Guest post by Abby Jarvis
Your nonprofit’s volunteers are likely using Facebook to connect with each other, their favorite companies, and their favorite brands and nonprofits.
Are you one of their favorite nonprofits? Do you want to be?
Let’s look at four tactics for engaging with your volunteers on Facebook.
1. Recruit More Volunteers.
Facebook is an excellent way to engage with and recruit more volunteers. If you have a strong presence on Facebook (i.e., you post regularly, interact with followers, and have a good mix of status updates, pictures, and videos), this is relatively simple.
- Continue reaching out to volunteers by answering any questions or comments they post on your statuses, photos, videos, or other content.
- Keep sharing great content.
- Give people ways to find your Facebook page on your website and within your emails.
If you don’t have a strong Facebook presence, you should:
- Start with those in your organization. Encourage your entire nonprofit to like and interact with your Facebook page.
- Ask your current supporters to join in. If your current volunteers are liking and commenting on your posts, it’ll be easier for you to connect with their networks.
- Post content regularly. Post statuses, pictures, and videos on a consistent basis. Respond to your followers’ comments, questions, and messages promptly.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to recruit more volunteers via Facebook.
Well, individuals might start asking to volunteer simply because you’ve raised awareness on Facebook.
But, they might not know about volunteering opportunities unless you tell them. Next time you host a volunteering event, post a few Facebook statuses in the weeks leading up to the big day.
By growing your network on Facebook, you automatically have a larger pool of potential volunteers to pull from. Once you’ve virtually connected with those donors, post volunteer opportunities right to Facebook.
By maintaining a strong Facebook presence and reaching out to your existing supporters via social media, you’ll be able to expand your network and potentially recruit more volunteers.
2. Make Donation Appeals…
…But not all the time!
Yes, your volunteers are already giving you time and energy.
But research shows that if someone supports your organization, they are likely to support it in multiple ways. In fact, two thirds of volunteers also donate money to the same organizations they donate time to. But in order to get a donation, you have to ask!
As a general rule, Facebook should mostly be an avenue for relationship-building and conversations with your supporters.
Appeals should be made only occasionally, and it’s important to time them well when you do make them.
Scheduling donation appeals during peak giving times can be a good way to convert some of your volunteers into donors.
Special events like #GivingTuesday aren’t necessarily volunteer-oriented, though.
VolunteerMatch and #GivingTuesday have recently partnered up to encourage “Giving Time” as an alternative to monetary donations.
Times like these can be opportune moments to ask for donations on Facebook. Additionally, the end of the year is prime time for donation appeals. Many people are in more charitable moods and have better grips on their financial situations.
Some of your volunteers might not want to give monetarily, but it doesn’t hurt to make a donation appeal on Facebook every so often (tip: don’t make your appeals any more frequent than once a week).
3. Highlight Your Volunteers.
Nearly everyone enjoys being the star of the show from time to time. Even your most selfless volunteers might like being publicly recognized for their work.
Facebook is the perfect platform for thanking your volunteers.
If one of your advocates did a great job getting signatures for a petition, for example, highlight her on your Facebook wall. Not only will it encourage her and show her that you care about her passion, it will also show others that you value your volunteers and inspire them to get involved.
You can even make a weekly or monthly post highlighting your supporters!
Your followers will appreciate the consistency, and it’ll motivate them to try to get the Facebook equivalent of “Volunteer of the Week.”
Tip: Make sure you get permission from your volunteers before you post pictures of them on social media (especially if there are kids in the images!).
4. Encourage Volunteers to Share their Experiences
If you want to potentially recruit more volunteers and get feedback from your existing supporters, encourage volunteers to share their experiences on Facebook!
During your follow-up after a volunteer day, ask supporters to post statuses, pictures, and videos (when applicable), to their own Facebook walls, tagging any other volunteers they met during the day.
If they had a positive experience, it serves as a great online review of your organization’s volunteer program.
If not, then your nonprofit can take that feedback and use it to improve your volunteers’ experiences with your organization.
Encourage your supporters to share their encounters with your nonprofit as a way to further engage with them!
Facebook can be an excellent tool for nonprofits to engage their volunteers. If you already have a substantial following on Facebook, use it to your advantage! If not, now’s a great time to start building up your social media presence.
About the author:
Abby Jarvis is a blogger, marketer, and communications coordinator for Qgiv, an online fundraising service provider. Qgiv offers industry-leading online giving and peer to peer fundraising tools for nonprofit, faith-based, and political organizations of all sizes. When she’s not working at Qgiv, Abby can usually be found writing for local magazines, catching up on her favorite blogs, or binge-watching sci-fi shows on Netflix.