Did you realize volunteers are all around you?
How about your Mum who has probably been volunteering to support your endeavours since you were in the under 9 soccer team? And then there is your older brother who used to drive you to senior school before you had your license? And don’t forget about the guy who coached your hockey team and lady who showed you where the rest rooms were when you last went through an airport?
Volunteers are everywhere and we often don’t even realize. Some of them are offering to help out because they have a personal relationship with you and are just waiting to ask, others because they are no longer in the business and want to stay connected (did you know most of those airport volunteers are retired flight attendants and aviation enthusiasts?) or they are passionate about a cause. These the three best ways to find volunteers to help you with your enterprise and crowding funding – people who know, people who are no longer full time in the industry and those who care about the issue.
When you are planning your recruitment of volunteers think about these are three micro markets and build a plan for each of them. Remember that everyone likes to be asked and absolutely nothing makes up for the personal invitation so start there and encourage your early adopter volunteers to invite a friend to join them, once they are part of your team.
The next most important thing to remember is to say thank you. There is a golden rule in volunteer management and that rule is: you can’t thank volunteers often enough. I think recognition is important too, so how about setting up a volunteer honour roll listing the names and contribution given eg Mary gave ten hours of her time virtual volunteering on social media to promote this project. Her efforts brought in 10% of the funds! You can even go a step further and value the volunteering effort in your crowdfunding budget for instance – this project will include 500 hours of volunteering worth an equivalent of $17,500AUD which is the equivalent of every dollar donated is bringing in $2 volunteer time dollars … I am sure you get the idea.
There are formal channels you can look for volunteers such as your local Volunteer Centre, and for industry connections try the professional associations and retired workers groups affiliated with the project. You can also look to university programs where students are seeking internships or industry experience, or people returning to the workforce after injury or becoming a parent, so don’t forget the employment agencies, rehab centres and neighbourhood centres with playgroups to find potential volunteers. The experience of working with you on crowdfunding might be just the ticket for them to help them re-enter the workforce.
So next time you are looking for more volunteers to support your enterprise and your crowdfunding have a look around you and the networks you need to tap into might be closer than you think!