A happy volunteer carries a box in a kitchen.

Reengaging Volunteers: New Tactics and Time-Tested Truths

For many nonprofits, the pandemic forced volunteering programs to go virtual — or pause altogether. But even if you’re operating at full capacity again, you may find that some of your previous volunteers haven’t come back. 

While everyone’s circumstances are different and some volunteers may not be in a position to support your organization or attend in-person sessions right now, others may just need a little nudge. Taking steps to reengage lapsed volunteers, without being pushy, can let them know that you still appreciate them and, most importantly, that you still need them. These tactics can help:

Re-establish a connection

Set aside a couple of hours to send emails or text messages to your former volunteers. The more personal your outreach is, the better. Don’t focus on how long it’s been since they last supported you: remind them how much you were able to achieve with their help. 

As a call to action, provide an update about current volunteering opportunities and an easy way for them to sign back up if they choose. Consider including your updated safety protocols, too, to help put their minds at ease.

Refresh your online presence

A lot has changed in the last two years and it’s critical to make sure that your online presence reflects this. For people to engage with your organization again, it needs to be clear that you’re active.

Before you invite volunteers back to your website, make sure that they won’t encounter any friction when they try to find the right opportunity for them. Remove any options that aren’t currently available and make sure that newly created ones (especially virtual volunteering opportunities) are prominently featured. If a certain program is paused, that needs to be clearly communicated.

Recapture attention through social media

Chances are, your lapsed volunteers still follow your organization on social media. Seeing content that highlights what recent volunteers have been up to serves to both update them about current opportunities and remind them of the meaningful time they spent with you. 

Inspire them to get involved again by sharing photos, videos, and testimonials from volunteers across your social media channels. If you’ve only just started welcoming volunteers back, that’s worth amplifying, too.

Remind them you care

Whatever methods you use to reengage your supporters, make sure they feel appreciated. Acknowledge the great work they’ve done for you in the past and encourage them to help you build a brighter future. 

Even if they’re not able to support you today, demonstrating authentic gratitude helps strengthen the relationship, making them more likely to remember your organization and pitch in again when they’re able to. 

Reengage where you can, but have a backup plan

Without the hard work and dedication of volunteers, a lot of the incredible work your nonprofit accomplishes would not be possible. So while it's worth encouraging former volunteers to renew their involvement, it’s also important to continually attract new ones. 

Did you know you can post volunteer opportunities on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network? If you’re currently growing your team or plan to hire soon, we also offer a range of hiring solutions designed to help nonprofits recruit exceptional talent. Contact us to learn more

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