By Sarah Moreland
Basic concept: Volunteering requires people. If you want extra hands to help out with service projects, you’ll probably have to invest some time in recruitment activities. Many volunteers say the No. 1 reason they serve is because they were asked to, so why not ask people you know with these free social media tools you might already have?
In a 2010 survey, 39 percent of adults said Facebook is the most efficient way to voice opinions about causes, more than writing to politicians or speaking at public forums. (http://www.fenton.com/resources/fenton-forecast/)
Take advantage of it by using such a vast network of people in the most personal way possible. Ideas include:
Tagging interested people in a status about an upcoming meeting: “Hey, John Smith and Jane Doe, we’re planting trees tomorrow at Fido Park and would love to see you there!”
Contacting businesses and professional pages about possible joint projects: Teaming up with another organization will not only improve your presence in the area, but it could also recruit new members from the organization you partner with.
Sending personalized messages based on Facebook activity: “John, I noticed you became a fan of the Humane Society. We’re helping out at a local animal shelter on Saturday and we’d love to have you help us!”
Have some friends or acquaintances who aren’t yet sure whether they want to join your organization? Follow the Indiana District of Circle K’s example and create a Twitter account to keep your potential (and current) members involved. Updates during your service projects and fundraisers will not only grab their attention but also keep them informed in real time about what your club does.
Also check out www.tweetburner.com for a service that makes your club’s volunteer-related tweet links easy to share and even easier to track. Tweet the address of your club website, for example, and you can follow how many people click on your link.
If word of mouth isn’t as effective as you’d like it to be, replace your words with visual stories about your organization. Capture moments on camera, upload them to YouTube or another video publishing website, and then tweet about them or post a link on Facebook.