Volunteer Recruitment Strategies: Take Your Fundraising to the Next Level

advocacy

We have all heard that peer-to-peer engagement is the most effective fundraising tool at our disposal, but many of us struggle to implement robust volunteer recruitment and advocate programs. GiveCampus can help. Our Partner Success team has compiled a list of actionable tips to help you build and grow your advocacy network—whether you’re just getting started or looking to level up. If finding a league of rockstar volunteers and advocates seems like an impossible task, we have good news! There are plenty of places to look for champions—both on campus and off. Chances are you already have dozens of great candidates in your community eager to lend a hand and just waiting to be asked.

What is Volunteer Recruitment?

Volunteer recruitment is the process of engaging individuals to sign up to help with your cause and evaluating them to make sure they meet the necessary requirements. Volunteers are usually people who care enough about your school and your mission to give up their time and resources to help you meet your campaign goals. 

Advocates are similar to volunteers: both dedicate their time to influence the public good, but advocates are generally well-known, carry clout in the community, and use that clout to publicly support and recommend your cause to others.

Both advocates and volunteers are essential to creating a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign for your school. Therefore, spending time and resources on advocate and volunteer recruitment will only enhance your campaigns.

Strategies for Advocate and Volunteer Recruitment

Find people who are already engaging. 

To aid in advocate and volunteer recruitment, begin by identifying the people who are regularly liking and sharing your social media posts, and the loyal alumni and parents who show up to every event. If your institution uses a pro-grade social media management tool, tap into its list of your most active followers. Even the folks who are regularly opening your emails are potential candidates–they’re already demonstrating that they want to feel connected to your institution.

Seek well-known community faces. 

Is there a faculty member that everyone on campus knows and loves? What about a veteran dining hall or grounds employee who has become a beloved fixture of the community over the years? Could you enlist someone to don your mascot’s costume and star in a short video? Would your Chancellor offer a Match? Faculty, staff, coaches, student leaders and athletes, and institutional leadership are all great resources for advocate and volunteer recruitment. Plus, donors will delight in seeing a familiar face on your campaign page!

Mine existing organized groups.

Student organizations, athletics teams, alumni groups, boards, and parent-teacher associations already have a higher level of buy-in to your institution and are accustomed to mobilizing to support it. These groups are a gold mine when looking for advocate and volunteer recruitment. To reach these potential supporters, consider tailoring your approach towards the individual group. Keep in mind that recruiting advocates and volunteers is similar to finding donors, the individual wants to feel personally connected to your cause enough so to motivate them to participate.

Consider other community partnerships.

Local schools are especially loved by the community around them. School support helps create and bolster a community. Even if an individual didn’t attend that school, often a neighbor or friend did which creates respect and love for the school. When considering advocate and volunteer recruitment, look outside parents and alumni to local community partners who engage with and support the school. Find creative ways to reach out and encourage them to contribute time, effort, and resources to your cause.

Ask your Advocates to be Advocates for Advocates. 

Say that ten times fast! Encourage existing volunteers and advocates to nominate potential recruits from their social circles. This is often the best form of advocate and volunteer recruitment, and can be a simple way to expand your pool of loyal supporters. 

Get Help With Advocate and Volunteer Recruitment

The way you ask your community members to become volunteers and advocates should be as thoughtful as the strategy you used to identify them as great candidates. Make them feel like VIPs and be sure to show them how they are making a difference and the role they play in helping you achieve your philanthropic goals. 

Want to learn how to recruit, train, and steward volunteers and advocates like a pro? GiveCampus has your back. Watch “Smiling from Peer-to-Peer: Leveling Up Your Advocacy” now. It’s a 30-minute session packed with practical resources you can start using immediately, including volunteer recruitment and training timelines, sample social media posts, and more. Watch now!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 2, 2021. It has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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