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How to write a great volunteer opportunity

10 May 2024

by Media Trust



With so many charities looking for volunteer support, how do you make sure that your role stands out from the crowd? Here are our top tips for writing an engaging volunteer opportunity that excites volunteers based within the media and communications sector.

Appeal to people’s motivations for volunteering

People volunteer their time and professional expertise for many varied reasons, but there are often common themes when volunteers feedback on why they wanted to volunteer. They want to:

  • Make a positive impact and drive social change in the world
  • Build awareness around a certain social cause that they are passionate about
  • Give back and make a difference to support charities doing great work
  • Expand their work portfolio and develop professionally by working on different projects

It’s important to make sure to describe exactly how the volunteer will be able to make a tangible impact, build awareness of your cause, grow their experience, and how this will support your charity to achieve its goals.

Be specific about the skills you need and in which area of expertise

Charities must consider what specific skills they’re looking for from a volunteer in order to support their communications challenge. There are many different areas that our professional volunteers have expertise in:

  • Brand and visual identity
  • Comms strategy and planning
  • Copywriting, editing and proofreading
  • Creative campaigns
  • Data and analytics
  • Film and content production
  • Graphic design
  • Internal comms
  • Marketing
  • PR and journalism
  • Social media and digital marketing
  • Website design and management

Our volunteers can offer short-term/project-based support in three ways:

  • Mentoring your organisation to develop strategies and campaigns that engage your audiences and achieve your communications objectives
  • Creating compelling content for your organisation, from films and photography to branding and logos
  • Training your employees, colleagues, volunteers, and beneficiaries to develop their own communications skills, confidence, and capacity

The more specific you are about what kind of support you are looking for, the more likely it is that you will attract volunteers with the right skill set for your needs. If you are not sure what kind of expertise you need, contact our team for guidance.

Give a full picture  

Providing the volunteer with information on the challenge, the task, and what success looks like will help them make an informed decision. With this information, the volunteer can decide whether they have the right time, skills, and experience to help you.

  • What is the communications challenge that you are facing?
  • What is the project/task that you want delivered?
  • What would a successful outcome look like?
  • How will you measure the success of this outcome?

The clearer you are about your expectations and what you are hoping to achieve, the easier it will be for the volunteer to help you meet your goals.

Be realistic in your ask

Most of our volunteers will be volunteering alongside their full-time professional roles, while others may be freelance creatives who like to offer a helping hand between projects. Therefore, it is important to be realistic about the time-commitment of the project or task and set achievable goals for the volunteer. It could be helpful to start with the minimum amount of support you would need, and then talk through with the volunteers what extra could be done if they are able to give more time.

Explain what support you will give

Let the volunteer know that you appreciate their time and skills by showing that you have planned support for them. Support could look like:

  • Giving them an introduction to the charity, your context, challenges, and aims
  • Sharing relevant documents and information that will support their role
  • Providing a key contact at your organisation for questions and support
  • Offering to write a recommendation or testimonial for their services

Finally, keep the language simple and jargon-free

It’s easy to catch ourselves using lots of lingo in the charity sector which people from other sectors may not understand. So, keep an eye out for internal jargon, initialisms, and acronyms. The clearer the language, the less guess work the volunteer will have to do.

If you have any more questions about recruiting volunteers through our platform, you can check out our FAQ page or contact volunteering@mediatrust.org.

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