Keeping Volunteers in the Loop Through Your Website: 7 Tips

Keeping volunteers updated leads to higher retention rates. Use these tips to keep volunteers engaged via your website.

Keeping Volunteers in the Loop Through Your Website: 7 Tips

Nonprofit websites are effective, but underutilised tools for building and maintaining volunteer relationships. After all, what other resource offers mission information, volunteer registration forms, blog post updates, and other engaging content, all in one place? 

Volunteers want to be updated about your nonprofit’s goals, priorities, and projects so they can feel like true partners in achieving your mission. This guide will cover these tips for using your website to keep volunteers updated and engaged in your work: 

  1. Create audience personas.
  2. Offer interactive volunteer profiles. 
  3. Develop a blog posting schedule.
  4. Provide real-time project updates. 
  5. Keep your event calendar updated. 
  6. Offer virtual training opportunities. 
  7. Ask volunteers for feedback. 

Your website can empower volunteers to learn more about your mission and current activities, increasing their connection to your cause. This can boost volunteer retention, leading to a more engaged, passionate volunteer force. 

1. Create audience personas.

Audience personas are fictionalised representations of different audience groupings within your volunteer base. Instead of creating personalised content for each individual volunteer, you can create tailored content for each persona. This helps save time while still providing the personalised experience volunteers are looking for.

Here are a few examples of different personas you might create and ways to use your website to reach each group:

  • If you’re looking to attract more student volunteers, take a page from the playbook of the best college websites. Younger, college-age volunteers appreciate mobile-friendly content, bold and inclusive imagery, and interactive content, such as timelines or interactive videos. 
  • If you want to recruit skilled volunteers, spotlight volunteer opportunities that require a higher skill level with special markings on your online volunteer calendar. Highlight any training sessions you offer that help volunteers level up their skills to participate in skilled opportunities. 
  • If you’re prioritising corporate volunteerism, Getting Attention recommends cultivating corporate partnerships in broader way. Businesses that partner with you may set up volunteering events for their employees with your organisation.

Develop three to five unique personas for your nonprofit based on the audiences you’re trying to reach. As you develop content tailored to each persona, answer these questions: “What do these volunteers need to know right now, and how can we tailor our website to help streamline their user journey?” That will help you determine the types of calls to action (CTAs), blog content, and interactive content to develop that resonates with each audience. 

2. Offer interactive volunteer profiles. 

Allow volunteers to create profiles on your nonprofit’s website or via a member-facing volunteer management platform where they can access a dashboard showing important details about their volunteer work. Your dashboards should highlight information about: 

  • Upcoming shifts
  • Past shift recaps
  • Each volunteer’s personal, cumulative impact over time
  • Connections between volunteers (such as mentoring or buddy partnerships, volunteers from the same workplace, etc.) 

With a dashboard, volunteers can stay informed about their personal impact on your mission while receiving reminders about their upcoming commitments. 

A dashboard is also a great way to build a volunteer community because volunteers can use the platform to read messages from your organisation or connect with each other.

3. Develop a blog posting schedule.

According to Kanopi’s healthcare content marketing guide, content freshness is essential for keeping audience members aware of recent news and updates related to your organisation’s mission. 

An updated blog roll enhances credibility and shows your audience that your organisation keeps its finger on the pulse of the latest news in your field.

Develop and stick to a consistent posting schedule to keep volunteers in the loop daily. For example, you might plan to update your blog at least once a week. You could also plan to post after special events or major volunteer opportunities, like your annual canned food drive or beach clean up. 

4. Provide real-time project updates. 

In addition to lengthier blog post updates, use your website to showcase timely updates about ongoing projects. Provide data and infographics that show the true value of volunteer work, such as: 

  • An updated progress bar showing how long your nonprofit has left to go to complete a major project with volunteers’ help
  • An interactive map displaying the scope of volunteer work
  • An interactive timeline depicting the different stages of your current project
  • An embedded social media feed with project updates and user-generated content from volunteers themselves
  • A calculator that allows volunteers to see what a certain amount of hours worked would yield for your mission (ie. 10 hours worked yields 150 meals for a food kitchen).

With real-time updates, volunteers can leave a volunteer opportunity and immediately check the impact of their work. This contributes to a greater sense of fulfilment and meaning in volunteer work. 

5. Keep your event calendar updated. 

Many of your volunteers have other work, school, or family commitments that keep their schedules full. By offering an updated event calendar on your website, you can help volunteers find the right opportunities that fit into their schedules. 

Ensure your website’s event calendar has the following information for each volunteer opportunity: 

  • Date and time
  • Location
  • Skill requirements
  • Driving/parking instructions
  • Contact information for the member of your nonprofit’s staff who will be leading the opportunity

Take a look at United Way of Greater Atlanta’s online calendar as an example:

Alt: United Way of Atlanta online calendar for February 2024

The calendar features volunteer opportunities and other events along with logistical information such as the time, location, and number of open volunteer positions remaining. 

For more ideas to help you design your online calendar, take a look at some of the top nonprofit websites. Note how each calendar incorporates the nonprofit’s unique branding along with essential volunteer information to provide a valuable digital resource for supporters. 

6. Offer virtual training opportunities. 

Volunteers looking to take on skilled positions or level up their training would benefit from online training resources through your nonprofit’s website. Provide access to free training resources such as: 

  • Educational videos and webinars
  • Quizzes
  • Downloadable resources, including handbooks or ultimate guides 

Reward volunteers who have completed a certain amount of additional training with advanced volunteer roles or positions where they can lead other volunteers. 

7. Ask volunteers for feedback.

Asking volunteers for feedback is a win-win situation for them and your nonprofit. They get the opportunity to make their voices heard, and your organisation can benefit from the valuable insights that volunteers bring to the table. 

Offer polls or surveys on your website to gather volunteers’ feedback on your organisation’s efforts to keep them in the loop. Ask open-ended questions such as:

  • How often do you read our blog? What would cause you to read our blog more?
  • Do you feel like our blog does a good job of keeping you informed about our nonprofit’s activities? Why or why not?
  • Is our volunteer event calendar easy to use? Do you have any recommendations for improving the format of our event calendar?
  • Have you ever used our online training materials? Did you have a positive user experience? Why or why not? 
  • Do you feel like a part of our volunteer community? What could we do to help foster a stronger sense of community at our organisation?

Show appreciation to volunteers who complete the survey by sending a follow-up thank-you email. Recap common points of feedback you received and outline your plans to use volunteers’ input to adapt your volunteer management strategies. For example, you might plan more social events for volunteers if many supporters expressed interest in forming deeper bonds with their fellow volunteers. 

Volunteers are a critical part of your nonprofit’s team, and your website should reflect that. Keep them in the loop on your latest progress updates, accomplishments, and challenges to foster trust and engagement. 

Some highlights of 5 years at Deedmob

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Gerbrand Holland

Growth Manager

Gerbrand Holland is Growth Manager at Deedmob