Helen Cartwright | June 7, 2017

How Can You Attract More Volunteers for a Fundraising Event

There are more than 1.6 million volunteer organizations around the country with about 1.1million of these being public charities, and 100,000 private foundations. One of the most common volunteer events organized is usually fundraising events. The ability to attract volunteers to such an event boils down to a few critical issues. Keep in mind that attracting volunteers is such a stressful and draining exercise since people volunteer on their own volition. According to volunteer site Verge Magazine, it is particularly critical to target younger people since they have the strength, time and endurance to provide more help. Here are eight ways to attract volunteers.

1. Mine-Your Social Network

The people most likely to volunteer at the event are those who know you or already know about the event. That’s why you should mine your social networks from friends, family, colleagues, neighbours, and local frats. Ask those around you to recommend someone who would be willing to volunteer their skills or services at the event. You can also ask the current volunteer to double up as your army of recruiters. This is because a recommendation from a friend or family member is much more efficient than a request from a stranger.

2. Advertise

This is one of the most effective means of attracting volunteers. You can put the information on flyers, bulletins and even send short text messages. You can also put a volunteer slot on your website where potential volunteers can fill in their details. Most importantly you can use social media networks. Facebook has 1.2 billion people, Snapchat (300M), Instagram (500M), Baidu (300M), Twitter (500M) and WhatsApp (1.3B). One of the more common, cost effective means of advertising is through email marketing. If there are other effective local advertising platforms in an area, then make use of them.

3. Keep a List of Potential Volunteers

If this isn’t your first time trying to attract volunteers, then chances are that you have put together a database from a previous volunteer mission. You can clean up the list and contact each and every person who volunteered during the last event. This is usually the most effective means of attracting them back. You have to clean up the list since people move on, get disinterested, or simply lose the passion. You can also expand the list to those who might be interested but have never stepped up to volunteer. Most often it takes more than a single interaction to get people to volunteer.

4. Show Appreciation

Every time you have a long list of individuals who have volunteered before then thanking them will make them feel appreciated. Find a way to show them that what they do matters. This makes it easier for you to call upon them when you need them to provide support at the fundraising event. Make a habit of regularly thanking your volunteers. This should mostly center on reaching out to them during special events in their lives such as birthdays, weddings, and anniversary. Volunteers who feel recognized and appreciated are much more likely to show up when called upon again.

5. Offer Manageable Opportunities

When sending out the invitation to volunteer at the event, make sure you offer manageable roles. Take the time to break down the jobs, tasks, the scope of work and the amount of time needed for each role. You can even go further and list the qualifications and job requirements for each task. This will make it easy for a volunteer to pick a job for which they are best suited. A vague appeal to volunteer will not inspire people to step up and offer to help.

6. Make Your Message Clear

People who simply volunteer to a need soon get bored. It’s easier and far more motivating to challenge people to volunteer towards a vision than a need. You can do this well by explaining to them the bigger picture to the roles that they are playing. This is especially critical for such a major volunteer event for which the volunteers may be detached from the core aspects of the job. Paint a vision of what you do and where they fit in the big picture.

7. Contact Schools

Some schools and universities require students to volunteer at events as part of their coursework. Therefore you can reach out to clubs, service organizations, student welfare offices, and frat organizations to ask about their volunteer programs and if a few of the members would like to volunteer. The chances are that there will be many who will step up to volunteer. There are also many students who would simply want to volunteer as a means of beefing up their resume. So, if you are stuck then simply head over to the local high school or college and ask around.

8. Make Experiences Mutually Rewarding

Volunteering should be a give and take experience. While you don’t offer them monetary rewards, there are many other ways of making the experience worthwhile. You can provide certificates of participation, recommendations, free entry to future events, and a whole host of other types of non-monetary rewards. The promise of a reward for volunteers at the event makes it attractive to many people out there. You can also structure the volunteering experience in such a way that the volunteers get to interact with some of the major players in the fundraising event and they get the ability to network.

Final Thoughts

The volunteer experts at Verge Magazine advise that the easiest group to get to work for you at the fundraising event are young people. They are idealistic, energetic, easier to lead, and have the time, and energy to volunteer. They are also full of life and have an inexhaustible set of ideas and views on how you can best plan the event. They also have an easier time recruiting their friends and family to volunteer. While the fundraising event may be a one-day affair if done right, it can have a strong, effective, and long-lasting appeal to potential volunteers.

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