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Tips for attracting new volunteers online for the Big Help Out

6 April 2023

by Paige Patrick

Digital Communications Manager at Media Trust.



We’ve put together some tips to help you attract and retain new volunteers for the Big Help Out.

To mark the King’s coronation on Monday 8 May, some of Britain’s biggest charities have come together to create the Big Help Out – a campaign to get more people volunteering by using the extra bank holiday to give back. Their long-term aim is to encourage those who don’t traditionally volunteer to give it a try. National media coverage of the day means you’ve got huge potential to make noise about your cause and encourage new people to get involved. We’ve put together some tips to help you leverage this opportunity to attract and retain new volunteers.

This is the first in a two-part series of resources designed to help you maximise support on (and beyond!) the Big Help Out. Our next resource will focus on how you can turn first-time volunteers into long-term supporters.

Make sure your opportunity is clearly defined

Before you start writing any copy, make sure your opportunity is clearly defined. Write a short bullet pointed list about what you want from your volunteer and what impact they will have on your cause. Use this to build out your opportunity listing on the Big Help Out app and to develop any content. Almost think of it as a job description and answer the five W’s – Who, What, When, Where and most importantly, Why?

Let them know what skills might be needed, what the time commitment will be and what your desired outcome is. Prospective volunteers often want to know how they will be able to make a tangible difference, so be specific here and use past examples if you have them.

Create content that stands-out

There is going to be lot of traffic online in the run up to the Big Help Out with lots of organisations asking their audience for their time. So, you’ll want to make sure that your content stands out from the rest.

To start with get clear about why volunteers need to get involved, how they will make an impact for your cause. That means when writing your copy make sure to include information that appeals to your audiences’ motivations. Use action-oriented language and have a clear call to action that helps your reader understand what they need to do next to get involved.

If you’re stuck for inspiration, why not look at what other charities are doing and then think about how you could elevate or differentiate. There are over 165,000 voluntary organisations in UK, take a look at one of your favourites and start thinking about what they’re doing (or not doing!) to engage you. Which elements of their social posts, emails and volunteering opportunities are making you want to get involved? And what can you do to transform this into a unique piece of content?

One way to have a really distinct campaign is to have a strong creative that helps your campaign catch someone’s eye. You have options here, you could use a static image, a graphic or a video to promote your opportunity. Did you know that images and videos give you twice as much visibility on Twitter? You could even use a Gif to help enhance your point!

Just answer the question!

New volunteers are going to have a lot of questions and long-form piece of content are excellent ways of answering these. It will also help boost your SEO! If you’re looking to capture the attention of a new volunteer, have a think about some of the things they might have questions about and write a piece around this – for instance, ‘What skills do I need to be a volunteer?’ or ‘Will volunteering boost my CV?’. You can then share on your website, include a snippet in your email-marketing and adapt for socials.

Get your existing volunteers onboard

Have a think – are there any engaged volunteers who you could ask to create some content for you? You could suggest they record what day in the life of a volunteer looks like or have them write a blog on all the reasons why they love to volunteer for your cause. All of this will help convert perspective volunteers into signing up.

You could also send email to all your existing volunteers asking them to refer you to a friend or bring a friend along for the day. The power of word of mouth is still strong and one forward of an email or text to a friend could result in lots of new leads!

Post your opportunity on the Big Help Out app

Finally, if you don’t already have yourself set up already on the Big Help Out app you can get started here. It’s simple, just register yourself and your organisation and post your opportunity. Pay attention to the tips we’ve covered above, and we know you’ll get the volunteers you need.

Keep an eye out for our second part of this resource series on how you can adapt your comms to retaining all your new volunteers!

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