Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Celebrating Your Volunteers In Your Blog

As every manager of a NFP organisation knows only too well, the burning out of volunteers is one of the main problems in the sector. It is important to know that along with the other reasons why volunteers cease to be interested in volunteering, a strong factor is the lack of attention to their efforts. If you want to keep your volunteers happy and motivated, you will have to make them feel special and what better way to do so than acknowledging the difference they make. In this sense, using your blog to celebrate the volunteers at your NFP is a great idea with a lot of potential.

Devoting a section in your blog to your volunteers is a solution that can help in more than one way. To start with, your volunteers will be pleased to know that you are interested in what they have to say and will be happy to share their opinion, views, feedback or memories. Bearing in mind that most of them may be too shy or modest to share that they volunteer, celebrating them in your blog will do that on their behalf and may turn very useful if a prospective employer makes the effort to google them for more information. And finally, you will have fresh and unique content for your blog, which will contribute to your search engine optimisation and will have a positive effect on the online image of your NFP.

As to what volunteer-related content you can publish in your blog, that’s the easiest part of the process. Your volunteers have special events in their lives, some of them related to the organisation. If an elderly volunteer celebrates an important anniversary (like a 70th birthday or 10 years at the organisation), you can celebrate them in a blog post – a short interview and a nice photo will do. Otherwise, you can start a rubric of the ‘Ask a volunteer’ and ‘Our volunteers’ feedback’; every week a different person can share their organisation-related thoughts. Or you can ask around the company for interesting or funny stories from the volunteers’ experience and share them with your blog readers.

An example of an organisation that makes the effort to celebrate their volunteers in their blog is Oxfam Australia. Navigating in their website, you can easily reach the section of the blog devoted to the volunteers and there you can see posts similar to the proposed above: Volunteer Spotlight which focusses on a person and their story; a message from one volunteer to another; commemorating the retirement of a long-term volunteer, etc. As already mentioned, this can only bring benefits to your organisation and your blog, and it will be a precious little act of attention for your volunteers.

Having said all this, if you think it is high time you did something special for your volunteers, try celebrating them in your blog post. Making them feel special is sure to invigorate them and make them even more passionate for your NFP’s activities. And besides this, your prospective volunteers will read positive stories of current people working with you, which is a great plus for your recruitment strategy. All in all, blogging about your volunteers is a win-win, so make sure you try it soon!