5 Tips for Recruiting Volunteers Online

Charitable giving has been transformed by the internet.  Last August, the Ice Bucket Challenge harnessed the forces of social media and celebrity to raise close to $100 million for ALS in one month, while websites like GoFundMe allow individuals to use their personal networks to support their favorite causes.

But organizations can do more than raise money online; they can also use the internet to reach an exponentially greater pool of potential volunteers and willing workers.  Here are five tips to help you reach the people you want to help you.

  1. FIRST, CONNECT – organizations have always built less on appeals than on relationships, and, as any marriage counselor will tell you, relationships take work. Fortunately, this is where social media excels. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others are all loaded with tools for two-way communication, so use them to the fullest.
  1. SHOW AND TELL – Engage your audience with compelling content that encourages action. Multimedia—pictures and videos—get your message across quickly and powerfully.
  1. GIVE TO GET – Getting a response on the net—whether it’s a contribution of time, labor, money, or just continued engagement with your site—requires giving something valuable. Hold people’s attention by sharing your knowledge. For instance, the ASPCA has a Pinterest board full of pet care tips. Each pin links to a full article on the organization’s blog.
  1. USE YOUR NON-PROFIT PRIVILEGES – Google and other digital titans offer discounted or free advertising support for non-profits. Google Ad Grants offers up to $10,000 for online AdWords advertising – per month – for eligible non-profits, and YouTube also offers support, including extra benefits like branding capabilities, increased upload capacity and call-to-action overlays.
  1. FIND DIGITAL MATCHMAKERS – registering your organization with websites like, and can connect you with motivated volunteers who are pre-selected with an interest in your cause. When you join and list your cause on Kids That Do Good, they’ll post images and descriptions of your organization, calendars of activities, plus links to your website and ways for volunteers to connect.