign graphics and post content suggestions. Just ask!)
  • monitoring legislation and preparing action alerts or petitions for advocacy
  • help managing other volunteers
  • research, writing, editing and translation for proposals, outreach materials and press releases
  • adding or updating content on your website or social media accounts
  • data entry or processing intake requests
  • creating and promoting an Amazon wish list
  • organizing a phone pal / phone bank program to check in on vulnerable people you serve
  • organizing a greeting card or grocery gift card drive to send to vulnerable people you serve
  • hosting a virtual happy hour with their friends including information about your mission and perhaps a donation ask
  • creating educational or promotional videos about your work

Be creative about filling your gaps. Your volunteers may have ideas, too. We’re in this together!

photo credit: Jon Tyson via Unsplash