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How To Get Holiday Volunteers In Georgia

December 1, 2016

Volunteers are a treasured commodity for nonprofits — especially during the holidays when people must budget time commitments with family, kids, work and religious interests. Because you’re essentially competing for people’s “leisure time,” it makes sense to effectively market volunteer opportunities.

Learn how to get and keep dedicated volunteers for your organization.

Tap Into Volunteer Motives

Why do people volunteer? Volunteering generally makes people feel good and it also helps personal growth. Make sure that your prospective volunteers know that by helping out with your organization, they’re transforming their own lives as well.

3 Benefits of Volunteering:

  • Personal Growth
    Most people think of personal growth as an exercise in faith or spirituality, but personal growth includes professional development as well. Volunteering is a great way for anyone to gain experience — even if it the task is not directly related to their current job or field.
  • Social Benefits
    Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded friends. Bringing people together with similar interests and values for a common goal is a great formula for creating genuine friendships.
  • It’s Healthy
    According to research from the Corporation for National and Community Service, there are physical and mental health benefits of volunteering. In a study lasting over 2 decades, researchers have found that those who volunteer tend to live longer, healthier and happier lives than those who do not volunteer.

Post Help Wanted Ads

Just like any other business in Georgia, charities and nonprofits must recruit and advertise. Post your volunteer opportunities on popular job boards. (Some job boards like LinkedIn offer steep discounts for nonprofit organizations.) There are many specialty sites like idealist.org and volunteermatch.org that attract an audience specifically looking for volunteer opportunities.

Share on Social Media

If you’re not sharing your organization’s success stories on social media, the question is: why not? Volunteers want to be a part of your success. Share your stories. A consistent social media strategy will keep your volunteers interested and engaged in your cause. Highlight the good things you do, the people you help and of course, put the focus on your great volunteers!

Be Explicit About Your Needs and Expectations

Remember, volunteers must negotiate their time carefully during the holidays. Tell people exactly what you need and break it down for them in bite-size chunks of time. Be descriptive and give creative options for different ways they can help. Explain what an hour of their time can do to benefit your cause. What lasting impact will a half or full day of volunteering have on your organization?

Value Your Volunteers’ Time

To ensure that everyone has a good experience, make your volunteer event a well-oiled machine. Know how many volunteers you actually need in advance and don’t be afraid to turn volunteers down for an event if there are too many registrants. Make sure leaders are in place to give everyone a job. You don’t want volunteers roaming around the busy soup kitchen on New Year’s Day feeling like they are just in the way.

Make Volunteering Fun

The only way to get someone to do something is if he or she wants to.

- Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People

Many people volunteer with your organization because your charity is something they’re passionate about. Make it fun and sociable and they’ll want to come back. Create fun job titles. Throw some “game” in things like fundraisers with competition and contests. Give out prizes to the best baker or the team who raised the most money. Make the event as much about your volunteers as the cause and they’ll want to stay involved.

Show Appreciation

For many volunteers in Georgia, community is the main reason to get involved. They show up and give their time in exchange for camaraderie. Offer your volunteers a volunteer appreciation event to show them some love. Treat them like partners in your organization. After events, send out a survey to see what they thought of the experience and give them an opportunity to suggest improvements.

Whether you are in charge of a Georgia nonprofit company or any charitable organization in Georgia, chances are, you couldn’t do it without the help of volunteers. Take the time to market, organize and manage your volunteers with love this holiday season and they will take care of you!

Related Link

Find Charitable Organization and Paid Solicitor Forms with the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

About the Author

April Lentini is the Content Strategist for GeorgiaGov. She empowers content managers for government agencies, helping them understand and improve their website content for optimal usability.

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