Posted by Jay Wilkinson

When you’re recruiting volunteers for your organization, you’re obviously going to pitch your cause and the impact you make on your community. Volunteering for a nonprofit is an obvious way to help others, and most of the people who volunteer are looking for just that—a way to help.

But there’s more to volunteering than giving back. Have you ever considered that it’s an opportunity for your volunteers to help themselves as well? From honing professional skills to expanding their network, volunteering can be a win-win for both your volunteers and the people you serve.

In your recruitment efforts, it’s not a bad thing to point out how rolling up your sleeves and donating time and energy can make a positive difference in your volunteers’ lives, even beyond doing good. You never know who you may inspire to give back when you mention what’s in it for them.

Here are five things to tell prospects that may encourage more of them to sign up.

  1. “It can fuel your passion.” Even the happiest employees can get stuck in a rut, and people who love their day jobs can get bored. Volunteering for an organization like yours offers people something new to invest in and may reignite a spark for those who are feeling bogged down with their daily routines. Position volunteer opportunities as a way for people get excited again about something they love.
  2. “You can learn new skills.” For people who want to stretch themselves, volunteer opportunities that help them develop new skills are perfect. Professional development isn’t limited to workday hours; you may have volunteer opportunities you can position as “the perfect way to challenge yourself.” Also, remember to mention that your volunteers can (and should) add their volunteer experience to their resume, something that’s particularly important for those who are unemployed.
  3. “It will expand your network.” Not only do volunteers meet others who are like-minded and support the same cause, but they may also find personal and professional connections that could prove advantageous. Getting out and helping your organization could provide a more fulfilling way to network than attending their industry’s next business luncheon. Volunteering is a unique way to meet new people and expand your circle—that’s a great selling point for those who care about growing their network.
  4. “Volunteering provides exposure to new ways of doing things.” Many professionals are curious about how other companies and organizations operate; it helps them learn new ways of managing, brainstorming and problem solving. Don’t worry if you face challenges you’d rather not share—that’s true in every organization. But there may be some things you do very well. For example, you may have an extremely efficient event registration process. Mention that when you recruit people to help at your next event. “Sign up to help check in runners at our next 5K and see how we’ve perfected event registration.” It doesn’t have to be that bold, but you get the idea.
  5. “You can use it as a team building experience.” This is a perfect pitch for companies, teams or departments who are looking to create a sense of comradery and encourage stronger relationships. Volunteering for your organization may be an effective way to build their team while giving back to the community at the same time. Look for companies in your community who would be a good fit for your organization and present volunteer opportunities as “team building exercises” to them.

How you talk to your prospects, supporters and volunteers about your organization and what’s in it for them is crucial. Email marketing is one way to get your message across loud and clear, plus it’s very effective and inexpensive. To learn more about how email marketing can help you engage with your community, call 877.447.8941 or email