It’s National Volunteer Week, and that means it’s the perfect time of year for us at Gigit to do what we do best – provide more ways for non-profits, charities and foundations to connect with the passionate people they need to support their communities.
This past year has been a tough one, and that’s an understatement. The social good community is missing a large portion of the donations and volunteers they rely so heavily on. We want to make sure that you know exactly what volunteers are saying they need in order to continue donating their time and talent to causes they care about.
1. They need to know you’re thereAwareness is always the first hurdle for any social good organization to climb. Now that Covid is a reality, organizations are feeling disconnected from the audiences who once contributed their time and donations.
If your organization needs volunteers, then you must first make them aware that you need them. Now is the time to ensure that you’re using every channel you can to reach potential volunteers – and repeatedly, so they remember you.
Your social media channels, your website, and even larger advertising measures (if budget allows) will ensure that you’re reaching your desired audience regularly. Be sure to change up your messaging and make sure your audience is receiving the latest pieces of information.
With lockdowns and protocols changing constantly, and varying by region, you can bet that people will continue to visit your channels on an ongoing basis, seeking updates about how your organization is coping. If you can, keep them updated on a weekly (or even daily) basis. This way, your audiences will not only be well informed about your organization, they’ll also keep you at the top of their minds after encountering you repeatedly in different corners of their daily lives.
2. A Meaningful Way to Spend Extra Time
In a recent survey from Volunteer Canada, 42% of volunteers who have remained active during the pandemic have reported that they have more time available in their schedules to dedicate to volunteering. Of those volunteers who haven’t remained active, 24% said the same.
With the closing and cancelation of many kinds of activities that used to take up a significant amount of time, people are finding themselves with time on their hands – and they want to do something useful with it.
You can make the most of this new-found free time amongst your audience by letting people know how many hours a week they can expect to spend in their new volunteering role, and allowing flexibility in time commitment where possible.
3. Virtual Volunteering
For volunteers who feel safer serving their communities from the comfort and safety of their own home, virtual volunteering has been a great solution. Not only has it provided existing volunteers with a way to stay safer, it has also provided younger volunteers with a way to use their more modern, digital skillset for the benefit of their communities. In fact, of those who are actively volunteering today, 57% say they are comfortable using technology to volunteer.
For the first time, we’re seeing younger folks donating their time for projects like social media content development, employee handbook writing, and translation of documents. These are projects we wouldn’t have associated with volunteering just a few short years ago.
Virtual Volunteering has provided a timely opportunity for students who still, despite the pandemic, need community service hours in order to reach their academic goals. Did you know that Gigit is partnered with the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board and the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School board? If your organization is located in the Hamilton area, Gigit can connect you to students who would love to offer their times and talents to you, and their community.
Of course, one can’t offer their services to organizations in a virtual way without the necessary technology. Unfortunately, we’re still seeing a rather large divide when it comes to access to things like laptop computers. Of those volunteers who have remained active during the pandemic, only half have access to technology.
If you feel your organization needs virtual volunteers in order to move forward during the pandemic, or any time, there are grants you can take advantage of in order to supply your volunteers with the technology they need. Alternatively, you could put a call out to your community for gently used pieces of tech that your volunteers can borrow.
5. Health and Safety Protocol
For those volunteers whom virtual volunteering just isn’t an option, whether due to lack of access to or understanding of technology, health and safety protocols must be in place in order for them to volunteer their time safely.
In fact, 41% of volunteers who have taken time off due to the pandemic are over the age of 65 – the age at which one becomes most susceptible to the virus. Of course, the social good community wants to see these volunteers return to their duties as soon as possible, but not with a risk to their health. The good news is that 80% of previous volunteers say they will return to volunteering if health and safety protocols are in place.
We know that you’ve likely put some serious measures in place, like social distancing and increased cleaning protocols. This is exactly the type of action that you, as a leader in your organization, should be proud of. Make sure you’ve covered what a day-in-the-life of your in-person volunteers look like in your messaging, including every concession made for the pandemic.
If you’re looking for a fast and easy way to get the word out about all of your fundraising activities and volunteer programs, look no further, because Gigit has what you need.
On our platform, you can develop a group page that not only raises awareness about your organization and your initiatives, but also serves as a way of connecting, digitally, to the passionate people who power your organization’s goals.