The best time to attract volunteers is in January – and not only because people make new years resolutions to give something back to the community. Whether you look forward to Christmas or not, it brings hustle and bustle; some people are preparing for Christmas long before December and January is the anti-climax of all that anticipation. People suddenly have a gap in their lives that Christmas once filled. For anyone who’s retired, the gap will be particularly prevalent.
January is also the time that people consider lifestyle changes, including pursuing alternative careers, and volunteering is a fantastic way to kickstart a new career.
The Monday of the last full week in January is widely believed to be the worst day of the year and volunteering makes people feel good about themselves, therefore even just making an expression of interest can cheer people up. (Read our previous post on ‘minimising the drop-out rate’ to make the most of expressions of interest.)
Finders Keepers would recommend a marketing campaign in January, taking all of these factors into account.
If you attract volunteers at a time when they want to be attracted you’ll stand a better chance of retaining their support.
So, what can you do to attract volunteers during the rest of the year?
If volunteering enquiries flood in in January, what about the people who were tempted but didn’t quite get around to applying in January? How will they feel in February or March after they’ve endured a couple of months of cold, wet weather and dark, damp evenings? Bear this in mind when you advertise your opportunities; you could be literal and have a headline like ‘Fed up of those dark evenings?’ which will immediately spark the interest of anyone who is, which, let’s face it, most of us are by February or March.
Cornwall is all about the summer months; people live for the sunshine which invites them to the beaches, barbecues and beer gardens, so it’s hard to entice them away from that, right?
Finders Keepers thinks that rather than losing people to the ‘three B’s’ you should use them to your advantage. Perhaps hold an outdoor open day with things to attract people. It doesn’t have to be expensive; borrow outdoor games like giant Jenga or Connect 4 etc. Ask a burger van to attend; you could even ask companies to donate a percentage of their profit. Negotiate a good price for anything you have to pay for; lots of companies will get involved for a low price or even for free if it will serve to advertise their business. Pub beer gardens are great for this type of event; or anywhere there is inside space for a ‘Plan B’ if it rains.
It’s not all about Christmas and summer; what about September when children go back to school? Consider a headline like ‘House suddenly empty?’ and market along the lines of ‘Enjoy it! At least for a few weeks… and then fill the gap by putting your newly found free time to good use; volunteer!’
If people read something that resonates with their situation they will be more inclined to take notice.
If you would like further information on attracting volunteers and embracing the trends please do not hesitate to contact Finders Keepers either on 07811 461860 or firstname.lastname@example.org and browse the rest of our website for more information on what we do.