How to Engage Job-Seekers as Volunteers

How to Engage Job-Seekers as VolunteersIn today’s economy, one might expect volunteering rates to shoot up as employment rates remain shaky.

While this isn’t the case, there’s still a lot of opportunity for nonprofit organizations like yours to engage people currently searching for jobs.

Why Engage Job-Seekers?

Excellent question. Folks looking for employment are going to be driven. They are focused on their goal, which means if they choose to spend time with you, they really care about you and your cause. They often have valuable skills to bring to the table, and even though their commitment might dwindle after they find a job, you can keep them connected via newsletter, one-day events and donation opportunities until they find more time to give again. Bottom line: You want to build a long-term relationship with these people, so you’d better start now.

Focus on Skills

Target people with specific skills who might want to polish them while they job search, or who might be looking to build new skills to make themselves more marketable. For ideas, check out the skills taxonomy in our Listing Wizard.

Be Clear About Expectations and Commitment

Looking for a job can often be as time-consuming as a full-time job itself. So make sure to lay out time commitment expectations, as well as the exact work to be done, from the very beginning. That way you only involve people who know the score from the beginning, and you can both feel good about the connection. This is important content to put in the position description on VolunteerMatch.

Provide Recommendations and Networking

There’s no rule that says volunteering can’t benefit the volunteer. In fact, it should help volunteers, beyond making them feel good about their impact. Acting as a referral for your excellent volunteers, and introducing them to people who might be beneficial in their job searches, are great ways to show your appreciation and ensure they stay engaged long after they land their dream jobs.

Offer Leadership Opportunities

Finally, even if you can’t actually hire your favorite volunteers, design ways for them to take on larger roles within the organization as they become qualified. This looks great on their resumes, and makes your volunteer program that much more dynamic. Not sure what sorts of leadership roles your volunteers would want? Ask them!

Head to VolunteerMatch now to post volunteer opportunities that will attract passionate job seekers to your organization!

Nonprofit Tip of the Month: Put Your Best Face Forward by Keeping Your Organization Profile Up-To-Date

Put Your Best Face Forward by Keeping Your VolunteerMatch Organization Profile Up-To-DateOne of the benefits of listing your organization and volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch is the search engine optimization. When people search for your organization on Google or another search engine, your VolunteerMatch account is likely to pop up close to the top of the search results.

That means that even if you don’t have any active volunteer opportunities listed, it’s likely that people will still see your VolunteerMatch profile and whatever information you (or a previous member of your organization) posted there. Your profile can also be found through our organization search page, and the opportunity search if you do have active listings. Thousands of volunteers visit our site each week, so people are looking!

This is free exposure for your organization and mission; take full advantage of it by keeping your information current and compelling. Spend just a few minutes reviewing your account to avoid looking outdated, or worse, out of business! A concise, informative, and grammatically correct profile can make all the difference in helping paint the picture of a legitimate, well-organized operation. Take a look at ours for inspiration!

Take a look at the VolunteerMatch organization profile.

Here are some elements to make sure you have in your profile:

  • Clear mission statement – If you don’t have one, use this space to share your goals, and what your organization or group aims to achieve.
  • Concise, informative description of your organization and the services or events you provide. What do you do? How do you do it?
  • Current contact person and contact information.
  • Link to your website, if you have one.
  • Interest areas/categories (e.g. Hunger, Education & Literacy, Animals).
  • A fun, engaging photo.
  • Reviews! You can ask any current or previous volunteers to write a review of their experiences volunteering for your organization. This really helps the profile stand out.

To edit your organization’s information, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your account at www.volunteermatch.org/post/login.jsp and access your organization dashboard.
  2. Under ‘Manage Organization’ in your side menu, click ‘Edit Organization Profile.’ This form allows you to edit your organization’s information including name, address, phone, fax, website URL, mission, description, contact title and name, and categories.
  3. Edit the desired information and click on ‘Continue’ at the bottom of the page – this will save your changes!

To add a photo to your organization profile, follow these steps:

  1. Under ‘Manage Organization’ in your side menu, click ‘Photo Manager’ – this is where you can upload up to 5 photos for your account to use on your profile and listings (or 20 photos if you’re a Community Leader!)
  2. On the bottom right of the next page, click ‘Select an organization photo’.
  3. Add a new photo from your computer, and enter a title and caption.
  4. Click ‘Save’!

Cleaning up this corner of your web presence can help you make a good impression on potential volunteers and supporters. It will only take you a few minutes, and a lot of people will see it! So get started right now!

Helping You Connect with Volunteers Who Want to Make a Bigger Impact in Social Service

Does your organization work for the causes of families, child welfare, healthcare, mental health, or crisis support? Are you looking for volunteers who are passionate about helping in these areas?

Helping Nonprofits Connect with Volunteers Who Want to Make a Bigger Impact in Social Service

Yeah, we thought so. We think you’ll love a new partnership we’ve cooked up with the folks at the MSW@USC. We’re really excited about it!

You may have heard about this online Masters in Social Work degree program in previous emails, newsletters and blog posts from us, but this new partnership is different: It’s a way to connect more volunteers with organizations like yours, to make a bigger impact in social services. We’ve even got a cool new Volunteering & Social Work page for you to explore and share with your supporters!

New partnership between VolunteerMatch and USC School of Social Work helps nonprofits connect with volunteers who want to make an impact in social service.

Check out the interactive map that includes volunteering needs and opportunities across the U.S. and in your own community, or view an infographic showcasing some fun facts about how much people volunteer, where and why. You can also access information about how your volunteers can expand their passion for helping others into an actual career.

We hope this partnership with the USC School of Social Work will help you connect with passionate, talented volunteers to help your cause and make your community even stronger.

Check out the new page now, and share it with your supporters!

How to Design Volunteer Opportunities for Physical Fitness and Health Nuts

How to design volunteer opportunities for physical fitness and health nutsPeople who are active in other aspects of their lives are often active in their communities, as well. They tend to be dedicated, committed, and eager to involve others in what they’re doing. So naturally, they’d make great volunteers!

Here are tips to design volunteer opportunities to get people who are into exercise and being healthy “into” your nonprofit:

Focus on the Movement

Think creatively about what your organization needs help with, and how that could be portrayed to seem like a fun, active opportunity. A beach clean-up can certainly provide some exercise, for example. Helping to set up or volunteer for a charity run is another great way to involve health nuts. Chances are there’s some way to express you volunteer opportunity to highlight the moving parts, so to speak.

Treat Them Liked Skilled Volunteers

…Because they are. Recruit someone to lead a yoga class at your shelter. To teach students about nutrition. To put together information packets about healthy living. These folks have skills and experience that could provide added value for your community in ways you’ve never even considered.

Make It a Group Thing

People who are health conscious and active are often also very social. Make sure your active opportunities are group-friendly, and encourage people to bring friends and family. What’s better than volunteering with your friends on the weekend AND spending time being active outside? Win-win-win.

Head to VolunteerMatch now to post volunteer opportunities that appeal to physical fitness and health nuts!

(Photo by Dave Rosenblum on Flickr.)

Are You One of the 3,000?

No, we’re not talking about the much-desired second sequel to the movie “300.” Even we aren’t that ambitious. Instead, we’re referring to the 3,000 connections made every single day on VolunteerMatch.org between nonprofits and volunteers.

Every day on VolunteerMatch.org, about 3,000 connections are made between nonprofits and volunteers.

As the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network, this is just what we DO. We make it easier for your nonprofit organization to find the volunteers you actually need. We’ve got all sorts of awesome free tools.

So are you one of the 3,000? If not, get right on it. It takes about 5 minutes – another happy number – and your organization’s needs will be seen by millions of skilled, dedicated volunteers. So all-in-all, it’s kind of a no-brainer.

Start recruiting volunteers with VolunteerMatch now.