Social Media and Volunteer Engagement: Expanding Your Organization’s Reach
It’s a common scenario – an organization is hosting a day of service for a large group of volunteers. But at the end of the day, the only social media posts that can be found outside of the organization’s own posts are from just a small handful of the volunteers. As a result, a great opportunity to promote the day of service and the organization to a wider audience has been lost.
Don’t let this be your organization. According to Smart Insights, 59% of the world’s population used social media in 2022. Between Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, most of your volunteers have a network of hundreds – if not thousands – of followers who have the potential to become future volunteers or donors. Leverage their social media reach by mobilizing your volunteers to share their experiences. Here are some easy ways to get started.
Visible Signage that Highlights Social Media
Post signs around the project site with your social media handles and relevant hashtags so volunteers know who and what to tag. You want to make it easy for those that may see the volunteer post to find your organization and learn more. If volunteers aren’t clear on what to tag or don’t remember, they’ll likely skip this important step.
Address Social Media During the Project Orientation and Closing
You have the signs up. Now make sure you are actively encouraging the volunteers to share their experiences on social media. Reinforce that you want them to tag your organization and if applicable, use a hashtag. You’ll want to be specific about any additional asks you have of them – “share your favorite photos from the project” and/or “share your favorite moment during the project.”
If Volunteers are from a Company or Civic Group, Align with Them in Advance
Chances are that if you’re engaging a company or civic group, they are planning to promote their participation in the project on their social media channels. Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of their strategy so your organization is well represented. Connect with the group leader in advance to discuss their social media goals and design a plan that is mutually beneficial. Any signage and volunteer instructions should capture social media information from both your organization and the group.
Build a Social Media Call to Action into the Project
If you don’t want to leave it to chance, build a five-minute window for social media into the project itself. For example, at the end of the project when the volunteers come back together, ask everyone to pull out their phones, open their favorite social media app and post about the project.
Acknowledge Volunteer Social Media Posts
It’s all about the “likes”! If volunteers have taken the time to promote your organization on social media, make sure that you recognize this by liking their post, thanking them in the comments or sharing on your own channels. It feels good to be acknowledged and your volunteers will be more inclined to share their experiences again in the future if you do so… not to mention, your own social media followers will be able to see what’s going on and may be encouraged to get more involved!