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Learn tips and hints to use a variety of electronic and technical equipment to enhance work with volunteers.

~February 2010~


Do you know if your organization is a topic of Tweets or blogs?  Are you actively creating a social media presence that attracts new styles of volunteers?  Here are four strategies to position your organization and/or volunteer program's image.


Monitoring is finding and tracking the conversations that are occurring about your organization or volunteer program in social media and online. (Twitter, blogs, FaceBook, YouTube, etc.)  Even if you have no intention using  social media marketing strategy for recruiting,  it is a must to monitor what’s being said about you.   Younger and techno savvy potential volunteers are probably going to check out the organization and its volunteer program before seeking you out.  What are the good things being said about your program; and what are the bad? Negative comments-especially those that expose a legitimate flaw can spread and become an accepted view of who you are.

Monitoring is also the foundation of a social media marketing strategy for recruiting volunteers.  . It starts with listening.  You cannot organize a social media strategy to attract new people if you have no view of how you are viewed by others.


Engaging occurs when an organization or volunteer program decides to take an active role in social media by engaging with those who are writing about you on the Internet. This might be public blogs, social networks, and social service communities. The goal in social media engagement is to influence participants to have a positive impression of the organization through factual, verifiable contributions from the organization or outside evaluators.

Monitoring your image on line is a position that cries out for a virtual volunteer.  It might be a knowledgeable current volunteer who is social media experienced or an outsider interested in the mission of the organization.. The objective is not to push a point of view, but participate in influencing the conversation.  Some tips to do that:

  • Find relevant online communities and blogs and build relationships with discussion leaders and members
  • Become a regular contributors to influential blogs and be willing to weigh in on issues not directly related to recruiting or the organizational mission
  • Respond to volunteer suggestions and complaints
  • Link volunteers to other volunteers or staff with more information when a question arises.  The person needs to have a willingness to follow up directly


Managing means that the volunteer programs take an active role in creating conversations about the organization, its mission, and specifically how volunteers are influencing the achievement of the goals. 
 Examples include:

  • Organizational or Volunteer Program blogs. Social media is a place where the organization or the volunteer program cannot control the conversation or squash criticism.  What it can do is help improve perception and awareness. Organizational blogs can be managed by the volunteer program, but should not be written by the volunteer manager as only a recruiting tool. Potential contributors or volunteers want to hear from subject matter experts and influencers.
  • Public and private online communities. Besides creating online communities in third-party hosted social media venues like LinkedIn, organizations can start their own communities, both public and private. Organizations can create multiple hosted forums, both public and private.



Social media efforts need to be integrated into the organization’s traditional marketing efforts; recruiting fairs, educational programs, speaking at organizations, and the like. The impact of social media is difficult to measure and the return on the time spent is unclear, even in the corporate environment, where the resources to track such things are better. It is important to keep track of response to social media activities in this area and to engage volunteers to carry out the work.  Social media can be used as a way to drive traffic to the recruiting and donation channels that are easier to measure There should also be a way to get volunteers and donors from social media into systems for tracking and managing interactions.

Adapted from a blog for businesses: April 3, 2009 by Chris Koch

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