Branding Evangelist Jennifer Rice expressed her frustration (see Adventure Divas) about the disappointing contrast between her excitement and anticipation to get involved in a worthwhile service opportunity and the reality of the organization's flat web presence in keeping her excited.
For nonprofits and volunteer service organizations, it points out a specific opportunity to rethink the functional-emotional appeal (and perhaps reach across strategic groups) to reach potential volunteers. Don't get them to join, help connect them to what they are passionate about!
In other words, too many service organizations try to recruit new members by focusing on things like networking, prestige, connecting with the community, giving back, etc. Gee, why would I spend less time with my family, my work, my hobbies, my 5 other volunteer commitments - or my weblogs to spend more time with your organization?
What potential volunteers are looking for, however, is SIGNIFICANCE. The competition is not between the Lions, the Rotary and the Optimists. The competition is between any of those choices and whatever experience they could otherwise get from their time.
How fast can we get volunteers to say "WOW" with tears of joy in their eyes - and keep renewing that excitement?
So volunteer organizations can do at least 2 things:
- shape the experience to help them connect with what they are passionate about
- target those groups who have unmet dreams of service in an area you can fulfill and make it easy for them to get engaged.
When you connect people with what they are passionate about, they find the time and energy to pursue it.
By the way, if you are looking for a way to get involved in some amazing projects worldwide, contact me about Rotary. For information about making a difference to women and children who have been affected by poverty and war, check out Fifty Lanterns.
- If you take the view that employees are volunteers, which companies do a great job of connecting people to what they are passionate about?
- Which nonprofits offer a consistently great experience for potential volunteers and donors?