Your volunteers are often your biggest supporters, so keeping them encouraged and motivated is paramount. One key way to keep your volunteers engaged is through an effective social media strategy.
The first step to bringing your volunteers into the fold is encouragement. While some of your volunteers may be already happily snapping away and posting photos to their social media feeds, many may have some trepidation in crossing the personal/professional boundary. Some may not even understand how to tap into your community. Be sure to encourage your volunteers to not only post, but tag themselves and others within photos. Tagging other users will send them notifications that they’ve been mentioned, which buttresses that sense of community that helps a good social network thrive.
Ensure that your association has a strong presence beforehand, and be sure to have a hashtag created that allows more users to jump in and join the conversation. Make sure your volunteers know where to find you: ensure they’ve liked your Facebook page, and are following you on Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Have a Social Media Point Person
If you have someone at your office who is well-versed in social media, make them the point person for your volunteers. Across all platforms, a strong majority of users tend to sit back and watch the conversations rather than be vocal. With a little bit of reassurance and guidance, you may quickly turn a novice, passive user into a social media powerhouse.
Make it fun. Give your volunteers something fun to do. Encourage them to take selfies at events, or develop a gamification strategy where they’re competing for the most outrageous shot via a hashtag competition. Letting them show their personalities; while showcasing their interests and skillsets will add a human touch to your brand and encourage others to join in.
At your discretion, consider setting some guidelines of what can and cannot be posted. Rules and bureaucracy may in turn siphon away some of that fun, but a few simple guidelines as to what is and what is not acceptable may be in order. Consider having fun with it and showcasing some extremes of what not to do.
Acknowledge the Effort
Now that your volunteers are involved, don’t forget about your own role at the association. Part of your encouragement will be keeping on top of your own notifications so that you’re sharing and congratulating your volunteers’ efforts. Your endorsement goes a long way.
Your volunteers aren’t typical social media followers. They could be your future leaders. By putting in some effort, a plugged-in volunteer network will not only boost your advocacy and grow your membership, but could also be your most effective marketing vehicle.
Learn About Managing Volunteer Risks
CSAE’s Managing Volunteer Risk: What Keeps You Up At Night? workshop on March 23, 2017 explores managing risk within your association’s volunteer program.
Many volunteer positions have aspects that can carry potential risk for your association and its volunteers, including board and committee members. This session examines risk management tools, the volunteer management cycle and practical ways to mitigate potential problems. It will explore volunteer screening and appropriate screening means and measures for your organization.
This is an ideal opportunity to review best practices, discuss areas of risk common in not-for-profit environments and share effective solutions.