Nonprofits often face challenges in recruiting and managing volunteers for their virtual event opportunities. Some struggle to place volunteers in the right roles, while others have difficulty articulating what volunteers should actually do throughout the virtual experience.
If this sounds like your nonprofit, you can implement a few simple tips and strategies to create more fulfilling and effective opportunities for virtual volunteers.
To increase volunteer satisfaction, it’s crucial to approach virtual volunteer management strategically, from recruitment and training to using virtual event software that empowers volunteers to do their best.
To boost virtual event volunteer satisfaction, your nonprofit should:
- Get creative when determining volunteer roles.
- Offer a valuable training experience.
- Maintain lines of communication.
- Empower volunteers to share their experiences.
- Show your appreciation for volunteers’ contributions.
Increasing volunteer satisfaction requires a strategic, thoughtful approach to volunteer engagement and management. When volunteers are engaged in their roles and empowered to do their best, your virtual event as a whole will benefit. Let’s dive in!
1. Get creative when determining volunteer roles.
When it comes to virtual events, there are plenty of opportunities for your volunteers to take part in. When sharing these opportunities on your communication platforms, think of intriguing and attention-grabbing descriptions. A role description that’s creative or interesting will spark prospective volunteers’ interest more than a generic call for assistance.
One way to make your volunteer opportunity descriptions stand out is by planning creative, engaging volunteer tasks. Some roles that your volunteers can help with include:
- Creating event marketing materials such as digital graphics and invitations
- Crafting and scheduling email and social media campaigns
- Promoting your event using their personal social media pages
- Writing blog posts or event descriptions
- Creating a promotional video
- Providing troubleshooting or virtual assistance during the live event
- Calling or emailing donors and other supporters ahead of time to personally invite them to the event
When crafting your volunteer promotional posts, be sure to also think about the type of volunteers you are looking to recruit. If you’re looking for artistic volunteers who are good with graphic design, mention in your role description that the opportunity involves hands-on creative work or design software knowledge. Or, perhaps you’re looking to recruit videographers and editors to craft a promotional video. If so, describe that the position requires volunteers to use their own equipment and video creation knowledge.
When volunteers sign up for your opportunity, ask them about their skills and preferences to match them with roles that suit their interests. Store these findings using your volunteer management system to reference for future volunteer opportunities.
These types of opportunities engage volunteers in every aspect of your virtual opportunity, offering them a fulfilling experience and giving your organization the support it needs for a successful event.
2. Offer a valuable training experience.
Every volunteer deserves a good training experience that teaches them something new, equips them with the tools they need to perform well, and gets them excited for event day.
Offer a comprehensive virtual event training program that teaches volunteers any skills they’ll need during the event. To train volunteers effectively, you can:
- Offer an e-learning course – Online training allows volunteers to learn at their own pace and fit their lessons into their busy schedules. Consider creating a set of modules for providing information on different tasks your volunteers will have to complete. E-learning also enables you to track how far volunteers are in the training process so you can note which individuals are ready to move on to the next steps.
- Create a training video – Videos facilitate greater engagement and provide an enjoyable learning experience. Approximately 75% of employees in training prefer using videos to retain information rather than documents and lectures, so this is a great way to offer a fun learning experience. Customize videos to your organization’s training needs.
- Host live Zoom training lessons – Hosting live training lessons over Zoom allows you to share your screen for your volunteers to follow along. It also allows attendees to participate and ask questions in real-time, which boosts engagement.
When volunteers receive proper training, they feel empowered to do their best. This can lead to a more satisfying virtual volunteer experience.
3. Maintain lines of communication.
An effective communication strategy is a central factor in keeping your volunteers engaged. Don’t leave volunteers in the dark if they have questions or concerns leading up to or during your virtual event. To motivate and energize your volunteers in their work, make sure they know where to find important information and who to reach out to with questions.
If you have a large group of volunteers, you may want to segment your volunteers based on how they would like to receive information. For instance, if you’re looking to deliver information about an upcoming event to a group of young volunteers, consider creating group messaging chats or a Facebook group.
Those who belong in the age group between 18-24 check their phones an average of 86 times a day, which is why this communication method would be most effective for them. Your volunteers can view your messages and respond quickly on their smartphones.
Ensure your communication strategy is a two-way street where volunteers feel comfortable coming to you with questions. You want to create an environment where your team members can share their thoughts, ideas, and opinions—this shows your volunteers that you care about what they think.
You can even loop volunteers into your decision-making process by sending them polls or surveys ahead of your virtual event opportunity. This helps them feel like integral members of the team, boosting volunteer satisfaction.
4. Empower volunteers to share their experiences.
Who knows more about your nonprofit’s mission and day-to-day activities more than your dedicated volunteers? You can engage your volunteers in an important, public-facing role during your virtual event by allowing them to speak about their experiences in front of a wider audience.
There are many ways to empower your volunteers to share their meaningful experiences with your community at their comfort level. For instance, you may have some longtime volunteers or volunteers who were once recipients of your organization’s services. Ask if these volunteers are willing to and interested in speaking at your virtual event to share their stories.
However, not every volunteer will feel comfortable speaking in front of a large audience and sharing their experience, so provide alternative options for these individuals. Encourage them to write a short blog post or article about their experience. Share their post on your nonprofit’s website and social media pages for your followers to read. Or, ask volunteers to contribute a short video describing their experiences. Combine these clips into a longer video to play during your virtual event.
These ideas are effective opportunities to give your volunteers more significant roles while offering event attendees a firsthand look at the work your organization does. If your event resonates with attendees, you’ll have an easier time securing their ongoing support.
5. Show your appreciation for volunteers’ contributions.
Volunteer appreciation is a crucial component of increasing virtual event volunteers’ satisfaction. Recognition helps build self-esteem and confidence. Volunteers will feel a greater sense of personal fulfillment when your organization expresses appreciation for their help.
Ongoing recognition is crucial to keep volunteers motivated, and can be personalized to each individual and their level of engagement. InitLive offers several volunteer appreciation ideas to help you get started:
- Offer free merchandise – This can be t-shirts, hats, face masks, or goodie bags. You can design your merchandise with your organization’s logo on it to promote your brand.
- Post shout-outs on social media – Social media is the best place to spotlight volunteers’ accomplishments and reach a large audience all at once. Post a picture of your team or specific individuals who went above and beyond and highlight what they did.
- Organize letters from the community – Invite community members to write letters to the volunteers who make a difference in their lives. Your volunteers would love to see that their hard work contributed to a positive impact, and nothing feels better than words of gratitude coming from the people they served!
When volunteers know their contributions are valued, they’ll feel much more inclined to participate in future virtual events. Your volunteers donate many hours to support your cause, and in return, it’s essential to show them that you notice and appreciate their efforts.
Happy volunteers make all the difference in keeping your nonprofit’s virtual events running smoothly. Now that you’ve learned the different ways you can enhance volunteer satisfaction during virtual events, it’s time to plan accordingly!
Remember to start by making your volunteer job descriptions fun and exciting and offering in-depth training sessions to help supporters feel confident from the get-go. From there, maintain consistent communication and incorporate any volunteer feedback you receive. Continue to show your appreciation, and your volunteers will have a memorable experience with your virtual event. Good luck!
Author: Shreya Tragad
Digital Marketing Specialist at InitLive
Shreya is a creative content creator focusing 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.