Volunteer Engagement in Your Awareness Campaign: 4 Tips
Volunteer engagement in your awareness campaigns are one of the most popular, effective, and flexible ways to raise public interest and educate your community about your nonprofit’s mission.
These time-bound, strategic campaigns aim to spread the word about your mission and the problem you’re working to solve. To run an awareness campaign effectively, you’ll need as much volunteer support as possible!
Volunteer engagement is the lifeblood of any nonprofit.
Your services, fundraising campaigns, and even the day-to-day operations of your nonprofit can depend on volunteers. While all nonprofits know they need volunteers, investing time and energy into leveraging them to their full capacity can naturally fall by the wayside.
Here we dive into how to utilize the strength of your volunteer engagement to make your next awareness campaign a success. Specifically, we’ll cover the following best practices:
- Involve volunteers in your multichannel marketing campaign
- Encourage peer-to-peer fundraising
- Mobilize ambassadors to amplify your reach
- Ask volunteers to host events
With these tips, your nonprofit will be able to grab your target audience’s attention. Helping to raise more money, reach more donors, and deepen your supporter connections. Let’s begin!
Involve volunteers in your multichannel marketing plan.
When creating a marketing plan for an awareness campaign, it’s important to focus on a multichannel approach. Don’t throw all your eggs in one basket! According to Double the Donation’s guide to nonprofit marketing plans, spreading the word across multiple channels can help reach all of your supporters and drive more engagement back to your core campaign web page.
A few popular channels include:
- Website: Use your existing website homepage as a place to promote your fundraising events and reach donors who are already inclined to give to your cause.
- Social Media: This low-cost (if not free) marketing channel helps you expand your reach to as many supporters as possible.
- Email: Leverage your internal donor base to market your next fundraising event.
- Traditional Advertising: Use print ads, direct mail, flyers, or radio slots to increase the reach of your awareness campaign.
Did you know…
A typical consumer must see a message at least 7 times before they’ll be provoked to act? It’s true!
That’s why a multichannel marketing approach is essential to success. However, generating content tailored to several different platforms takes time. To streamline this process, recruit volunteers to help with content creation. Consider the following as ways volunteer engagement can help market your campaign:
- Generate a volunteer task team: Have dedicated volunteers monitor specific marketing channels to make sure each is up-to-date and constantly refreshed. This will ensure nothing falls through the cracks during your campaign.
- Create social media ambassadors: Leverage the voice of your volunteers to provide new content for your social channels. This will extend your reach and demonstrate the value of your mission to others.
- Create new website content: Have your volunteers write blogs for your website to share the campaign’s progress and provide new supporters with more context into your organization’s mission.
By diversifying the channels you market on, leveraging the strength of your volunteers, tailoring your messaging to specific platforms, and staying consistent, you’ll be driving awareness in no time!
Encourage peer-to-peer fundraising with volunteer engagement.
Another way to maximize your volunteers’ contribution to your organization is through peer-to-peer fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising empowers your volunteers to spread awareness for your cause among their personal networks and raise funds on your behalf. It is a great way to leverage the manpower of your volunteers while expanding the reach of your mission.
Leveraging peer-to-peer fundraising alongside your awareness campaign allows for increased exposure of your mission to the personal networks of your supporters and volunteers. When peer-to-peer fundraising is used, your awareness campaign can raise more and reach more!
The OneCause guide to peer-to-peer fundraising best practices outlines the following tips:
- Use dedicated fundraising software: Peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns have a lot of moving parts. Utilize a fundraising platform with comprehensive peer-to-peer fundraising capabilities so your volunteers can easily create custom campaign pages.
- Leverage the power of your volunteers: Actively identify and recruit your volunteers to be ambassadors. These volunteers can help you achieve your goals and then support them throughout the entire campaign.
- Provide training for your fundraisers: Make sure your fundraisers reach their fundraising potential by training them on the best practices for peer-to-peer fundraising. Provide either a synchronous or asynchronous training session to walk through the campaign and answer any questions your fundraisers might have.
- Host one or more events during your campaign: Create multiple opportunities for your supporters to interact with your campaign and maximize its reach. Consider leveraging your volunteers to help support and plan these events.
Peer-to-peer fundraising is a powerful way for nonprofits to raise support, engage donors in new ways, and reach much larger audiences than they’d be able to on their own. By empowering your supporters as active fundraisers, you’ll drastically expand your reach and open all kinds of flexible ways to make your awareness campaign stand out.
Mobilize volunteer engagement to amplify your reach.
Ambassador fundraising leverages peer-to-peer fundraising in conjunction with a campaign to broaden awareness and increase donations. This new trend harnesses “ambassadors,” or your most loyal supporters, to fundraise before, during, and sometimes even after your campaign.
Who would make good ambassadors? Your volunteers! They are already deeply involved with your cause and are used to giving their time and talent to your efforts. Target your most active and generous volunteers and ask them to join your ambassador campaign.
With your ambassadors selected, encourage them to start spreading the word about your campaign and mission. How can they do that? Here are a few ways to get your ambassadors started:
- Leverage social media: Have your ambassadors compete in a social media contest and leverage their influencer status to spread the word about your mission to their networks in an organic way.
- Host events: Whether they’re planning small get-togethers or large events, your ambassadors are great hosts for your cause. Have them plan events in tandem with your awareness campaign to build more meaningful connections to your mission.
- Donation competitions: Encourage ambassadors to compete to generate the most donations for your campaign. This will help increase the traction of your mission and increase your fundraising potential.
Leveraging ambassadors to their greatest potential is a surefire way to elevate your next awareness campaign, so start recruiting potential ambassadors early so you can use them to the fullest.
Ask volunteers to host events.
To maximize engagement with your awareness campaign, your organization should consider hosting events. Events are a great way to bring your campaign full circle, thank your donors, and celebrate the milestones of your fundraising efforts.
However, events need a lot of support in order for them to go off without a hitch. Tap your volunteers to help host these events and drive greater supporter connections with your mission. Leveraging your volunteers during your events reduces the workload on your nonprofit’s staff and helps volunteers feel even more passionate about your organization.
With the support in place, your organization can decide whether you want to host in-person, virtual, or hybrid events. Make sure to consider the pros and cons of each, as in-person events allow supporters to have face-to-face interactions, but virtual events can help you expand your reach and keep new supporters engaged with the right tools and gamification tactics.
Once you know the format of your event, involve volunteers in designing and executing the event to help them feel more connected to your mission. Some event examples include:
- Educational sessions
- Happy hours
- Facility tours
- VIP receptions
- Holiday events
These events have the potential to take your campaign to the next level, and spark continued engagement with your organization.
Running an awareness campaign can be time and resource-intensive, but volunteers can help ease your administrative burden and make your awareness campaign a success. Remember to thank your volunteers for their time and contributions, as this will help you retain their support in the long run. Leverage these ideas to help your next awareness campaign make a splash!
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About the Author
Sarah Sebastian is the Director of Corporate Communications at OneCause. She’s a marketer and brand geek at heart with eight years of experience in the nonprofit tech space. Outside of work, Sarah can be found reading, hiking, kayaking, volunteering for Florida Access Network, or getting lost in the woods while photographing birds.