How to Use Technology to Recruit Volunteers

Today’s guest post is from Clarissa Meyer.            

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of non-profit, charity, or community organizations in the world. And while some have paid positions, most rely heavily on volunteers to keep their operations running. Girl Guides of Canada is nothing without adults running camps and meetings. Habitat for Humanity cannot survive without people willing to lift, tote, and hammer boards. But how do these organizations find and keep volunteers? In the old days it was through bulletin board notices and phone calls. But in our fast-paced, modern world those strategies are not feasible. The volunteer market is competitive and, while people want to give their time, they are not always eager for a phone call, or willing to volunteer in the traditional ways. Using technology can give organizations a leg-up on finding volunteers.

Using a website to advertise an organization and its volunteer positions is an intelligent and efficient way to use technology. Positions can be updated quickly and easily. Profiles of the organization can be included, which people can read at their own leisure. People can follow links to apply for positions on-line, and schedules and events can be posted as well.

Email is a popular method for recruiting and maintaining volunteers. Many people can be contacted at once, and this is a fast and efficient way to update opportunities or send out general inquiries. People that do not cherish face-to-face communication can respond using the written word, and they can reply at their own pace. Email has an advantage over phone conversations as attachments can be sent, with documents, spreadsheets, images, and videos.

Perhaps the best development with volunteering since the advent of the World Wide Web is what is known as Virtual Volunteering (also known as cyber service or on-line volunteering). A virtual volunteer is someone who assists an organization using the Internet or computer technology. They can do tasks such as manage e-mail, design graphics or web pages, organize databases, edit documents, or write proposals. And the appeal of cyber volunteering is plentiful. Many people can help that would not otherwise do so. They may have physical constraints or time issues. People who volunteer through the virtual realm can have flexible schedules and can work from home. They can help an organization halfway around the world! These volunteers might have different skills than other types of volunteers and their talents can be put to good use. Sponsored by the United Nations, is a site dedicated to matching virtual volunteers to opportunities. Those seeking volunteers may want to peruse this site and use it to advertise their positions.

Any organization seeking to recruit volunteers should not forget about the power of social media. Word travels quicker through Twitter and Facebook then through any other means. Non-profits can expect very quick networking and advertising through these sites when they post a profile or an advertisement.

Some people prefer to support organizations financially. A site such as UniversalGiving helps people support top-performing organizations from all over the world. The site is built so that 100% of donations go toward the cause of choice. But this site also serves as a volunteer matching site, helping people find volunteer positions which suit their interests/skills.

Lastly, organizations may want to utilize computer software to organize, find, and maintain volunteers. A program like Volunteer Reporter, which has existed for twenty years, allows organizations to track volunteers through a database, merge email contacts, and store volunteer profiles. This software is free to use for one year, as a trial. It is useful for the organization as well as for the volunteers, as volunteers can use the program to log in from home and record their volunteer hours.

Clarissa Meyer works on a non-profit project that is deemed to help people with writing their resumes and CVs. Core interests: e-learning, self-motivation and career development.


4 thoughts on “How to Use Technology to Recruit Volunteers

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