Facebook pages: Helping volunteer managers be successful

Web 2.0 tools like social media can be a great way to recruit volunteers, secure corporate partnerships and recognize volunteers. This article looks at the use of Facebook pages as a multipurpose tool for volunteer managers.

Novice and experienced volunteer managers alike know that volunteer recruitment can be very difficult. Michigan State University Extension shares the importance of using all tools and resources available to reach potential volunteers. Social media, particularly popular tools like Facebook, can be an excellent way to reach volunteers who might be interested and connect with potential partnership opportunities online. According to Pew Internet, nearly 67 percent of adults now belong to a social network – the most active of that group being adults 18-40 years-old. Facebook is still the most popular social networking site – 92 percent of online adults use Facebook. According to NBC News, smartphone users check their Facebook account an average of 14 times per day. Further, Forbes magazine shares that over half of American adults now own smartphones. Given the regularity with which many American adults are now on Facebook throughout their day, it is important to consider how your nonprofit organization is utilizing this tool to reach interested volunteers and connect with existing ones.

Volunteer managers can use Facebook to connect with existing volunteers in a variety of ways. For instance, by posing a question in your Facebook status you can invite volunteers to share their impact stories, provide feedback on a proposed event or activity, or talk about why they choose to serve. Staff can highlight the contributions of volunteers and partners to the organization. Finally, photos and videos can be shared to provide a multimedia perspective on what volunteers give to the organization.

Facebook can also be a powerful vehicle for volunteer recruitment and partnership between organizations. By updating your status with specific requests for volunteers, volunteer managers can direct this information to interested individuals. Additionally, volunteer managers can ask their existing volulteers to share the organization’s status update to recruit their friends to become volunteers. The personal ask is one of the most powerful recruitment tools – so why not take an underutilized approach and ask your volunteers to share your organization’s status update with their friends to talk to them about how great their experience has been?

Another underutilized approach is pre-scheduling Facebook posts. This can be especially helpful for volunteer managers during their busiest times of the year. For instructions on how to do this, visit Facebook’s help site. Posts can be scheduled up to six months in advance. Consider taking advantage of this approach for fundraising campaigns or if you regularly recruit volunteers for a large event.

Constant Contact’s blog offers some great suggestions for using Facebook to recruit volunteers. For more tips on using social media to recruit volunteers, check out this article from MSU Extension. Check back for future articles on specific ideas for how volunteer managers can creatively repurpose popular technologies like Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, text messaging and Google Drive.

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