Tip of the Month: Use Keywords to Make Volunteer Opportunities Easier to Find Online

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Make it easier for volunteers to find your listings.
Make it easier for volunteers to find your listings.

This month we’re going to discuss something every nonprofit can use: free marketing.

Yes, you read that correctly: free marketing. I’ll even up the ante: free online marketing.

Allow me to explain.

Nowadays, most professional interaction takes place online. Sending an email is the modern day equivalent of hanging a flyer or making a phone call. So the Internet is an invaluable recruitment tool for nonprofits. This month we’ll focus on using the VolunteerMatch keyword tool as a means to connect with more volunteers online – all free of charge.

The posting process on VolunteerMatch is broken down into six steps (who, what, when, where, etc.) The keyword tool is found in step one – otherwise known as the ‘What’ step. After entering a title and a brief description you’ll see a box labeled ‘Keywords’.

Enter keywords in the "What" step

In this context a keyword is any synonym for a key term in your listing, or any descriptive words that weren’t included in your title or description. Think about it this way: If you’re recruiting a volunteer ‘algebra tutor‘ you might use keywords such as: teacher, teach, learn, math or kids.

Add keywords to your listings to make them more discoverable

The most common types of searches performed on VolunteerMatch are keyword searches. Volunteers enter a location and a word or phrase that describes the work they want to do. Search results are filtered by relevance or by opportunities containing the same keywords. This means opportunities containing keywords show up more frequently in search results. And more relevant opportunities are displayed at the top of list.

But it doesn’t stop there…

Using keywords doesn’t just make opportunities more searchable on VolunteerMatch. It also makes opportunities more searchable on the Internet. Search engines use similar systems for generating results: The most relevant matches are shown first. Therefore, opportunities containing keywords are more likely to get picked up by larger search engines.

This means using the keyword tool allows you to extend recruitment efforts beyond the scope of VolunteerMatch. Simply put, using keywords ensures your opportunities are reaching the largest audience possible with minimal effort. And the best part: It’s totally free!

So what have you got to lose? Start using keywords to recruit more volunteers today!