Using Social Media to Recruit Volunteers – Part 3

Turning Followers into Volunteers

“OK thanks for the social media tips, but how would a social media presence help my organization recruit volunteers?”

Social Media is just another tool in your toolkit. And it’s a very powerful one because studies have shown time and time again, word-of-mouth is the most effective way to attract new volunteers.

Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter make it easy for your supporters to share information about your organization with a greater number of people. The average number of friends for a Facebook user is 120, according to the Economist. If only a quarter of those friends read a post about your org, 30 is a larger number of impressions that traditional word-of-mouth (AKA in-person interaction) would garner. Someone would have to be pretty psyched to repeat the same story to 30 people but it happens every day online.

Thus, it is important that you engage your current supporters via social media because it 1) enables your supporters share your messaging with their friends, and 2) gives potential supporters a low risk way to get know your organization.

Recruiting volunteers via social media relies on the same techniques volunteer coordinators have used for years.

  • Make a clear request for help. Set appropriate expectations up front by stating what the volunteer would do, how it supports your mission, and what the time commitment is.
  • Target specific types of volunteers you want (students or working professionals, etc.) and craft messages that will appeal to them.
  • Explain the benefits of volunteering with your organization. Volunteers can benefit from service by developing new skills, meeting new people, expanding their professional network, and exploring new hobbies/career paths.

Last but not least, be sure to ask for help in 20% or less of your posts. It wouldn’t be fun to have a conversation with someone who only talks about himself; and it would be worse if he spent the whole time asking for help! Be sure to engage people in other topics related to your mission.