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How the Internet Has Changed Volunteering: An Insiders Guide to Recruiting a New Generation of Volunteers. Michele Canning Director of Volunteer Services San Francisco, Conservatory of Flowers. September 22, 2005. Who are they?. Serena Pahal Volunteer I Have a Dream.

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slide1

How the Internet Has Changed Volunteering:

An Insiders Guide to Recruiting a New Generation of Volunteers

Michele Canning

Director of Volunteer Services

San Francisco, Conservatory of Flowers

September 22, 2005

who are they
Who are they?

Serena Pahal

Volunteer

I Have a Dream

slide3

What are they interested in?

Deirdre Araujo

Manager of Volunteer Services

Exploratorium

slide4

What is so different?

Jeff Jones

Program Coordinator

MicroMentor

slide5

So What?

Bryan Connell

Volunteer

OUTDOOR Exploratorium Project

user research study
User Research Study

December 2003:

  • 996 random interviews selected from VM’s 30,000+ nonprofit user base1
  • 1,122 random interviews with active users sampled from VM’s 1.5+ million annual visitors2
  • Published in the Journal of Volunteer Administration, Volume 22, Number 3, 2004

1&2Based on 2003 Numbers

profile
Profile
  • Overwhelmingly female (84% women, 16% men)
  • Highly educated (57% have at least a college degree), and of the 39% who do not have a degree, half are under age 18
  • Young (50% are under age 30, 32% are 40+
  • Diverse (58% are Caucasian, 11% are African American, 10% are Hispanic)
what they care about
What they care about?

Compared to other things you do in your life, how important to you is your volunteer work?

One of the most important things in my life

Not very important

Somewhat important

Very important

how often do they volunteer
How often do they volunteer?

How many hours per visit do you volunteer?

How often do you volunteer?

Three or four hours

One or two hours

Once a week or more

Three times a year or less

One to three times a month

Four to 11 times a year

Five or more hours

Under an hour

first time volunteers
First-time volunteers

I had not volunteered before

I had volunteered before

what are they most interested in
What are they most interested in?

Children/youth

Animals

Homeless/housing

Education/literacy

Advocacy/human rights

Community

Arts/culture

Hunger

Environment

Women

Health/medicine

Crisis support

Seniors

what are their challenges
What are their challenges?

Finding volunteer opportunities that match my schedule

Getting specific information about volunteer opportunities

Finding volunteer opportunities that interested me

Finding opportunities nearby/ convenient to get to

Finding opportunities that matched my skills/abilities

Finding an organization with a cause I care about

Finding an organization that needed help

Finding an organization responsive/easy to work with

volunteers using the web to connect
Volunteers Using the Web to Connect

Monthly Visitors

50,000,000+ page views in 2004

nonprofits using the web to connect
Nonprofits Using the Web to Connect

Most useful nonprofit volunteer recruiting strategies

Word of mouth

Our Web site

Internet recruiting services

Live presentations to groups

Events

Newspaper ads

Local volunteer center

Relationship with local corporations

Direct mail

Radio/TV ads

71%

45%

37%

33%

29%

29%

17%

15%

8%

8%

finding the right place to serve
Finding the right place to serve

How many volunteer opportunities do you generally respond to before finding the right place to volunteer?

Two or three

Four to six

One

Seven or more

from referral to volunteer
From referral to volunteer

On average, what proportion of the people who respond are you able to engage as volunteers?

None ofthe people

50% to 100% of the people

1% to 9% of the people

20% to 49% of the people

10% to 19% of the people

impact on nonprofits

49%

38%

32%

26%

Impact on Nonprofits

Strongly agree with statement

Somewhat agree with statement

Has helped us reach out/ recruit volunteers we wouldn’t have found

Makes it easier for us to find the right volunteers

Has helped us find the volunteers we need

Has allowed us to free up valuable resources

85%

85%

79%

68%

impact on volunteers
Impact on volunteers

Strongly agree with statement

Somewhat agree with statement

86%

Makes it easier for me to find the right opportunity

I am more likely to find satisfying volunteer relationship

I am more likely to volunteer

50%

82%

40%

79%

41%

common online recruiting mistakes
Common Online Recruiting Mistakes
  • Putting the sign in the garage
  • Forgetting volunteers have choices
  • Not being specific enough
  • Mistaking a referral for a reservation
  • Not being ready to say, “No Thank You.”
  • Letting listings rot
an insiders guide
An Insiders Guide
  • Use the web to build relationships, not dump information
  • Give volunteers a chance to help the organization do what it does, not what the staff would rather not
  • Don’t feel obliged to take volunteers
  • Think big and re-shape your opportunities accordingly
  • Be choosey
  • It is your responsibility to lead
real world examples
Real World Examples
  • Think outside the box about what volunteers will do

Tech support, focus groups, web development

  • See the big picture, scale matters

Working with groups, national recruiting, automate

  • Distribute responsibility by breaking down big activities into manageable parts

Open source model, media volunteers

final observations
Final Observations
  • The web has quickly become a powerful tool bringing good people and good causes together
  • Choice and information are shaping a new generation of volunteers
  • Volunteers have higher expectations of their volunteer experiences
  • The growing supply of volunteers is allowing nonprofits to be more particular
  • Meaningful volunteer experiences require strong nonprofit leadership
thank you
Thank You

Serena Pahal

Volunteer

I Have a Dream