31 May, 2017
As we celebrate the remarkable difference volunteers make this Volunteers’ Week, it’s worth looking at how we get people on board and convince them to give up their valuable time for our causes. Comms plays an important part in recruitment, but are you giving enough attention to a potential stumbling block: the sign up process?
A member of our team recently discovered a relatively new charity and it impressed her so much she signed up to volunteer there and then.
Here’s what she had to say about the process:
“I found a great organisation, HostNation, which introduces refugees and asylum seekers to UK befrienders – ‘connecting people to rebuild lives’. I was convinced by how they described their aims and work, so fairly immediately registered as a befriender.
“The whole website is clear and effective, and the sign-up page was especially impressive. It’s a fairly long application form, requiring more detail than just a name and email. This is acknowledged, and explained, at the top of the page in a section called ‘why we need to ask a lot of you’. Being upfront helps manage expectations – always a good idea – and also spells out the value of volunteering.
“Asking quite a lot from people at this stage is a way of developing and confirming their commitment. Making you articulate your reasons for volunteering helps make them clearer, and stronger, in your mind. Getting more than just an email at this first stage also means HostNation won’t end up with a long list of people who are only mildly interested, which they then have to filter at a later date, saving them time and effort.”
This experience illustrates why it’s a good idea to spell out to potential volunteers what you need from them and why – even if it seems like a lot. If you believe in your cause, let your enthusiasm show and it’s likely you’ll attract people who share your passion.
For more tips, check out our guide to using communications to attract – and retain – volunteers.