It’s National Volunteers Week from June 1st - 7th so we are reflecting on more ways that the Internet can help charities and not-for-profit organisations recruit new volunteers.

Last year we explored how the internet can boost volunteering programs and as National Volunteers Week takes place again this week, we thought it was a great time to reflect on more ways the Internet makes it easier to volunteer. From acting as a digital database to being a platform for recruiting volunteers, the internet can be a huge help.

Online databases listing opportunities

Sites such as Do-It and Give Where You Live let people search for volunteering opportunities that best suit them. The online search tools let volunteers enter their postcode to find local opportunities while also allowing them to select specific causes they’d like to help and the times they are available.  Other sites such as vInspired are aimed at a specific audience (vInspired works with young people) meaning they can provide more targeted opportunities at the click of a button.

Volunteering through a computer

For people who want to volunteer but don’t have the means or time to get to a specific location, there are more and more ways that individuals can help out without leaving home. E-befriending is one such project facilitated by the internet with charities such as The National Autistic Society running schemes to match individuals with young autistic people.  In doing this they can offer much-needed support, guidance and friendship to people with autism at times which are most convenient to them. BeatBullying offers a similar service which lets young people volunteer to become a Jubilee Mentor who can offer support to people who are being bullied around the country.

Digital tools to help campaigns

Recently, we’ve seen many social media campaigns acting as a great tool to recruit volunteers. One which really seemed to gain momentum was this year’s Great Daffodil Appeal from Marie Curie which used social media at every stage of their recruitment process, from the initial call out for volunteers on Facebook and Twitter right through to a Pinterest gallery showing people out on the streets fundraising after the event. Combining social media with a Youtube video allows for potential volunteers to see what volunteering involves and how enjoyable the experience is. To put it simply, people invest in people and there are many online tools which make it easy to share personal stories of volunteering to encourage others.

Making the most of influencers

We’ve talked before about how charities should be trying to engage with social media influencers with similar interests to them. Tools such as Followerwonk can be used to identify Twitter users who have “Your charity’s name + volunteer” in their Twitter biographies and you can use this knowledge to start conversations with them. By having these online conversations with people with a large and engaged following, you can invite these users to share their story of what volunteering means to them and why others should get involved.

Are there any other ways the Internet can help boost volunteering? Leave a comment to let us know or get in touch at hello@reasondigital.com

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