As a nonprofit committed to caring for animals in need, you understand the importance of having volunteers who share your vision and are willing to work towards your goals. However, attracting people to your cause can be difficult, especially when you operate with limited resources.
If you’re struggling to recruit volunteers for your animal-related nonprofit, we have some tips that can help:
- Define Roles and Opportunities
- Leverage Multichannel Marketing
- Partner With Local Businesses
- Participate in Community-Wide Events
Whether you’re rescuing strays, promoting wildlife conservation, or advocating for animal welfare, these insights will help you build a strong and committed volunteer team.
Seek input from current volunteers, staff, and other stakeholders to determine which aspects of your day-to-operations would benefit from additional volunteer support.
Then, create detailed role descriptions that align with your volunteer recruitment goals. To attract qualified candidates, these should include the following elements:
- Position title: A good volunteer position title will be concise and accurate, making it easy for potential volunteers to understand the role at a glance. For instance, a dog kennel in need of someone to help feed, clean, and socialize the animals should use a clear title like “Dog Cleaning and Healthcare Volunteer,” rather than an abstract or vague cliche like “Furry Friend Wellness Enthusiast.”
- Responsibilities: Outline the specific tasks that the volunteer will be responsible for. That way, potential volunteers will know what is expected of them and can assess whether or not the position aligns with their skills and interests.
- Qualifications: List any qualifications, skills, or experience that a volunteer should have to excel in the position. This is especially important for positions that require direct interaction with animals, whether that be through administering medication, training, or feeding.
- Time commitment: Specify the expected time commitment, including the number of hours per week or month, as well as the duration of the commitment (short-term or ongoing).
- Impact: Highlight the benefits of the volunteer position, such as personal growth, skill development, networking opportunities, and the chance to improve the well-being of animals in need.
During this stage, you should also create an application that captures important information like contact details, previous work or volunteer experience, and relevant skills. Display the role description prominently on the application, so volunteers know exactly what to expect when they sign up.
For the best results, share volunteer opportunities across multiple channels to reach as many potential supporters as possible. These channels may include:
- Social media: Create dedicated posts for each volunteer role, accompanied by engaging images of animals or volunteers in action. Include a brief description of the role, qualifications, and benefits in the caption, encouraging followers to share the opportunity with their own networks.
- Online: Add a dedicated “Volunteer Opportunities” page to your nonprofit’s website with open positions and application instructions. You can also post the opportunities on volunteer matching websites.
- Direct mail: For a more traditional approach, mail flyers to former volunteers, active supporters, and members of the community. These should showcase your nonprofit’s mission, feature available volunteer roles, and include a QR code or URL to your website for more information.
- Email: Send personalized emails to individuals who have expressed interest in volunteering or have volunteered in the past. Or, dedicate a section of your email newsletter to showcasing various volunteer opportunities.
If multichannel marketing seems like an overwhelming addition to your busy schedule, consider investing in an easy-to-use solution like Gingr’s pet business software. With their built-in marketing tools, you can automate outreach, segment mailing lists, and reach potential volunteers faster.
With cross-sector partnerships, your nonprofit can tap into corporate volunteer programs, access specialized skills from employees, and expand your reach to new audiences through joint initiatives.
To make the most of a cross-sector partnership, follow these steps:
- Identify alignment. Research and identify local businesses that have a genuine interest in social responsibility, community engagement, and animal welfare.
- Create a compelling proposal. Develop a tailored proposal that outlines how your two organizations will collaborate to achieve shared goals. Highlight your need for volunteer support and explain what the business can expect to receive in return, such as free publicity at your events for the following year and an improved reputation in the community.
- Promote volunteer grants. Encourage the company to explore volunteer grants. Double the Donation defines volunteer grants as a corporate giving initiative in which companies provide financial donations to nonprofits based on the volunteer hours contributed by their employees. It serves as an attractive recruitment tool, drawing in potential volunteers who are motivated by the prospect of their contributions resulting in both immediate impact and additional funding.
An example of a mutually beneficial partnership would be an animal rescue nonprofit partnering with a local pet daycare. The daycare could display promotional materials about the nonprofit’s volunteer opportunities, encouraging their customers to get involved. In return, the nonprofit cross-promotes the business to its supporters, who are likely to be pet owners themselves. This partnership not only helps the nonprofit reach potential volunteers in a relevant setting but also drives foot traffic and customer engagement for the pet daycare.
Participating in local community events, fairs, and expos can be a valuable opportunity to showcase your nonprofit’s work and connect with potential volunteers face-to-face.
Let’s say there’s an animal care conference in town. Register for the event and keep the following tips in mind to ensure your involvement is a success:
- Create a captivating booth display. Design an eye-catching booth that features photos of rescued animals, success stories, and impactful statistics. Include interactive elements like games, quizzes, or demonstrations to engage attendees and spark conversations about your cause.
- Invite existing volunteers to join. Have volunteers with experience in these roles share their firsthand accounts to give attendees a better understanding of what to expect.
- Collect contact information. Set up a system to collect contact information from prospective volunteers. This can be through sign-up sheets, tablets, or QR codes that lead to simple online forms.
After the event, send prospective volunteers personalized messages with further information about open volunteer positions and upcoming orientation sessions.
Next Steps: Onboard Your New Recruits
Following recruitment, host an orientation session that introduces volunteers to your organization, its values, and its goals. This should be followed by training lessons that equip volunteers with the skills and support they need to excel in their roles.
Once volunteers are onboard, supervise their work, recognize their accomplishments, and offer opportunities for growth. By creating a positive work environment, you can attract more volunteer support and make a greater impact on the animals in your care.