Social Media and Volunteering

Social Media and Volunteering

Gone are the days where you simply walked into a non-profit organization and said “I want to volunteer” and they fell all over you with gratitude. Now, in our current world climate non-profits are interviewing volunteers like they would hire employees.


Non-profit organization are more vulnerable than ever to those within our society who would prey on and benefit from relationships from our most susceptible citizens. Out of the 86,000 CRA registered non-profit organizations ( Sector Source ) a significant number of them work with and for humanity purposes, therefore they work with people. As non-profit organization must protect their current volunteers and clients, they should show due diligence by having a thorough interview process.


Consider that your new volunteer applicant is like a new employee. You will want to have an application so they can fill out not only their personal information but a few key questions that right out of the gate will give you red flags. For example, ask emotional intelligence questions similar to


  1. What makes you easily frustrated or angry. This will give you insight in to how do they manage their frustration when listening to or working with people who might complain a lot.  
  2. What type of person do you like working with? This allows you to be sure you are placing them with other like-minded people. You don’t want to place and introvert with and group of extroverts

Conduct an in-person interview, ask different questions –

  1. What hobbies or interests do you have-you will be surprised the hidden skills that your organization might make use of
  2. Do you have medical conditions such as allergies we should be aware of-this is important for proper placement and shows the applicant you are concerned for the well-being.

Check references – this is important just as you check references for employees check them for new volunteers. Ask the same questions as such as,

  1. Do they arrive on time?
  2. How well do they get along with others?

Vulnerable person check must be considered mandatory. Many police departments will offer free child and criminal records checks for registered non-profits organizations.

What has any of this to do with social media?

Plenty. In our busy lives, everything we want to know, buy, subscribe too and even volunteer is all done online or on smart phones. Organizations who need volunteers will have their applications on line. Schedule interviews, email volunteers and post volunteer schedules. One such program used is Volgistics.. Volunteers can get updates on positions that are opening up, communicate directly with the Volunteer Coordinator and even request time off, all from the comfort of their chairs.

            Volunteers have their own social media platforms in which they post pictures and comments about the organizations they are volunteering for. This gives those non-profits free advertising and informs the community about the good work they do. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are great tools for volunteer engagement and recognition. Everyone, including those who give their time, love to be recognized for the work they do. Plus, volunteers donate a lot of money, more than two-thirds of volunteers give and average of ten time as much money as non-volunteers. So, having those volunteers within your organization is profitable as well.

Here a few tips for using content to engage volunteers via social media courtesy of Socialbrite

  • Get the basics right first. Make sure your Web pages support volunteer engagement. Your website is still the heart of your digital strategy, so make sure volunteering is present in your navigation, on a page of its own.
  • Listen. Be engaged in what supporters and prospective supporters care about.
  • Update your messaging. How do you talk to prospective volunteers? Do you have established calls to action, graphics and keywords? Make sure you extend your brand to accommodate volunteer engagement needs.
  • Leverage stories. The best way to engage anyone is by tapping their emotions, and storytelling is still the best way to do this. Gather stories of impact and craft them to fit on the social media platforms you choose.
  • Optimize your presence. You don’t have to be on every social media platform under the sun. Choose social media platforms that have a large base of supporters for your organization, and that fit well with your content needs.
  • Think like a collector/curator. Don’t just broadcast your own messaging – by sharing other people’s and organizations’ content, you’ll show your supporters that you play well with others, and will build a reputation for being a trusted go-to resource for knowledge in the space.
  • Create shareable content. People love videos and pictures. Create content that people will want to share with their friends and family members. Test what works well with your community and do more of that.

If you are currently thinking of volunteering or donating would strongly encourage you to check out MacLean’s. Which one would you consider volunteering or donating too?

Facebook: Make a Difference-Volunteer and Become a true Canadian.

Twitter #VolunteerCanada #MakeADifference

3 thoughts on “Social Media and Volunteering

  1. Volunteering became important for me in the last years because I cannot work anymore and it is the way I found to give back to people. Personally social media made it a lot easier for me to find opportunities while travelling. For me the best way to find opportunities that suits me the best is asking other traveler’s on world traveler’s Facebook pages.

  2. The last I volunteered, I had to go through the same papers that I did when I went to work at the same place. It’s understandable though, yes because their safety is in high regard, but also because it deters people from going and being idiots at the workplace too. Having to go through all the effort and paying for a police check, waiting for it, if it’s out of town like it was for me, it’s a pain. I think only people having a good reason to work for free, will actually go through all that stuff and work properly at that point. I’d like to go back to camp, it’s where I’ve volunteered (also worked) before, and I had no regrets about the experience. As for charity, I’d love to support everybody, but I can’t afford to right now. If I end up in a good financial situation, I’d start with funding research to fix different issues, food first, medically next, then socially. Nice post!

  3. I was a soccer coach volunteer a few years back. This is so interesting. I did not know that they have their own social media platform. What is the saying? you learn something new everyday. I just learned something new thanks to your blog. Yes, the volunteer process is becoming more strict.. but I think it has to be. We just do not know who anyone is anymore. Great blog.

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