Asking people to give up their precious time can be a challenge. It’s even trickier when you’re a nonprofit organization that has to compete with dozens of other eye-catching booths and displays at volunteer recruitment fairs.
The commotion can easily distract even the most attentive folks. So before you head out to your next volunteer recruitment fair, make sure your organization is ready to shine. Here are a few tips that may help your team prepare for the upcoming fair and stand out among the competition.
Brainstorm Well in Advance
You should begin planning for the fair at least a few weeks before it actually unfolds, or more if you need material designed and printed. This should give you ample time to figure out exactly how you want the day to play out. Start with a simple timeline of where you need to be when, as well as a to-do list for the people in your organization.
Also, take this time to come up with eye-catching ideas specific to your nonprofit that could help you stand out at a recruitment fair.
Once you’ve hammered out the fundamentals, get the word out that you’ll be attending. Create a simple flyer and ask local libraries, community centers, churches, and coffee shops if you can post it there, and spread the word on your organization’s social media.
Make sure to include the date and time of the event, as well as the general area where folks will be able to find you (if you know this ahead of time).
Bring the Basics
It’s easy to get bogged down by the details of the day and forget the most essential things, so make sure you have a list of the basics on your task list. These may include a sign-up sheet for visitors interested in volunteering and a sign bearing the name and logo of your organization.
You should also bring business cards that include your contact information and at least one eye-catching element to attract potential volunteers.
Since space is going to be at a premium at the recruitment fair, don’t dedicate too much of it to your booth’s décor — or at least, not too much of the horizontal space. You’ll need that for informative flyers and sign-up sheets. Instead, think vertically.
Build large signs that extend skyward. This simple technique will draw eyes to your booth without eating up your precious tabletop space.
Set up a Photo Op
One great way to get potential volunteers engaged with your organization is to create a photo op. Invite an artsy member of your team to create an Instagram-inspired frame bearing your company’s logo and the hashtag you’ve come up with for the event, then set it out so passersby will stop to snag a photo with the frame and post it online.
Not only will this give you an “in” to chat with potential volunteers, but it also serves as free marketing for you and your organization. Another win-win!
Offer Free Goodies
That eye-catching booth element could be anything, from a splashy banner to a game, but one of the best options? A freebie.
It doesn’t have to be anything particularly expensive or big — something as small and simple as a pen or a notepad with your organization’s logo on it is probably enough to get people to stop and chat with you. If these aren’t readily available, you can go even simpler and put out a bowl of candy or some other small refreshments like doughnut holes.
Add Interactive Elements
Nonprofit organizations don’t always have a lot of extra cash to put into a recruitment fair, so offering even small freebies might be out of the question. If this is the case for your organization, there’s another way to attract potential volunteers: Do something to engage them.
Plan a game that requires very few materials or create a hashtag specific to your booth, so guests can interact with your organization both online and off.
The next time you head out to a fair to round up eager volunteers, keep these tips in mind and feel free to think outside the box. If the nature of your organization really lends itself to a particular attraction or game, get creative!
The more color and fun you infuse into your volunteer recruitment booth, the easier it’ll be to get visitors to stop and chat with you. And chances are, once you have them hooked, they won’t be able to ignore the philanthropic efforts of your organization.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash