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Volunteer Today is looking for one or more authors to write about technical issues, computer or otherwise, in the volunteer management world. If you are interested in contributing or know someone who is, please contact our managing editor Nancy Macduff at: editor@volunteertoday.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

This month's articles are provided by Nancy Macduff.

~ June 2007 ~ Topics

Recruiting Volunteers and Donors Online
Writer Needed for “Tech Tips” Page

Recruiting Volunteers and Donors Online

Right and left there are people and companies urging nonprofits, NGO's, and volunteer programs to recruit online or seek donations. There are software programs for sale, experts quick to sell advice, and pressure from the public to have more and more information online. A recent article in The Chronicle of Philanthropy (March 22, 2007) reviewed some basics to consider when pushing forward on online recruiting or fundraising. This list of recommendations is adapted from that article.

    • Check your technology - You need to ensure that you have the basic technologies in place to manage large databases, take applications online, and have automated responses. Time to chat with the IT person in your organization.
    • Start with a small project - Begin with a small in house project that provides the opportunity to interact with the target audience. As an example, if you want to recruit volunteers, begin with information on MySpace that provides personal information (volunteer to potential volunteer) about the work and joys of serving. Use it only as a way to allow people to gather more information. This interactivity can give you an idea of how a larger project might fare.
    • Build personal relationships - Volunteers who are seeking information online are likely to respond to the organization that develops a relationship with them BEFORE they complete the application and commit! Train volunteers on the Volunteer Recruiting team to be "first responders." He/she can answer questions of the potential volunteer and begin building that relationship. There should always be a mix of online and off line communication with volunteers and/or donors, that continues into the time of the service or donation the person provides.
    • Create control - A donor should be able to give online - completely. A volunteer should be able to complete all the paper work necessary to start. For volunteers, some rudimentary training can occur online as well. The online audience needs to feel like he/she is in control, because that is what happens on other sites. It is an expectation. If you cannot do that with the software currently available, maybe you are not ready to go online with recruiting and donations.
    • Make it simple - Often people who recruit put all the ifs and buts into the "pitch" when it is in person. The online environment requires simplicity. What is your message? "We need volunteers to flip hamburgers for a fund raiser on August 22." That is the message. You can get into the food handlers card, grilling experience, and the like once the person expresses interest. The simple message is especially key in raising money. Pick a single project or service, easily understood for the message to raise money. An example of this is the United Nation's campaign "Nothing But Nets." For $10.00, a person provides the money to buy mosquito netting for an African family. A clear, simple message.

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Writer Needed for "Tech Tips" Page

Tech Tips is the page to share information on everything from how to use Excel to developing "telephone trees." A writer with an interest in anything from online volunteering to creating donor databases would make a good writer for this page. Are you interested? If so, please contact the editor of Volunteer Today at: editor@volunteertoday.com.

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