Over the past two years, organizations and volunteer managers have had to make numerous adjustments to their programs to continue operating in a predominantly virtual world. Now that our adjusted program models have taken form, it is time to explore the world of virtual volunteer recruitment. Below are some strategies for developing a virtual volunteer recruitment plan:
Determine which parts of your program can be conducted virtually.
Before we talk about recruitment, we need to brainstorm ways to utilize volunteers in a virtual environment. Once we have had an opportunity to assess which components we can continue in a virtual model and which will continue in person, we should then map out what virtual volunteer positions we will need and the level of support required to ensure success.
Identify the different volunteer roles you will need for virtual programming.
Once we know what areas of our program will continue virtually and the volunteer roles we need to fill, we can begin to develop volunteer position descriptions for the roles we need. Again, it is essential to include any virtual volunteer responsibilities, technology requirements, and steps to becoming a virtual volunteer within these new descriptions.
Develop and revise websites, newsletters, and social media content to recruit, onboard, and train online.
Before you prepare to recruit virtually, you should set up systems that allow your volunteer to apply and onboard online. The volunteer landing page on your program's website can be a beneficial tool in helping you recruit volunteers. You can use it to create a volunteer "hub" where volunteers can obtain critical volunteer information, as well as access important links, such as an electronic volunteer enrollment form, required training, volunteer events, or other information that is relevant to them. When designing your volunteer information page, explain how volunteers are critical to your program, any volunteering benefits, and include a call to action. Of course, not all volunteers who visit your page will be ready to volunteer, so for those volunteers who need a little more information before they decide to serve, you should have a way to still capture contact information from them. This could be a way to sign up for additional information or participate in a virtual interest session.
Create virtual volunteer communication channels
Communication is a critical component of volunteer retention, and it is crucial to find a way to continue to communicate with your volunteers in a virtual world, whether they are serving right now or in the future. In addition, communication should be two-way. Many communication tools are available to volunteer managers, including messaging apps like GroupMe, e-newsletters, surveys, message boards, and virtual volunteer chats. For more ideas on virtual communication tools, contact Meggan Franks, Volunteer & Leadership Development Specialist.
Resources for virtual volunteer recruitment: