Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Attracting Volunteers With Facebook

It's hard to come up with more than a few people in our lives who aren't using Facebook.  Even if you don't use it much for personal reasons, you probably use it to attract people to your nonprofit's website and to engage supporters.  But did you know it's also a good way to attract new volunteers?

If you aren't using Facebook to bring volunteers to your organization, you are missing out on a key recruitment tool.  So how do you do it?  Let's just say it's a little more complicated than posting a status update that reads "We need volunteers."  Here are five ways to effectively use Facebook as a volunteer recruitment tool:

  • First of all, you need to make sure the people you want to reach are even using Facebook.  The site usually attracts a younger audience so if that's not the demographic you want, then it probably doesn't make sense to use it extensively.
  • Think about the kind of posts that will attract volunteers.  Avoid direct appeals in favor of photos, videos, or recaps of past volunteer events.  These serve a dual purpose: They recognize past workers while showing potential volunteers what they can expect if they work for you.
  • Make sure you're attracting the right people—if there's a minimum age or some other qualification, make that clear in your posts.
  • Offer a diverse array of volunteer opportunities, and make sure to have rock-solid practices for training your volunteers.  In short, prepare your organization for volunteers as best you can—and then begin recruiting on Facebook.
  • Maintain good general Facebook practices, and make sure all the other groundwork -- from your organization’s main website to volunteer management guidelines and processes to a policy for Facebook commenting -- is in place.
Now that you have these best practices in mind, you are ready to start posting.  Let us know your experiences with using Facebook as a recruitment tool in the comments section.

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