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This month's articles are provided by Nancy Macduff.
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
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,
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.