If you're a nonprofit organization, you might look at social media as a way to inform and inspire your supporters. You also might view it as a simple way to keep people talking about your message and mission. While social media certainly serves these purposes, it also serves as a powerful tool to foster a team spirit among volunteers, and it shows volunteers how their service impacts their community. Utilizing social media in this way is important, as it keeps volunteers – the lifeblood of your organization – engaged.


If your nonprofit is looking for some creative ideas to engage your volunteers online, these four strategies might give your online volunteer community the boost it needs.


Set up a Private Volunteer Facebook Group

Your volunteers should feel special, so manage a private Facebook group just for them. On this page, provide training materials, announcements, and good old-fashioned encouragement. This is a great place to post refresher trainings, too, in the form of YouTube videos or PowerPoint presentations. Volunteers can post comments or ask questions to indicate that they’ve received the information. When new volunteers are being onboarded, you can make a post asking everyone to join you in welcoming them. Overall, this page can be an enjoyable “hangout” for volunteers to engage in water-cooler discussion and develop a sense of camaraderie.


Create a “Volunteer Administrator” Role on Facebook

Each month, randomly select a willing volunteer to be the “Volunteer Administrator” for your organization’s Facebook page for one day. The Volunteer Administrator can post questions or pictures, which would garner responses from followers. Encourage volunteers to get creative. Maybe they can go Live on Facebook and interview key staff members or share a heartfelt explanation about why they volunteer. Maybe they can come up with a creative trivia game about the organization, and the winner can earn a small incentive. To be effective, this would need to be done in close coordination with the Volunteer Manager or another staff member, but it could be a great way for followers to renew their interest in your Facebook page and for volunteers to maintain their engagement in your mission.


Lighten Up

Not all of your content on social media, your blog, and your web site needs to be filled with statistics and information about your organization. Although that information is important, remember to balance it with light or humorous content. For example, these days, people love creating and sharing funny memes. If your organization’s mission focuses on animals, you could attract a lot of attention simply by using one of your fantastic photos to create a comical meme. Your followers would be inclined to “like,” comment, and share, and they would get a mental break from your weightier content. Plus, your Facebook page and web site would probably get some extra traffic.


Inspire Storytelling

Your volunteers are your organization’s ambassadors. They go beyond their service and inform the public about your mission, and the way they do this is by telling stories of their experiences. When they reflect on their service, they experience personal growth and deepen their overall experience, which makes their volunteer experience all the more rewarding. So, why not engage them in storytelling online? Encouraging volunteers to share stories will help others connect to your cause on a personal level, which might motivate them to get involved. Allow for creativity, so that volunteers can tell their stories from the heart; some might simply write a blog, others might put together a slideshow of pictures with captions, and still more might record themselves talking with willing beneficiaries. These stories are raw examples of the impact your volunteers make on a daily basis, and they are easily – and quickly – viewed and shared across the country. 


Your volunteers spend a lot of time online, so your organization must do the same in order to keep your volunteers interested. While utilizing as many online tools as possible is great, it’s more important to use them effectively; so, if you set up a Twitter account, but you rarely use it, then either get active or deactivate it.


Optimizing your online presence is an important factor to your overall success. If your organization’s online presence needs a kickstart, your volunteers might be just the people to provide it.


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