Thank you, Shreya Tragad, for this engaging post.
Shreya is the Digital Marketing Specialist at InitLive. As a creative content creator, she focuses on delivering information about the importance of volunteerism for nonprofit organizations. She is passionate about creating engaging content, writing, and graphic design to help viewers easily retain information. You can find her work at www.initlive.com or on Linkedin and Twitter.
Virtual volunteer opportunities have exploded in popularity in the last couple of years. They helped keep volunteers safe during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, they allow volunteers to engage from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating commuting time. And, they allow nonprofits to engage a wider, even global, audience.
With all of these benefits in mind, your organization might be interested in hosting more virtual volunteer opportunities. In this guide, we offer some ideas to make your next opportunity the best one yet:
- 5 Engaging Virtual Volunteering Ideas
- 5 Ideas to Make Your Virtual Volunteer Opportunity a Success
Virtual volunteer engagement is slightly different from your in-person efforts, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important for your long-term volunteer stewardship strategy. These ideas will help you engage with volunteers effectively in the digital realm. Let’s dive in!
5 Engaging Virtual Volunteering Ideas
At its heart, your virtual volunteer experience should inspire your supporters to get involved. In order to do this, offer roles where your volunteers can learn new skills and work with like-minded peers to make them look forward to every upcoming shift.
If you’re on the hunt for virtual volunteer opportunity ideas to engage supporters, look no further! We’ve compiled a list of unique ideas to engage supporters online while offering a fulfilling experience:
- Manage virtual events. You don’t need to run your virtual events alone. Your virtual volunteers can support your virtual events by monitoring live streams, engaging with attendees on chat platforms, or tracking bids in a digital auction.
- Work a virtual helpline. If your nonprofit offers a virtual helpline, equip volunteers with training and resources to become virtual assistants. Teach them how to engage with those who contact the helpline looking for support. For example, if your organization focuses on teaching financial literacy, consider setting up an advice line for community members to call in with any questions or concerns they may have. This allows your volunteers to take a hands-on role in providing valuable resources for community members seeking help.
- Promote events. Recruit your volunteers to become digital ambassadors by promoting your upcoming events to their networks across social media, email, and other online platforms. For instance, volunteers can help promote your annual Giving Tuesday event. Your volunteers can get creative and come up with fun and engaging posts such as polls or contests to make things exciting!
- Participate in peer-to-peer fundraising. Empower your volunteers to fundraise on behalf of your cause by launching their own peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns. LinkedIn and Facebook are great places to create group pages to share important information with fundraising participants. Use these pages to reach everyone all at once and keep participants engaged in the virtual fundraising effort.
- Conduct donor stewardship efforts. Train volunteers to write personalized thank-you notes or call donors to thank them for their contributions. Encourage volunteers to add a personal touch by explaining their connection to your cause. You can also ask them to write a short blog, and you can share it on your social media channels for everyone to take a look at and read.
Since virtual volunteering is different than the traditional in-person volunteer experience, you’ll need to take additional steps to create a positive and impactful virtual volunteer program. Throughout the process, remember to maintain consistent communication with your volunteers and continuously strive to meet their needs.
5 Ideas to Make Your Virtual Volunteer Opportunity a Success
To make your virtual volunteer experience a success, it’s important to follow a few best practices to engage with volunteers effectively. Implement these ideas to make your next virtual opportunity the best it can be:
- Host an effective virtual orientation. Your orientation will set the tone of your nonprofit organization from the get-go, which is why it’s crucial to plan this properly. Ensure your orientation provides virtual volunteers with all of the information they need, from a full overview of their roles to who to go to with questions. An effective orientation allows your volunteers to feel confident and excited to begin.
- Encourage interaction by meeting with volunteers over video chat. Since volunteers may not be local to your organization or available to meet in person, this is a great way to foster meaningful connections. Survey your volunteers to determine what days and times work for everyone to meet. During the meeting, organize a fun icebreaker to help volunteers feel comfortable. Additionally, you can share numbers and create group chats for everyone to communicate on a daily basis.
- Ask for volunteers’ feedback. Collecting feedback is a great way to show them that you appreciate their input while gathering vital information to help further improve their experience. Asking your volunteers for feedback also allows them to feel like their help makes a difference in your organization. When your volunteers feel valued, they will want to continue to give their time to your cause.
- Track volunteer information in your volunteer management system. Investing in a robust volunteer management system can save you hours of time! It helps you store and track important volunteer information, which can provide great insights into your program’s effectiveness and impact. Track information such as attendance, engagement levels, and hours volunteered.
- Show appreciation for volunteers. Your nonprofit’s volunteers are the core of your organization, devoting their time and energy to keep your projects and programs running smoothly. The benefits of showing appreciation to volunteers are numerous: you can engage volunteers more deeply in your work, show them that their opinions matter, and ultimately increase your volunteer retention rate.
Now that you’ve got some great ideas for your next virtual volunteering opportunity, it’s time to start planning accordingly. In order to make the best use of your volunteers’ time, create a digital checklist to ensure that your opportunities are engaging, fulfilling, and accessible for all. Remember to check in with your volunteers from time to time and get their feedback on your virtual events. Good luck!