July 03, 2013 at 3:44 PM
ATTRACTING NEW VOLUNTEERS - Tips and interesting facts
1. Volunteers are like customers in a new shop. They want something out of it, a “buying” experience.
We need to attract them by interesting them to keep buying and provide a unique selling proposition.
2. Make the buying experience easy to purchase. No obligation trial period, removed barriers to your new customer – call to action. This is something Hornsby Council is working on and making some good progress.
3. The IMPORTANCE to follow up Prospective volunteers– this can increase membership by 25%. Also know as relationship marketing. This follow up is apparently something most organisations don’t do well and something Hornsby Council has only started to implemented this year after evaluation of the programs processes for new volunteers. This is something that can be also done by a volunteer.
4. No 1. reason that people volunteer – because they were asked.
5. Ask the question: what are you looking for from this volunteer experience, how can it work for you?
6. Is it possible to get volunteers to do other duties, such as the follow up calls, stalls and administration, besides site work? Are they interested?
7. Would we all benefit from the idea of having a morning tea at the cottage for an informal forum to discuss volunteer issues with volunteers – an opportunity to raise any issues or suggestions for improvement. Once or twice a year maybe?
8. Welcome pack to new home owners, and/or volunteer group or member knock on door as new welcoming neighbour
9. Try before you buy. Group leaders are equipped with a good bunch of new brochures, applications forms and spare gloves on site. Should a prospective volunteer show up unannounced. Show them around the site, give them a site induction pointing out hazards and risks on site (without scaring them off) and signing on as a “visitor” (in the nature of works) column.
10. Apparently “word of month” is still the best form of recruitment – just like a good restaurant.
11. Personal reasons for all individuals, Find out, why are they there?
12. It can sometimes take 3 to 4 times of being asked so often no means “not now”.
13. If everyone was to ask one person to ask someone else the word would spread.
TIPS TO RETENTION
1. Make the new volunteer feel welcome – It is a brave move to turn up to a site not knowing what to expect with a new bunch of people. Welcome them at a meeting point rather than having to find you. Stay with them and introduce them to each volunteer on site.
2. Have no expectations on experience. Ask them questions about themselves to acknowledge what they may know or have an understanding of what support they need.
3. Ask them, what are they expecting from experience, what do they hope to get out of it?
4. Have a buddy or mentor for new volunteers to build up a relationship. 5. Stop for a chat and a cuppa. Have a group discussion of the history of the group and the site. Go around the group and each of the volunteers tell their story – when and why they joined the group.
6. Good communication – Bushcare groups that where identified as successful where very good communicators. They emailed each other of session dates and times and had a strong convenor – either a trainer or group leader.
7. Reward – provide gifts, training functions and social gathering. Credit and thanks go a long way in recognising volunteer work. (I hope that you feel we do this to the extend that makes you feel your efforts are appreciated and recognised).