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How to Recruit Volunteers for Nonprofit Events

Recruiting volunteers for nonprofit events can feel like a passive activity. After you post the opportunity, it tends to turn into a waiting game.

But it doesn’t have to be. By making finding event volunteers a proactive priority, you can accelerate your results. All it takes is reaching out to the right people with the right message, at the right time. Follow these four best practices to improve volunteer recruitment for your nonprofit events:

Seek out the right fit for your nonprofit event

With the help of advanced LinkedIn search filters, you can connect with members who are likely to be interested in volunteer opportunities with your nonprofit. Search for potential volunteers by location, industry, company, and even keywords on their profile that indicate they’d care about opportunities like yours.

These search results will reveal several key pieces of information. First, you’ll be able to see members’ previous volunteer experience and interests. Keep an eye out for people who have either done similar volunteer work to what you need or who have supported causes similar to yours. You’ll also be able to see the skills users list on their profile, which will help you figure out if their capabilities align with the specific needs of your event.

Personalize outreach to nonprofit volunteer candidates

After you’ve identified a prospective volunteer who seems like a great fit for your event, personalize your outreach message according to what they care about. Start by explaining why you’re reaching out to them specifically. Reference your volunteer posting directly and share how they fit the criteria you’re looking for, highlighting any skills or experience they have that impressed you.

Next, craft a compelling story about why your prospective volunteer might want to work with you on this project. Connect what you’re asking them to do to your organization’s overall mission statement and values. Your goal is to show this prospective volunteer that, by getting involved with your event, they’ll be making a real difference and supporting a cause they care about.

One way to make your initial message stand out is to take note of any mutual connections you share. These will be listed at the top of a member’s profile. If you’re trying to connect with someone more senior, such as a company leader, or are looking for a volunteer to perform a highly important role, it may be worth asking your mutual connection to introduce you, helping you earn the person’s trust. Even if you’re reaching out directly, you can mention commonalities like mutual connections or shared hobbies in your first message to add a personal touch.

Create a memorable volunteer experience

Beyond providing a volunteering experience that is impactful and fulfilling, you can increase the likelihood that volunteers will have a positive impression of your organization and want to participate in future events by looking for ways to reward them for their support.

You might provide resources to help them gain professional skills, for example, or connect them to other professional opportunities using your network. The more volunteers feel appreciated and want to come back, the easier your volunteer recruitment efforts will be moving forward.

Foster a relationship with your nonprofit volunteer

Developing lasting relationships with your volunteers doesn’t just increase the chances that they’ll volunteer with you again. This strategy can also support your organization’s employer branding efforts, which can help you attract more volunteers in the future. After all, if volunteers care about your organization, there’s a strong possibility that they’ll post about their positive experiences.

To leave a lasting impression, try taking two steps following every volunteer event you host. First, take a picture of your volunteers (with their permission) and include it in a volunteer appreciation post about the event on social media, tagging everyone who participated. Use this post to thank the volunteers and explain how they helped, the impact they made, and why their support is so important. If one volunteer made an especially significant contribution, you could give them a special shout out or even interview them for another post.

Next, send personalized thank-you notes to every volunteer who worked with you. In these notes, tie their participation back to the goal of both the event and your nonprofit overall, highlighting that they made a real difference.

Most importantly, stay connected with your volunteers after the event. Send them regular updates about both the organization’s work and new volunteer opportunities, and consider fostering discussions and connections between repeat volunteers. Not only can engaging your current volunteers help keep them around, but it can create the kind of community that new volunteers will want to be a part of.

For more advice on how to find, recruit, and retain great nonprofit volunteers, subscribe to the LinkedIn for Nonprofits blog.