Nonprofit Tip of the Month: How to Make the Most of MLK Day

How Does Your Organization Engage MLK Day Volunteers?

This month we’re gearing up for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national day of service that mobilizes volunteers across the country in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King. Last year more than 100,000 volunteers participated. For this month’s tip we’ll discuss how to leverage your VolunteerMatch account to engage MLK Day volunteers.  I’ll tell you how recruit them and how to keep them involved throughout the year. Let’s get started!

Post New Material

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: Posting new material is a great way to engage volunteers. Create an opportunity and incorporate MLK Day into the title and description. Ask co-workers to help you identify new volunteer roles within your organization. Or re-work existing opportunities. When sorted by ‘Date Posted’ new opportunities appear higher in search results.

Add Keywords

Many volunteers will perform keyword searches on VolunteerMatch using terms related to MLK Day. To ensure your listing shows up in search results, include strategic words and phrases (e.g. ‘MLK’,’MLK Day’, ‘Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’). Volunteer opportunities containing relevant keywords are promoted on VolunteerMatch on a special page. For directions on how to add keywords, click here.

Follow Up!

Assume that MLK Day volunteers will be as proactive as possible; inquiring about multiple opportunities at once. If you are listed as the primary contact for an opportunity, follow up quickly when you receive a connection notification. Volunteers are more likely to work with the first organization they hear back from.

Keep In Touch

If a volunteer doesn’t work out don’t be afraid to follow up. Volunteer contact information is automatically stored in your account. Send email subscription requests for your newsletter. When a new opportunity becomes available announce it via email. Just because a volunteer doesn’t work out the first time doesn’t mean they can’t participate in the future.

These are just a few of my favorite ways to engage volunteers on MLK Day. Do you have tips of your own? I’d love to hear from you! Share them in the comments below.