Guest post by Julie Ellman, Connect360 Multimedia
Every year on Mother’s Day, we honor mothers, grandmothers, and other important women in our lives with special dinners, gifts, and “thank you’s.” However, there is a gift that doesn’t cost anything and will keep giving back far beyond Mother’s Day (hint: it can be found within your organization). Volunteering with mom or other family members is a great way to give back to one’s community while offering a unique way for families to spend meaningful time together.
Here are a few ideas about how nonprofits and volunteer managers can create an engaging and memorable volunteer experience for moms and their families. We’ll also discuss ways to promote your newly crafted opportunity to your community of volunteers this Mother’s Day and beyond.
Take Note from Your Peers
Find inspiration from organizations who have already constructed impactful and successful Mother’s Day experiences. The GOOD+ Foundation provides families in need with essential gear, items, and services for children 0 to 14. They’re complementing their mission with a call for family volunteers to help with an inaugural baby show in Anaheim, California.
Meanwhile, Healing Hearts of Families USA Ministries, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia is seeking volunteer drivers to give rides to incarcerated black women so they can spend Mother’s Day at home with their families. Regardless of your mission, you can find a way to participate. Susan G Komen in Chicago, Illinois and Gilda’s Club in Louisville, Kentucky, for example, are kicking off Mother’s Day celebrations by hosting 5Ks that benefit their respective causes.
Engage the Popular Crowd
After you’ve decided on a Mother’s Day volunteer initiative, it’s time to share it with the world! Start by posting your volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch.org, where 15 million potential volunteers visit each year.
As for social media, Facebook is, by far, the most popular channel for engagement. Volunteer managers can virtually reach almost all age groups through this platform. According to PEW Research Center, 79% of internet users — and 68% of all U.S. adults — use Facebook.
Enlist the support of your current advocates to invite additional moms and families to volunteer with them. Determine who your audience is first, then connect them with the “right” messaging in order to generate success for your mission. One way to do so is to build a plan that resonates with your volunteer profile. If your organization’s mission centers around the Hispanic American community, for instance, tailor your volunteer opportunity and marketing strategy or PR campaign to one that appeals to them. If you’re unsure on how to get started, turn to the experts at Connect360 Multimedia for help.
Create event template posts for your Mother’s Day initiative using free programs, like Canva, which is helpful in designing powerful graphics that capture followers’ attentions. Then, maximize your Facebook post’s coverage by executing a demographic/geographic ad campaign that reaches your target constituents (try it out first with a few dollars).
Be More Social
While Facebook may be most popular, not all of your followers live on one platform. That’s why it’s important to have a multi-faceted approach to social media. You might be surprised to know that approximately 59% of adults ages 18-29 and 33% of 30-40 year-olds use Instagram. By utilizing social media channels, such as Twitter and Instagram, you’ll amplify and link your volunteer message to a highly engaged group of diverse influencers — the people who hold your cause near-and-dear.
Women with children are particularly interested in interacting with brands on Twitter — consider hosting a Twitter party about a topic that’s important to mothers and your community! A Twitter party is an online, interactive, discussion where every post is a tweet and anyone on Twitter can participate. To get started, simply create your own hashtag, announce your chat and date, and begin the conversation.
Placing your promotional messages and updates in front of your influencers will help move the needle for your organization, targeting your message down to specific interest groups, demographics, and regions. Putting some money behind a sponsored blog post about the event or funding an Instagram promotion enables more people to share your content (pro tip: drive traffic and exposure by sharing a video that promotes your volunteer event with a link back to your website or opportunity).
Search and You Will Find
Millions of searches are conducted on Google on a daily basis with more than 2 trillion searches a year. 77% of Americans own a smartphone with 50% of searches coming from mobile devices, therefore, it’s important to incorporate mobile outreach into your strategic volunteer recruitment plan.
Are you using SEM/Google AdWords to your advantage? Search engine optimization (SEO) reaches your audiences at the precise moment (i.e. when they search for causes to support). Remember though, your keyword strategy needs to apply to multi-channel platforms, and not just Google, including website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email. Being consistent with keyword phrases when using these platforms helps not only your awareness efforts, but also creates a level of familiarity with your message and key phrases you are optimizing for across the web.
If you’re posting your Mother’s Day volunteer opportunity on VolunteerMatch, a Premium subscription can help elevate your opportunities to show higher on our list.
When Americans surf online, their search activity is collected and tracked. Search intent, site retargeting and behavioral profiling technology are effective ways to market your organization online. The keywords related to your organization during these searches can be used for targeting specific audiences that lead them back to your site. Site retargeting continues to track their online behaviors and traffics them back for further engagement.
Delivering your message on mobile and tablet devices reaches people on-the-go who are seeking immediate information. Reach your audience and the demographics important to your organization through in-app and website placements and on platforms like Pandora, Hulu, and Spotify.
Blending It Together
Creating a meaningful and memorable Mother’s Day volunteer opportunity, knowing your audience, and diversifying your marketing are the keys to success. Millennials are more active on certain platforms like Twitter and Snapchat while Baby Boomers are more likely to be on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Americans use multiple platforms to consume information, which means your organization should utilize a similar approach to social media.
blended social and digital marketing approach will make a lasting difference for engaging volunteers at your organization. Have a Mother’s Day volunteering experience to share? Let us know in the comments below!
Bonus: Don’t have time to get this together before Mother’s Day? These same strategies can apply to any volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
Julie Ellman is a partner and Senior Vice President of Connect360 Multimedia in the Bay Area office. For over two decades, Julie has successfully provided strategic counsel and managed brand, consumer, marketing, and public service campaigns.