Volunteer Engagement: Smarter Volunteer Preference Strategies
Part 4: Volunteer Preferences
Last week, we focused on the volunteer application and everything that goes into it. We saw the components of what goes into a successful, effective volunteer application. Which leads nicely into this week’s topic: volunteer preferences. When working with volunteers, you want to make sure you are making the most effective use of their time and that you look closely at how they prefer to work, who they prefer to work with, and what specific opportunities they are looking for. With that, let’s jump right into it.
Volunteer Engagement Strategy #4: Pay Attention to Volunteer Preferences
Once you’ve collected all of the valuable volunteer data from the volunteer applications, you need to know what to do with it. The short answer? Use your newfound volunteer intel to inform your engagement plan!
We know that might sound easier said than done, so let’s break this strategy down into a few actionable tips that any nonprofit can follow:
- Reach out using the right channels. You may have volunteers who open every email you send, but you may also have volunteers who only respond when you call them on the phone. They’re both happy to engage with you but in very different ways. Find out how your supporters want to be contacted and use that channel exclusively.
- Promote tailored volunteer opportunities. Create segments in your volunteer software so you can easily send out batch communications that correspond to specific interests or skills. That way, you won’t inundate every single prospective volunteer with tasks they can’t perform (or aren’t interested in performing).
- Ask for volunteer feedback. How can you know what’s working and what isn’t if you don’t ask? You can send out a survey to your entire volunteer base or specific segments to find out which marketing, engagement, and volunteer management tactics are working and which are falling short.
Giveffect clients like Ronald McDonald House of Greater Hudson Valley and Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado have used their volunteer data to send targeted emails alerting volunteers of opportunities that are the closest match to their expressed areas of expertise and interest.
Not only do volunteers appreciate this degree of personalization, the close matching also ensures that volunteers are more likely to click on every email they receive rather than grow desensitized to a high volume of generic emails.
What to Know: Use your application, surveys, and other forms of communication to find out what your volunteers want from your nonprofit. Then, do your best to tailor your strategies to meet their preferences and needs.
Next week, we will shift our focus on what to do to offer the right opportunities to your volunteers.
Want to learn more about how the Giveffect all-in-one software system can help your nonprofit in its fundraising, volunteer management and web hosting efforts? Visit us online at www.giveffect.com.