[Note: I originally wrote this post for the BaileyHill Media blog. Even though it is aimed at a political audience, I think there is a great deal of relevance for nonprofits or other organizations that are charged with building a strong volunteer network. Enjoy!]
Do your supporters know how to most effectively support you and your campaign? Sure, maybe those key individuals who have been with your campaign for a while know how to do it. But what about new supporters? Have you made it easy for them?
My majority of my professional background was spent in nonprofit association membership management. For my association to be successful, we had to be adept at quickly engaging prospects and helping them go from curious prospect to new member to passionate advocate. The cost of not engaging these individuals at their first exposure to the association could have dire consequences for the long-term success of the organization. It’s very much the same for your campaign. If you want to create a welcoming environment that helps turn a curious potential supporter into a passionately vocal advocate, here are a few ideas you can implement on your website and Facebook page:
Create a Volunteer 101 page. Don’t assume that everyone knows how to volunteer for a campaign or what they should expect from the experience. You likely find that many folks are getting involved in supporting a political candidate for the first time. Go beyond the all-too-typical Be A Volunteer/How I Can Help web form and post information like…
- a volunteer FAQ answering typical first-timer questions
- descriptions of volunteer activities with anticipated time commitments
- profiles of volunteers with their testimonials
Have your passionate volunteers serve as welcome committee. Go to almost any church and you’ll see a good model for how to welcome new folks to your campaign. As important as he or she is, it’s not the minister who does the bulk of the welcoming – its the passionately excited members of the congregation. Figure out who your most faithful are and prep them to reach out to prospects and new volunteers.
Show videos of other volunteers in action. Take away some of the mystery of volunteering by showing your volunteers canvassing door-to-door or making phone calls or hosting house parties. Create a documentary as volunteers share their experiences, what works, what doesn’t work and why they feel their volunteering for your campaign is so important.