Recruiting volunteers on Facebook

Social networking is very popular amongst adults and teens alike. It can be a valuable tool for recruiting volunteers if done effectively.

Social media users are more likely to be active in voluntary groups.  A 2012 report by Pew Internet says 75 percent of adults are engaged in volunteer work. Individuals who identify with online social networks, compared to those that do not use the internet, are more likely to be a part of volunteer groups – 56 percent of non-internet users belong to groups while 82 percent of group participants belong to social networks. Still, many volunteer managers remain hesitant to follow social networking trends as a means of engaging their volunteers. This article explores how volunteer managers can use social media to recruit potential volunteers.

Every day, more and more adults sign up for a social network. In fact, Pew Internet reports that nearly 67 percent of adults now belong to a social network – the most active of that group being adults 18 to 40-years-old. On the same note, a 2012 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project indicated that nearly half of American adults own a smartphone, which is a cellular phone capable of accessing the Internet and running mobile applications. Similarly, nearly 20 percent of American adults now own a tablet computer like an Apple or Android device. The great thing about social media, smartphones and tablet devices is that they are portable and can be accessed from anywhere. Facebook is still the most popular social networking site – 92 percent of online adults use Facebook. Likewise, YouTube is the second most widely used search engine.

Michigan State University Extension suggests that social media can be used to recruit volunteers in a number of ways. Agencies utilizing volunteers should have an organizational Facebook page and Twitter account that can be used to not only connect with existing volunteers, but also reach out to interested individuals by posting volunteer opportunities. Volunteer managers should ask their followers to share the opportunities through their online social networks. Videos can be a wonderful way to connect with potential new audiences. By sharing footage of volunteers connecting with clients and making a direct ask for new volunteers, organizations can provide potential recruits with a taste of what serving there would be like and allow the volunteer to imagine themselves in that role. Finally, blogging platforms can be a great opportunity to invite current volunteers to share their experience in a way that is sincere and firsthand. By using social media to its maximum potential, volunteer managers can increase their reach to better serve their community.

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