Pro Roundup for Volunteer Coordinators: How to Develop a Digital Marketing Volunteer Recruitment Plan for Your Nonprofit
We live in an increasingly digital world, and if you don’t update your volunteer recruitment plan to include a digital marketing arm, you will miss out on building a fanbase of followers who will be willing to jump in and respond to your calls for action.
However, we know digital marketing is likely not your area of expertise and your agency’s marketing department is probably overrun with last-minute requests, leaving you to your own devices.
If you are struggling with where to start, we have done the heavy lifting for you and curated list of resources that will help you develop a digital marketing volunteer recruitment plan. It’s time to get your organization noticed and bring on an engaged volunteer-base that is ready to commit to your organization!
Why You Need a Digital Marketing Volunteer Recruitment Plan
The days of placing flyers on bulletin boards, posting every open volunteer position you have on ALL the volunteer recruitment websites, and pleading for help with your unengaged social media followers are over and done.
In today’s busy and distracted world, your potential volunteers need to know you and trust you before the commit to you.
That means, you need to develop a digital marketing volunteer recruitment plan to build a community of engaged followers.
What is Digital Marketing?
Even though you likely engage in the various forms of digital marketing on a daily basis, unless you have learned marketing basics, you might not realize all that is considered digital marketing.
According to HubSpot, digital marketing is “all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet.”
So, this means that every sales email you receive, every Facebook group notification that alerts you, every Google search you complete, every freebie guide that you download, etc. are all forms of digital marketing.
Because there are so many different avenues digital marketing can take, and you are likely working with limited time and resources, decide which marketing tactics will help you reach your volunteer recruitment goals and build a digital marketing plan from there.
Your 5 Step Digital Marketing Plan
Your digital marketing recruitment plan can have a powerful impact on your volunteer program. Don’t leave it to chance or spur of the moment emails and Facebook posts!
Digital Marketing Institute outlines an easy to follow, 5-step plan to ensure your digital marketing efforts don’t go unnoticed.
Here are some quick tips:
- Know what you want and set your goals: perform a volunteer program needs analysis.
- Analyze your past/current digital marketing efforts: review your website, social media pages, email campaigns, etc. and find out what has worked and what needs improvement.
- Tell stories that compel your audience: develop an ideal volunteer persona and cater to their needs/desire to volunteer.
- Budget, Team and Channels: determine your budget (if any is needed), create team tasks, and determine which channels you will focus on for maximum engagement.
- Create your digital marketing volunteer recruitment plan: create a calendar and continuously monitor your progress and make adjustments as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
How to Get Social with Your Volunteer Recruitment
Social media is about so much more than posting on your channels and hoping the right people, see the message, at the right time.
In order to use social media effectively, you need to create a strategy that will help you reach your goals. Do you want to increase awareness of your organization in the community? Do you want to get more people to visit your volunteer recruitment landing page? Or do you want to create an engaged community that is willing and ready to volunteer for your organization?
With social media marketing, you can do it all!
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the strategic use of social media platforms to engage your target audience, with the goal of bringing awareness to your brand and converting your followers to buyers (or joiners in regard to volunteer programs!).
Buffer outlines the most common social media marketing activities as planning and publishing content, engaging with your audience, analyzing campaign results, and running ads.
First and foremost, you must look at the bigger picture and lay your social media strategy. Here is a quick overview to get you started:
- Define your goals (awareness, drive people to your volunteer recruitment landing page, etc.)
- Which platforms will you use (Facebook most common, consider Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter)
- What type of content will you share (blogs, images, videos, interactive posts like polls, etc.)
Creating a Volunteer-Centric Social Media Marketing Plan
Thanks to the sharing power of social media, your nonprofit has the ability to extend its reach far outside your everyday followers.
The trick is creating engaging content that is going to inspire new people to get involved at your organization.
Capterra offers some volunteer recruitment tips that will help you get started. While some may seem like simple reminders (share photos, always include links to your volunteer recruitment page), others will require more thought and strategy from you and your marketing team (creating a Facebook group, sharing high quality videos, and inventing relevant hashtags).
Whatever kind of posts you decide to share, most experts agree that one-post per day is sufficient to keep your audience engaged without spamming their newsfeed!
If the thought of developing 7 days of fresh content makes your head spin, share others people content or follow a daily theme for all of your posts. Sometimes your posts can be as simple as a peaceful image featuring a motivational quote.
Content Marketing as a Volunteer Recruitment Technique
You receive hundreds, maybe even thousands, of marketing messages a day. Some might be relevant to your needs and wants, while others are just SPAM.
The different between the two marketing techniques? One company is employing content marketing and developing relevant, valuable content to share. The other is simply pulling people in by pushing their (usually not great content) to anyone who will listen.
By developing valuable content, you can gain the attention as a reliable source of information in your community and be the first place people look when searching for volunteer opportunities.
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as: Content marketing is “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
Content takes many forms and you are most likely already creating it in one or more areas:
- Newsletters (print & digital)
Start by figuring out which format(s) works best for you and create content in those formats. If you are using content marketing to recruit volunteers, think about a volunteer focused piece of content that is relevant to your cause and intriguing enough to drive people to your volunteer recruitment website.
Perhaps you are an environmental organization, provide a free tip sheet for how people can start a compost at home. Family services agency? Provide information on how parents can support their child’s social and emotional wellbeing.
How to Create Email Campaigns That Recruit Volunteers
Once you have a content marketing strategy in place, you need to start getting the word out to your community that you have valuable content to share!
This is where a drip email campaign comes in. Zapier, has a comprehensive guide to setting up a campaign, but you might still need the assistance of your marketing and/or IT department.
Once your drip campaign is set up, work with your marketing department to place a call to action in the agency newsletter that brings people to the fabulous piece of content you created.
Once people sign up for that content, you will then have a segmented, captive audience that you can continue to nurture with your automated email campaign and once they are fully invested in your organization, they are more likely to answer your calls for volunteers.
Do You Have a Digital Marketing Volunteer Recruitment Plan in Place?
Post in the comments if you have already developed a digital marketing volunteer recruitment plan and leave some words of encouragement and tips for your fellow volunteer management professionals!
Does the COVID-19 pandemic have you feeling overwhelmed?
Are you doing OK? There’s clearly A LOT going on right now.
Nearly EVERY DAY there’s new information released about the Coronavirus pandemic and how it is impacting our communities.
It’s enough to make you want to sink into the couch and binge watch Netflix for the next month straight.
But as a leader of volunteers, that’s not we do, is it? Not at all.
You are creative, tough, and resilient, and you know that the only way through fear and uncertainty is to take purposeful action.
Join me for a FREE [Masterclass]: The Shelter-in-Place Volunteer: Don’t Let Your Supporters Get Sidelined by COVID-19
I’ll share how you can maintain connections with volunteers, offer them support, and engage those who are working remotely in meaningful service (even in the face of fear and uncertainty).
Let’s get together and make some lemonade out of these lemons we have been handed!