Volunteer recruitment is the crucial first step of the volunteer management cycle, but it can often be one of the most challenging parts of the process. You not only need to get in touch with potential new volunteers but also convince them to take the leap and sign up for your program. 

Your nonprofit’s website will be one of your most effective tools during the recruitment phase of the volunteer journey. Your website is your online hub for sharing volunteer program information and facilitating a convenient sign-up process. 

In this guide, we’ll explore five ways you can improve your website to support your volunteer recruitment goals, including: 

  1. Learn more about your target audience.
  2. Make it easy to learn more about your volunteer program. 
  3. Keep your volunteer event calendar updated. 
  4. Use multimedia elements to promote your program.
  5. Promote your website using digital ads.

The top nonprofit websites, from Doctors Without Borders to Feeding America, focus on creating an optimized volunteer journey using clear navigation, engaging content, and other design best practices. Let’s take a look at how you can achieve similar results with your organization’s website. 

1. Learn more about your target audience.

Any website redesign or update project should begin with audience research. When you understand your potential volunteers’ motivations and interests, you can design your web content to better appeal to them.  

Start your audience research by taking a closer look at your volunteer profiles for current volunteers. These profiles should have information about volunteers’:

  • Demographics
  • Employment status
  • Skills and passions
  • Reasons why they support your cause
  • General availability

If your volunteer profiles are missing any information, you can also send out brief surveys to gather more data. 

Use this information to create volunteer personas based on commonly shared characteristics across your current volunteer base. Personas can help you understand volunteers’ motivations, availability, preferred communication methods, and more. 

For example, let’s say your organization is a healthcare-focused nonprofit. Your target volunteer audience might be doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals looking to volunteer in their spare time. 

When you understand the motivations and preferences of these individuals, you can design more engaging web content that appeals to them. For example, you might design a volunteer calendar that provides clear dates and times of volunteer opportunities so that busy healthcare professionals can easily choose opportunities that work best for their schedules.

2. Make it easy to learn more about your volunteer program. 

Prospective volunteers should be able to access program information quickly and easily after landing on your website. Streamline the user journey with the following website elements: 

  • Calls to action (CTAs). These are buttons or links that direct users to your volunteer information page. Include CTAs on your website homepage and within your main menu. Make them stand out by using eye-catching colors and engaging phrases, such as “Help Your Neighbors” or “Register for Our Next Virtual Volunteer Training.” 
  • Detailed volunteer information page. Your volunteer program landing page should recap all the information potential supporters need to get involved. This includes the purpose of your program, upcoming volunteer opportunities, and how interested individuals can sign up. 
  • Easy-to-use registration tool. Offer a speedy registration process by ensuring your sign-up form only asks for essential information, such as volunteers’ names, contact information, emergency contact information, and availability. Send additional information in a comprehensive follow-up email after volunteers have registered with details about how they can sign up for a training session. 

A comprehensive, well-designed volunteer landing page can be an effective marketing tool and educational resource that provides first-time volunteers with a positive first impression of your organization. 

3. Keep your volunteer event calendar updated. 

Prospective volunteers will be more impressed when they head to your website and see a full volunteer event calendar with plenty of ways to get involved. This shows that your nonprofit is active in the community and that it consistently works toward its mission. 

It’s also helpful to offer volunteer experiences with different expectations so supporters can get involved in the opportunities that work best for their availability. For example, you might offer events like: 

  • Microvolunteer opportunities. These are shorter, often one-time opportunities that don’t require a long-term commitment. For example, you might offer one-hour shifts to help sort a recent shipment of supplies or manage your annual 5K event. 
  • Recurring volunteer opportunities. For recruits who are motivated to get involved on an ongoing basis, offer regular volunteer opportunities that take place at the same time each week or month. 
  • Virtual volunteer opportunities. These experiences provide a convenient opportunity to help out from home. Plus, they can be more accessible for volunteers with physical disabilities or transportation restrictions. 

Volunteers will be more likely to get involved when they can choose from a variety of opportunities to find the ones that best fit their preferences. Promote a variety of volunteer events to engage supporters’ unique interests and skills and appeal to a larger audience. 

4. Use multimedia elements to promote your program.

When it comes to driving website engagement, providing a user-friendly experience that helps visitors find what they’re looking for quickly is key. An MIT study revealed that the human brain can process visuals in as little as 13 milliseconds, meaning that multimedia visual content can be one of your most powerful tools for driving better engagement. 

Consider incorporating the following multimedia elements into your website to promote your volunteer opportunities: 

  • Videos. 91% of marketers say that video has helped them increase website traffic. Your videos can feature quick interviews with current volunteers, video recaps of volunteer opportunities, or testimonials from community members who have benefited from the work that volunteers do. Keep your videos brief to maintain audience attention — the ideal homepage or landing page video should be only about 30-60 seconds long
  • Photo slideshows. Photos can also help bring your volunteer program to life, which is why your website should feature plenty of images of volunteers in action. Include a photo slideshow of volunteers at events or a timeline of images that reveal progress updates for a specific project. 
  • Graphics. Infographics can highlight need-to-know information for prospective volunteers in an easily-digestible format. For example, you can feature stats about the success of your program or a timeline that shows your program’s growth over time. 

MemberClicks’ volunteer recruitment guide recommends cross-promoting your visual content on your social media platforms. They stress the importance of making all of your content shareable so current supporters can help spread the word about your program. 

Ensure your website content includes social share buttons so that current supporters can help you spread the word about your program. Tag current volunteers in your social media photo albums so they can easily share photos of themselves having fun at your events. 

5. Promote your website using digital ads.

Digital ads on search engines such as Google and Bing can help you share information about your volunteer program with a wider audience. And, with the Google Ad Grant program, you can access $10,000 per month in free Google advertising, providing a major boost to your marketing efforts without breaking the bank. 

Advertising your volunteer program using Google ads offers a few key benefits:

  • You can increase brand awareness through multichannel promotion. 
  • You can increase traffic to your website.
  • You can boost conversion rates, driving more program sign-ups.

Check out Google’s Ad Grant program information page to assess your eligibility and start your application. 

One of the most important aspects of maintaining Google Ad Grant program compliance is ensuring that your website is functioning properly and that it offers valuable information about your nonprofit and its mission. Google wants to ensure that the pages you link to in your ads are valuable for users. 

To maintain compliance with this regulation, keep your website’s content fresh and up to date. Also, upgrade your website’s version when necessary to keep up with new security releases and take advantage of new features. For Drupal users, Kanopi’s Drupal planning and development guide recommends upgrading your website whenever your current version is approaching its end of life. For WordPress users, it’s important to update your website when a new version of the WordPress core is released. 

With these tips and strategies, your website will be well-positioned for driving volunteer registrations and sharing information about your program. Prospective new volunteers will be impressed by your website’s resources and user-friendliness, and current volunteers can use the platform to find more information about upcoming opportunities. By leveraging cross-promotion on social media and search engines, you can create a well-rounded digital marketing strategy that serves your organization for years to come.

About the Author:
Anne Stefanyk from Kanopi

As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs, and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions.

Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.

Related Blog Posts