One method of engaging potential new volunteers is to use “welcome gifts.” Simply surprise volunteer applicants with something small that may be of value to them. It does not have to be anything expensive or even tangible.
Here are some additional ideas to get you started:
- Send volunteer applicants a “Let’s Get Started” kit with a small giveaway that shows your gratitude for their interest right off the bat. Pick something that follows the “theme” of your program name in some way.
- Send applicants a free “study guide” that covers what will be learned in volunteer trainings if your program requires extensive training that may discourage potential volunteers. Provide links to background information and keep it simple with jargon-free language. Too much information too soon will be a turn off.
- Set up a separate email address for volunteer inquiries and program it to automatically send a reply with a video link to anyone who inquires about volunteering for the first time. In the video, include a montage of people who have benefited from your program’s good work and want to express their gratitude. This is also a great way to thank your current volunteers.
- Form a volunteer-led “welcome team” to reach out to volunteer prospects who have contacted you for more information. Train them to answer questions, help with the application process and share their own experiences as a volunteer.
- Offer free “insider tours” to potential volunteers. Schedule them on a regular basis to show interested parties what it is like behind-the-scenes at your program.
These strategies offer something of value to volunteers: background information, connection with others, evidence of the program’s impact, inspiration and more. This is a great way to get potential volunteers excited about your program. After all, how many organizations do you know offer any of these things? Just doing one of the above items listed will set your program apart from all the other opportunities that are competing for your volunteers’ attention. For more information about the volunteer application process, visit the Volunteer Application Process resource page.