Engaging Your Facebook Audience (Volunteer Edition)

Once you've penciled in the posts onto your social media calendar, you'll need to start developing the content. In the end, the most effective manner to recruit and retain your volunteers is through engaging your community. You want your “friends” to be so intrigued and excited that they remain involved and share your posts with their friends. The right content will not only create awareness for your mission and make your current volunteers feel valued, it will also act as a recruiting tool. Here are three (of six total) options for your volunteer content:

1. Create a Facebook calendar for each event and invite them to sign up. Once they accept the invitation, message each volunteer reiterating the date and why their help is so important to you. Send a personal thank you following the event. 

2. Produce a compelling video that explains your mission and why volunteers are so vital. Encourage volunteers to share it!

3. Post photos and videos of events and acknowledge the volunteers who attended. In addition to engaging current volunteers who will want to share this with their "friends," it will also show your appreciation and give potential volunteers an idea of what they can expect. This demonstrates that their efforts are valued and make a difference. Hands down, this is one of the most effective ways to recruit.

Have you ever tried these? Do they work for your audience? Check back for the final three content options and share your favorite options for engaging #volunteersinsocialmedia.

Facebook Posts, A Balancing Act (Volunteer Edition)

My last blog focused on fortifying and preparing your staff for utilizing social media to recruit, recognize, and retain volunteers. The next step is to consider post frequency: how many times each week should your organization be posting? You want to make certain that your community can feel your presence without inundating them with your posts. The Cause Marketing Forum recommends posting between two to five times each week, depending on your audience. How many posts should you devote to each content-type (mission, sponsorship, volunteer, etc.)? To keep your Facebook community excited and engaged, be careful not to focus too heavily on asks and make sure that your content always ties back to your mission (no matter the content-type). A portion of your posts should be devoted to your volunteers, and the exact number will vary by organization. Consider having dialogue with your current volunteers and staff to determine what makes the most sense for you. Then, schedule your posts for a month and begin drafting the content. Try it, measure your success, and make adjustments accordingly until you find the right frequency. Remember: measurement is key, so don’t skip this step.

Wondering what content is best for posts appealing to your volunteers? Check back for more on #volunteersinsocialmedia.

Amanda, ckSYNERGY

The Importance of Coffee: Staff Engagement

We are all busy professionals and we are looking for small changes that can make great improvements in our organizations. I would argue that one of the best changes you can make is to get more coffee…. How does coffee lead to such lofty ends you might ask? Well it is more the conversation than the coffee but the general idea is that you schedule a time or “coffee catch up” with each staff member every 6-8 weeks. You use this time to check in with your staff and have a dialogue about how things are going, what things they need to make them more effective in their role and how you can support them. When things are not going as well as you would like, this is a great opportunity to make a course correction before it becomes a bigger problem. One of the best things I was told as I became a manager for the first time was that there needs to be open dialogue with your staff and  when performance review time comes there should never be any surprises. In reality, I have often found that even when we have the best of intentions, we don’t have these conversations often enough.  We are overwhelmed with putting the fires out and don't think we have time; however, I have found that if we schedule these “coffee catch-ups” and make them a priority, we have fewer fires to put out because we have a happier more engaged staff.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Colleen, ckSYNERGY

What your Facebook says about you (Volunteer Edition)

Facebook pervades all aspects of our lives and has become one of the most accessible sources for current events, social interactions, crowd sourcing, and voicing opinions. Facebook, therefore, has become a key component in building your organization’s brand identity. You are responsible for not only staying on top of the constant Facebook updates, but also ensuring that your content is always fresh, intriguing, and inviting. If executed properly, Facebook is an effective tool to gain support from our community, both on and offline. This blog series will focus specifically on social media as a platform for volunteer engagement. Your organization can garner active participation for your programs by recruiting, recognizing, and retaining volunteers within the Facebook community.

Before getting started, be aware of the challenges. Your volunteer managers must be prepared for the influx of volunteers with trainings and worthwhile activities. If your organization recruits volunteers before you have the capacity to manage them, volunteers will leave feeling unvalued and unfulfilled. You risk angry Facebook posts from these frustrated volunteers, which can hurt your reputation. Organizations all too often think that Facebook is a free and simple way to promote and recruit, not understanding that social media demands additional resources. If your organization does not have the resources to accommodate the demands of Facebook, you can enlist dedicated volunteers, but be cautious because they will be directly representing your brand and public image. To avoid tarnishing your reputation, write out a policy handbook and train your volunteers (and employees) to follow these procedures.

Check back for a new update on #volunteersinsocialmedia.

How does your organization use Facebook to engage volunteers? Tell me what you think.

Amanda, ckSYNERGY