Finding the right match: What does it take for prospective volunteers to join your social organisation?

How can social organisations find the right volunteers to drive their objectives amid the COVID-19 pandemic? In this think-piece, we take a deep dive into key questions you would want to consider in order to become a magnet for talented skills-based volunteers!

Royalty-free vector illustration by Freepik.

#1 Can they advance the causes they strongly feel for at your organisation?

According to studies such as Anderson and Moore (1978), altruism and self-actualisation are the most cited factors that motivate individuals to enter the volunteering sector. To this end, social organisations provide the perfect avenue for volunteers to translate their altruistic principles into tangible action and empower these volunteers to take on the responsibilities of helping communities in need.

Of course, helping others and making contributions to society can be achieved in many different ways, and volunteers will opt for organisations whose mission and activities resonate most with their own purpose and beliefs. For example, an environmentalist will be more inclined to volunteer at social organisations aimed at conserving and protecting local biodiversity from human degradation. Likewise, a champion of gender equality might be more interested in volunteering at women’s rights organisations such as AWARE and Women Unbounded.

You are what you attract. Social organisations should attempt to understand what drives volunteers in their quest for altruism and find ways to attract them to join their volunteer teams. For instance, social organisations can better brand themselves in order to appeal to volunteers with a similar ethos. Social media has become the biggest medium through which prospective volunteers familiarise themselves with an organisation’s purpose and nature of work. Platforms ranging from Facebook and Instagram to TikTok can be utilised to better appeal to passionate volunteers of different age groups.

Consider sharing snippets of your work on these platforms to help potential volunteers visualise and better understand your objectives. More importantly, you should strive to communicate a clear and distinct mission statement via your organisation’s official website and social channels.

#2 Would they see themselves as true-blue members of your organisation?

It is especially crucial for social organisations to make volunteers feel important. Your volunteers — whether new or old — do not just want to assist your team in filing the paperwork; they wish to see themselves as valuable team members and making a concrete difference to society. Social organisations should thus attempt to empower and appreciate their volunteers, as well as to incorporate them in their endeavours.

The more connected your volunteers feel, the more committed and engaged they will become at your organisation. Consider appointing a volunteer manager to liaise and maintain regular contact with your volunteers. Weekly virtual check-ins could be conducted to gather their feedback, build a strong volunteer culture and help them stay up-to-date with the latest updates. To attract and retain volunteers, you could also increase the number of volunteer leadership opportunities and let your most capable volunteers take on bigger roles such as ‘Volunteer Leader’ or ‘Events Head’.

#3: Will they develop in-demand skills and networks at your organisation?

Who says that volunteering can’t be performed with an equal mix of altruism and pragmatism? The added perks of expanding their social and professional networks and sharpening their skill sets may further appeal to many Singaporeans who are looking to give back to society. According to the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre’s 2018 Individual Giving Study, 25% of Singaporeans are interested in learning a new skill via volunteering.

High-calibre skills ranging from digital marketing and communications to information technology are especially highly sought after by social organisations as they look to drive organisational growth and digitalisation without significantly increasing costs. However, many social organisations are struggling to attract and retain talented volunteers amid a global pandemic.

The good news? Skills for Good fills this gap perfectly as we match people looking to sharpen their skills to social organisations that require skills-based volunteers, allowing would-be volunteers with the relevant competencies to pursue both their altruistic and pragmatic goals.

If you are also looking for cost-free talent solutions to build your capacity and establish a robust volunteer pipeline, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team. We will be more than happy to offer personalised advice and tailor our volunteer-matching services to drive your organisational agenda.

About Skills for Good

Skills for Good, a local volunteer-matching organisation, with a base of eclectic volunteers with skills ranging from marketing and communications to information technology to fundraising. We seek to empower volunteers through convenient and meaningful skills-based volunteering opportunities that help social organisations to achieve their mission.​ Volunteer with us today and wake up tomorrow with the warm and fuzzy sensation of ‘volunesia’.

Authors: Gerald Peh and Lim Jia Ying