3 Ways to Encourage Volunteer Giving on Social

Jeff Gordy

Volunteers are a critical lifeline for many nonprofit organizations. Often altruistic people, volunteers provide passionate support for work that might not get done without them. Many times, their giving doesn’t stop there.

According to a Fidelity Charitable report, half of volunteers say volunteering leads them to give more financially. And 87% of volunteers say there is an overlap between where they volunteer and where they donate.

Let’s start with this scenario: As a volunteer manager, you recruit several volunteers online, keep them engaged, and culture a growing group of exemplary supporters for your organization. The result?

(Hopefully) more people who are emotionally invested in your cause, and because of it, are more financially inclined to give. So where do you connect with these newfound volunteer philanthropists, and how do you encourage them to give to your cause?

Nowadays, most donors prefer to give online, whether through email, Google Ads, and/or social media. Millennials — a third of America’s demographic — feel most inspired to give on social media.

Throughout this post, we’ll share strategies on how to connect with your growing number of supporters on social media. And as you’re reading, think of ways you might be able to leverage these tips in one of your upcoming social media campaigns, service days, and/or your overall volunteer program.

1. Share volunteer stories with your Facebook community.

Less than year ago, Facebook announced a new set of tools for nonprofits: options to create fundraising pages and add “Donate” buttons to your profile and your posts. Nonprofit professionals have met this announcement with both praise and scrutiny. Other professionals in the community have flat out discouraged it.

While Facebook should be an avenue for community building, there are valuable opportunities for increasing your donor base that should not be missed. I’d like to note that in order for this to work, your strategy on Facebook should be increasing your loyal community of followers — volunteers, donors, and partners alike. It’s also critical that you don’t over-ask for donations, as this could seem spammy and/or irrelevant to the average viewer.

Let’s revisit our previous scenario: as your volunteers spend a shift volunteering with your organization, you snap pics and record videos throughout the event. Later that evening, you post photos and videos from the event on your organization’s Facebook timeline, along with a message thanking the volunteers for their support and encouraging donations.

“Thank you to our volunteers who help keep our city parks clean! Check out these photos showing the awesome job they did today. Did you know $[INSERT DOLLAR AMOUNT] supports $[INSERT SOCIAL VALUE AMOUNT] in volunteer work like this? Please donate to help keep our programs thriving.”

Volunteer Match successfully engages their volunteers over Facebook by encouraging organizational awareness, demonstrating the need for their donation appeal, and implementing a direct call-to-action.

What sets this particular post apart from a typical social media plea?

This post encourages organizational awareness, demonstrates the need for the donation appeal, and implements a direct call-to-action. By sharing a relevant, timely story from a recent volunteer event, you’re not only helping your audience visualize the work your volunteers do; you’re solidifying its importance to the community. The plea speaks best to those who have volunteered with your organization previously, as it asks them to continue supporting programs that drive their work.

If you haven’t signed up to for Facebook’s charitable giving tools, sign up here (at the time of publishing, Facebook doesn’t charge a fee for accepting donations). Once your organization is verified to accept donations on Facebook, you’ll be able to add a “Donate” button to your profile page and/or any of your timeline updates.

After you post your update, put some money behind it through Facebook Ads to appeal to more of your follower-base, volunteers, and prospective donors. Ensure you set the “Custom Audience” tool to target specific demographics of your community (i.e. the main demographics of your organization’s follower and volunteer-base).

2. Target video viewers on YouTube.

YouTube has a program of its own called YouTube for Good that supports philanthropic giving, exclusively available to Google for Nonprofits customers. If you are (or have) a stellar video producer on your team, this is the opportunity for having those videos bring $$$ to your organization.

To get started, sign into your Google for Nonprofits dashboard, click “Sign up now,” then, under the “YouTube Nonprofit Program” field, click on “Enroll.” If you don’t already have a Google for Nonprofits account, here’s why everyone needs to have one.

Once you’re all set up, record videos of your volunteers giving back during one of their shifts or days of service, then leverage YouTube’s video manager to help trim and alter the video’s effects. Side note: if your nonprofit is located in Los Angeles or New York and has at least 1,000 subscribers, you can apply to have YouTube help shoot and/or produce your video!

Sign up for Google for Nonprofits to add a donation form directly to your YouTube videos for a better chance of engaging your volunteers through social.

Once you’re ready to publish, YouTube will provide you with the option to add a donations card to the end of your video, so you can accept donations directly from their platform (see image above). This likely won’t generate a high return in valuable contributions, however. To do so, encourage volunteers to shoot and upload videos of their own, then ask that they add one of your video cards at the end of their video to help spread the word.

At the time of publishing, 100% of donations received through YouTube go to your nonprofit, with Google covering all processing fees.

3. Solicit donations on Twitter in 140 characters or less.

According to Mashable, recognizing volunteers for their contributions goes far, especially in the Twitterverse. Unfortunately, only certain charities are able to run donation campaigns on Twitter.

Twitter now allows supporters to make donations by tweeting #Donate and a dollar amount to your organization, making volunteer social engagement through Twitter a whole lot easier.
That’s where third-party solutions like GoodWorld and tinyGive come in. These apps enable nonprofits to accept donations on Twitter by encouraging followers to tweet “#Donate” or “#tinyGive” plus a dollar amount at your handle. Thousands of nonprofits — like Feeding America, Greenpeace, and Save the Children — currently employ these services to empower their online giving campaigns.

Once you’ve determined your avenue for collecting donations on Twitter, figure out what you want your tweet(s) to say. Remember: Twitter limits your text to 140 characters or less, so be thoughtful and conscious of the space you’re working with.

Try basing your tweet off messaging like: “Thanks to our volunteers for being awesome. DYK $[INSERT DOLLAR AMOUNT] supports $[INSERT SOCIAL VALUE AMOUNT] in volunteer work? Reply ‘#Donate’ to keep our programs thriving.”

Online giving isn’t just beneficial to your volunteers. It could help strengthen your corporate-nonprofit partnership ties, too! By encouraging corporate partners and corporate volunteers to donate through social, you can build enough awareness around giving for others in their community to follow suit.

Earlier this year, the founder of a private equity firm in Falls Church, VA gave $25,000 to a nonprofit on Twitter — the largest charitable donation made on Twitter to-date.

When you leverage services like Facebook’s donate button, YouTube’s video cards, and Twitter third-party donation services, it’s critical that you reiterate your call-to-action on your organization’s official website. Add a direct link to your social media networks on your website homepage, and outline the different ways in which volunteers and philanthropists can give to your network.

And if you don’t succeed the first time? Try, try again.

By supplying additional avenues for prospective donors to give through, you can expand your organization’s reach, reiterate its value in the community, and solidify awareness in the ever-growing social media space.

This post was generously contributed by Basil Sadiq from Volunteer Match. Basil helps nonprofits and volunteers engage better with one another by posting impactful tips and sharing stories on VolunteerMatch.org, Engaging Volunteers, GoodCauses Newsletter, and VolunteerMatch’s social media platforms. 

And to learn more about how you can engage your supporters over social media, make sure to check out Neon’s comprehensive list of fundraising strategies.

  • Bobby Saint

    I like that you provided some ways to encourage volunteer giving such as sharing some of your personal experiences on your social media account. One good way to convince people that it is really a worthwhile experience to volunteer in charity organizations is by posting photos and videos about your own experiences. You may even want to put some background music on your videos that compliment the actual events that are happening at the time. If I were to solicit or recruit volunteers for a charity program, I would make sure to keep this in mind. Thanks.

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