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How to Advertise to Volunteers

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With U.S. volunteerism declining over the past few years, recruitment has become more challenging. Public sector organizations must be more creative and organized to find, attract, and retain people willing to lend time and expertise to support their mission.

But there are many ways to find the right candidates to grow your volunteer program. The first step? Advertise your volunteer opportunities successfully!


How to Advertise Volunteer Opportunities

Advertising volunteer opportunities is a multi-step process similar to advertising full and part-time employment positions.

First, you'll want to craft a volunteer job description that details this information:

  • Activities the volunteer will perform
  • Volunteer skills required
  • Volunteer time commitment expected

Make sure to include any benefits or incentives as well. While you won't be paying your volunteers, if there are any tokens of appreciation you're offering, like branded apparel, make sure you include that in your description.

Next, you'll need to consider who you're looking to recruit to help you determine where you'll advertise.

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Start with the qualifications you're looking for. Are you seeking volunteers with special skills, credentials, or experiences? If you are, you'll likely place some of your volunteer advertisements in specialized publications that people with those qualifications will most likely read.

Whether you are seeking CPAs to help you with your books or any available body to help you stuff envelopes, you'll also need to consider where you're seeking to recruit volunteers from.

Consider the nature of the work. Can it be done virtually? Or must it be done onsite? If you're looking for people to volunteer onsite, you'll want to concentrate your advertising efforts on local publications. If the work can be done virtually, you can broaden the scope of where you advertise.

However, even so, it's good practice to recruit volunteers from your region. Even if volunteers perform the work virtually, managing volunteers within a reasonable distance from your headquarters is easier. Further, those living within your nonprofit's region may be easier to onboard, as they may better understand your service areas' customs and challenges.

If they can occasionally come to the office, you can hold volunteer parties and other events that recognize their efforts and help foster a sense of community, increasing the chances they'll keep volunteering.

By narrowing your volunteer recruitment area to your surrounding community, you can ensure you're not spreading your advertising dollars too thin.

Also, think about who might make a good fit for your organization. Consider age, temperament, physical ability, and other attributes that may impact a prospective volunteer's effectiveness. These attributes may also influence where you choose to hire.

Use these insights to develop places to advertise. Based on your insights about your prospective volunteers, you may want to consider distributing flyers at:

  • Houses of worship
  • Grocery stores
  • Elected official's offices
  • Laundromats
  • Barbershops
  • Youth and senior centers
  • Schools and colleges
  • Offices of civic and cultural organizations
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Other ideas may include radio PSAs, employing volunteer ambassadors, and making announcements at networking and community events. These are just some ways to use free and paid media to advertise volunteer opportunities. And you can find plenty of volunteer advertisement examples online that you can tailor to your nonprofit.

You'll also want to advertise online. And whether you're trying to recruit volunteers solely from your local neighborhood or from a broader area, your online efforts should include a combination of paid search and social media advertising for nonprofits.

What You Need to Know About Online Volunteer Ads

Advertising online can seem daunting, especially if you're unfamiliar with paid media for nonprofits. However, once you get past some of the jargon, you'll find that advertising online can be a relatively straightforward and effective way to land prospective volunteers.

Let's start with search advertising, which is a great way to ensure your volunteer advertisements are on Google, Bing, and other search engine results pages. These search engines allow you to craft short text ads that can drive volunteers to your volunteer advertisement on your website.

Your ads will appear when people search for certain keywords or phrases. And when you set up your account, you'll supply the keywords or phrases you'd like your ad to appear when people search for those terms.

For example, say you're a local community theater seeking volunteers to help make fundraising calls. You're seeking local individuals interested in theater and volunteering so you may provide related search terms and your location. When community residents search for those terms, your ad will be displayed alongside the search results.

Search engines like Google offer advertising services using what's called a PPC (pay-per-click) model. You pay only when someone clicks on one of your ads. Different keywords and phrases will cost different amounts based on how popular they are among all advertisers and searchers.

When you get started, you'll provide a credit card and authorize a maximum amount of spending you're comfortable with each month. And Google will display your ad until your cost per click (CPC) meets that budget threshold. With just $30 to $50 a month and the PPC model, you'd be surprised at how many volunteers you may attract.

One of the great things about this approach is that it allows you to see in real-time how much you're paying per click (cost per click). To lower your cost per click but still receive the same or greater number of clicks per month, you can tweak the keywords and phrases you use, experimenting with more precise and less expensive combinations.

Regarding social media advertising for nonprofits, there are two approaches to consider. You can pay for promoted posts, which boosts the reach of posts you publish on platforms like Facebook. Or you can craft display ads - digital ads appearing in people's newsfeeds. In both cases, you'll provide the social media company with certain parameters that will help them determine where to display your ads.

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Getting Started with Volunteer Ads

Social media and search engine ads can be tremendously effective and inexpensive ways to recruit volunteers. And volunteer advertisements on Google can have a tremendous return on investment. But they can also be a bit complicated, especially when starting. They also require some time to manage. You can set up search terms and let your ads run for the month.

However, you may find that your volunteer ad budget runs out quickly because you've chosen expensive search terms. Or you may not get any clicks because people aren't searching for the terms you've chosen. In either case, you'll need to monitor your progress and make real-time adjustments - something you may not have time to do while running a nonprofit.

Many nonprofits can benefit from volunteer management platforms that provide online recruiting, onboarding, and time-tracking tools.

Get Connected offers nonprofits like yours these kinds of tools and more. From volunteer advertisement templates to volunteer advertisement examples, Get Connected can simplify your volunteer management and online advertising and save you time and money.

Connect with us to schedule a free demo today.

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