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Robert Rosenthal - Social Media & the 3Rs: Content Strategy Basics for Engaging Volunteers
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Robert Rosenthal - Social Media & the 3Rs: Content Strategy Basics for Engaging Volunteers

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  • When this event series first came out, I was excited. Social media was becoming a serious mainstream interest for nonprofits. Then I noticed something. Very few of the seminars, webinars, training and books on social media engagement and online communities were focused on tying into volunteer engagement. It was almost like a conspiracy: supporters, advocates, free agents… but few “volunteers” Last year I reached out to Darian. What could we do? He was receptive. Thank you, Darian. Then I thought, maybe we can make the case better. So here goes.
  • These two slides tell so much. First, the value of a Facebook like. But second, the amazing value of a volunteer. According to our research, a volunteer you recruit today at VolunteerMatch.org, on average, will eventually provide more than $3,000 in equivalent social value for your organization. Which isn’t to say that one is better than the other.
  • Some 2/3rds of volunteers also donate. And they do so a lot. They donate 7-10x more than non-volunteersThese stats are both from a 2009 study we co-published with one of our partners, Fidelity Charitable Investments.So volunteers give…. But they can also do far more. That’s why it’s great to be up here talking about volunteer engagement.
  • So why the disconnect to begin with? Well, it’s complicated. Often, a volunteer’s contribution happens offline, in person, and outside of a social-media powered world. Much of the contribution is managed in a silo by program staff or other executives. This isn’t a bad thing. Just reality.
  • When I’m doneyou’l have some ideas you may want to put in place. How will you know it’s working?. This presentation isn’t about measurement. But when measuring volunteer engagement in social media, try to answer these kinds of questions, which are readily available via analytics: Am I effectively tapping the most vocal supporters of our volunteer program for other roles? How many of our Facebook fans volunteered with us last month? What are our most effective methods for promoting our volunteer opportunities via social media? Which kinds of volunteer-related social media content is most likely to inspire followers to act? Which social platforms are the best place to tell our volunteers’ stories?
  • Peter Drucker was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in the field of management. He’s the guy who first coined “knowledge workers”…. That’s foresight. Druckerhad a lot to say about nonprofits too, especially toward the end. Unfortunately he died before it was clear what role online social networks would play in giving regular people a way to be involved in the work of nonprofits. But his message about nonprofits is so inspiring. It’s a great reminder about the place of for-purpose organizations in our society today. And why we should be proud and confident in our engagement.Your causes can bring meaning and purpose to our lives. People want what you have!
  • David Ogilvy, the Father of Advertising, was really good at engaging people. He launched his career as a door to door stove salesman and did so well the company asked him to write a guide for other salespeople. 30 years later FORTUNE called the “the finest sales instruction manual ever written.”Later on, David Ogilvy had to retrain his staff. He said the nature of engagement is the opposite of what most marketers and advertisers think. It’s not about getting people to care about a product. It’s about helping people you care about see which products are best for them. Those who involve volunteers for a living may already know this. They know that the challenge is not really to get volunteers to care about your mission. Instead, it’s about helping them to see how being involved in your organization is a great way for them to express their care.When you care about your volunteers and their interests, you are interested in them. And this motivates you to help them see all the ways in which their interests align with yours
  • So these guys are united by a shared interest in a cause. But they aren’t the same. They have different motivations, which is the delicious tension of engaging volunteers. They’ve all recognized a need and committed to addressing it. Some are specialists who do it for a living. We call these nonprofit professionals. Others drop in on the cause when and how then can. We call these supporters, donors, volunteers, board members, and so on. Your brand, also known as your mission or your purpose, is the tie that connects.
  • Giving time is fundamentally different from giving money. Donor engagement can be all about tapping into concern about the cause. But engagingtime and talent is all about commitment to obtaining a great fit… not just between a person and a cause but between a person and a team of people too.Very often it’s real people working side by side with real people. So communicating from a personal perspective is ESPECIALLY critical in volunteer engagement.
  • This is from some of our own research. It’s a bit dated, but you can see some interesting trends around skills and ages. In blue, older adults tend to want to volunteer their skills more than other age groups. In orange, younger adults want to volunteer to develop new skills more than other age groups. And in greenish, everyone wants to meet others and get involved in the community at roughly the same rate. And these are just the big slices. In reality everyone has their own motivations.
  • This is important to remember. Despite the complexity of the landscape where volunteer related conversations are taking place, volunteering in about humans working with other humans. So it will be you who are at center of the conversation pyramid.
  • Of course, being human doesn’t mean abandoning good brand management principles. Your brand guidelines, key messages and visual asset library should all accommodate volunteer engagement needs in an online world. And if not, meet with your communications folks and make sure they have this covered.
  • Story is your spark. From movies, to books, to restaurant reviews, story telling is at the heart of all great content strategy. Whether from word, text, or image, humans are endowed with incredible ability to extract information and produce meaning from stories. Pretty much any content, presented as a well-formed story, will resonate. But there are two types of stories that resonate most of all: stories of transformation and stories of solving problems. Lucky for you, these are really the same story… the Journey. Here are some other common journey stories:An organization’s annual report - The story of one organization’s journey over 365 days toward its mission. A volunteering review on VolunteerMatch.org - The journey of a volunteer with high expectations toward a place of knowledge.A collection of snapshots from a fundraising gala - The journey of a bunch of important donors towards a place of connectedness.A press release about a new corporate sponsor - The journey of organizations from different sectors toward a place of alignment. A case study about a failed program - The journey of recognition of limitations.
  • What they all have in common is Change. Things are changing, and this is how and why. That’s basically the story. For those who engage volunteers, helping volunteers to see these outcomes as clearly as possible is so important. That’s because the commitment to volunteer time is so personal… the change starts within and radiates.Great stories of volunteering demonstrate: “Here’s how you will change. Here’s how we will change. Here’s how the community will change.”Stories of change and impact help us do that. They are the message of of volunteer engagement.
  • What’s the Volunteer’s Story?The volunteer is a hero. Like all stories, the hero story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Great engagers know where their volunteers are in their stories and they help them to advance to the end. Instigation points sound like this:“The hiking trails were in terrible shape. Anyone know a charity that’s working to fix them up?”“My friend wants me to come along to the clean up. Should I do it?”Obstacle points sound like this:“I’m tired of getting up every Saturday to serve breakfast to the homeless. I want my weekends back.”“Just getting them to return my emails so I could get approval on designs has been a nightmare.”“I’m just not sure I’m getting much out of it.”Achievement slides sound like this:“Just seeing their faces light up was amazing.”“it was the toughest thing I’ve ever done, but I learned so much.”“I’ve met so many great people.”
  • Of course, you have a role to play too. Here’s where you fit in. Engaging during Instigation sounds like this:“We have an awesome event lined up! Join us!”“Who likes pizza and making a difference?”“This is opportunity to learn new skills and help a great organization. “Engaging to overcome Obstacles sounds like this:“OK, everyone, here’s the plan for today.”“We still need a few people to make the clean up a success.”“Things went slow today but you did great work. Now we need to come back to finish the job. I’ll be back in touch with details.”Engaging to facilitate and celebrate Achievement sounds like this:“Don’t forget to bring a camera, everyone!”“We posted the video of the completed mural on Youtube.”“I’m sharing an awesome note the school just sent us.”Your job is to help the volunteer see where they are in their story and help move them along to achievement… a pretty important plot device.
  • Lastly, communicate the story, not the program. Both these images could illustrate how volunteers supported an affordable housing build. But they say completely different things. Stories are fluid. They have protagonists. They are evolving. They have drama. How will this play out? Programs, on the other hand, are about parts. Stories are always greater than the sum of the parts.
  • Now that you know how to identify great volunteer stories, it’s time to collect and curate them. Curation. It sounds like some kind of the 21st century lifestyle jobs. And yet, for tens of thousands of organizations that work with volunteers, curating and collecting experiences has become a really important thing. In a digital age memories don’t just happen… they’re developed.
  • Where will your memories live? Who will have access to them? Will volunteers submit their own content and stories? Will your content be public or private to volunteers? Which platforms do all of this best? There are loads of resources out there on this, but in most cases you’re going to want to invest most of your time and attention at the center of this map… especially if you’re looking to use volunteer stories to engage the general public. Most likely you’ll want to be where big audiences are likely to be. Of course, every organization is different.
  • Here are some things you can do to do ensure you get the story. Don’t forget to think about releases too.
  • In some cases you’ll be curating your collection. In other cases you’ll be more hands off. Wherever you decide to tell the story, remember that your Website or blog (and in some cases Facebook page) is your social heart.
  • That’s why you need to make sure your volunteer engagement pathways are well developed. Jayne Cravens, one of my favorite advocates for volunteer engagement on the web, even goes so far as to talk about things that you MUST have on your site if you want to encourage volunteer engagement. Let’s ask who in this room has these 3 MUSTS covered.
  • Frequency? We don’t need to spend much time on this slide. Let’s just say there’s a sweet spot out there, and it’s your job to eventually find it. This is a place where your analytics and measurement tools will be critical. Frequency isn’t really something you can ask about… but you can measure performance and reach, and then see what happens when you do more or less of what you’ve already been doing.
  • Here are some tips that will up your odds of generating shares.
  • Now that we know how to interpret the brand, how to find and share elements of the volunteering story, and how to write actionable and flexible content… it’s time to do your job. Let’s see about how bring all to bear on volunteer engagement, a function that’s often overlooked in social media.
  • AtVolunteerMatch we tend to boil much of the work of volunteer engagement into 3 Rs, recruitment, retention, recognition. Perhaps we should add a 4th… reductive The shorthand doesn’t really matters. What matters is:Developing a relationship that will lead to a cycle of regular, long term or episode service. Making it easy for volunteers to share their experiences, engage positively with other volunteers, and use word of mouth to inspire others... That is, to actually be a partner in the 3 Rs.Let’s see if we identify which functions are on display in this series of examples.
  • This is Linkedin’s Volunteer and Causes field. By encouraging volunteers to fill out their professional profiles with their volunteering experiences, two things are happening:The volunteer is being recognized…The volunteer is helping the nonprofit to recruit. Awesome!
  • Photos of a volunteer appreciation dinner, uploaded and shared in a Facebook Fan Page. By showcasing great volunteers it only makes other volunteers want to do the same. And, it makes the evening a better memory. The volunteer is being recognized…The volunteer is helping the nonprofit to recruit.
  • Here’s a video about howOxfam volunteers are helping to fight hunger ion the organization’s Youtube channel. Again, by showcasing great volunteers it only makes other volunteers want to do the same. The volunteer is being recognized…The volunteer is helping the nonprofit to recruitYou may be starting to see a trend here. Social media can help you tackle multuple aspects of volunteer engagement at all once.
  • I love lovelove this one. Give Kids The World found out this couple was volunteering while on their honeymoon to Florida. Score! A great story about how a busy couple is working to create traditions of meaning in a busy world.
  • Putting a face on the program… who we help and who you can help when you volunteer.
  • Showing the awesome outcome of great volunteers.
  • Photos can easily be pinned or commented on no matter where they are. In this case, Samaritan’s Purse added this evocative image. The story is how on earth will all this stuff get processed? That’s why I love the comment from Penny, really, putting a human face on things.
  • And of course, the humble blog post, thanking volunteers for coming out and being involved. Blogs are great because you can do so much with them.
  • The funny thing is you don’t really need to do much. So often we talk about big organizations like Humane Society or Red Cross, or else nimble social media rockstars like Charity Water. Most organizations aren’t cut from this cloth, nor do they need to be to do good work. Here’s a nice package from an organization up in Portland, Friends of the Trees. In 2011, their 22nd year, Friends of the Trees engaged 3,700 volunteers in order to plant 29,500 trees in 9 cities. That’s 30,000 hours of volunteer time. This is an organization with a budget of just over $1 million.
  • I like their approach for a lot of reasons. It’s realisticIt’s active – they are trying stuffThey are using their website properly in conjunction with their social media networks. The content is positive and on message.
  • I like their approach for a lot of reasons. It’s realisticIt’s active – they are trying stuffThey are using their website properly in conjunction with their social media networks. The content is positive and on message.
  • I like their approach for a lot of reasons. It’s realisticIt’s active – they are trying stuffThey are using their website properly in conjunction with their social media networks. The content is positive and on message.
  • I like their approach for a lot of reasons. It’s realisticIt’s active – they are trying stuffThey are using their website properly in conjunction with their social media networks. The content is positive and on message.
  • I like their approach for a lot of reasons. It’s realisticIt’s active – they are trying stuffThey are using their website properly in conjunction with their social media networks. The content is positive and on message.
  • I like their approach for a lot of reasons. It’s realisticIt’s active – they are trying stuffThey are using their website properly in conjunction with their social media networks. The content is positive and on message.
  • I like their approach for a lot of reasons. It’s realisticIt’s active – they are trying stuffThey are using their website properly in conjunction with their social media networks. The content is positive and on message.

Robert Rosenthal - Social Media & the 3Rs: Content Strategy Basics for Engaging Volunteers  Robert Rosenthal - Social Media & the 3Rs: Content Strategy Basics for Engaging Volunteers Presentation Transcript

  • Social Media & The 3 Rs Content Strategy Basics for Engaging Volunteers Robert J. Rosenthal VP, Communications & Marketing VolunteerMatch.org Twitter: @volmatchRobertConteent
  • What‟s a Volunteer Worth? $214 $3,075 First year value1 of a Lifetime value2of today’s Facebook like. VolunteerMatch recruit. Based on: • 58 hours per year • 2.5 years • $21.36 equivalent value3 1. 2012 Nonprofit Social Networking Report, Blackbaud, NTEN and Common Knowledge 2. 2011 Annual Report,VolunteerMatch 3. Independent Sector, 2012Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 2
  • What‟s a Volunteer Worth? 10x Donations  Sharing, Petitions  Skilled Volunteering  Microvolunteering  Pro Bono Volunteer  Traditional volunteering  Board Service Source: Volunteerism and Charitable Giving in 2009, Fidelity ® Charitable Gift Fund/VolunteerMatchContent Strategy &Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 3 View slide
  • Where Social Media Fits In SUPER- INITIAL VISION & SCREENING ONGOING SUPPORT VOLUNTEER RECRUIT- ROLE MENT DESIGN RISK MGMT PRE- PLANNING PLACEMENT ORIENT- ATION TRAINING RECOGN- ITION EVALUATION The volunteer retention puzzle.Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 4 View slide
  • Measuring Success • Am I effectively tapping the most vocal supporters of our volunteer program for other roles? • How many of our Facebook fans volunteered with us last month? • What are our most effective methods for promoting our volunteer opportunities via social media? • Which kinds of volunteer-related social media content is most likely to inspire followers to act? • Which social platforms are the best places to tell our volunteers’ stories?Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 5
  • Social Media & The 3 Rs Getting to the heart of volunteer motivations.
  • You Are The Future “The more economy, money, and information become global, the more community will matter. Only the nonprofit organization performs in the community, exploits its opportunities, mobilizes its local resources, solves its problems.” - Peter DruckerContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for NonprofitsPhoto: h.koppdelaney/Flickr 7
  • The Secret to Engagement? “If you want to be interesting, be interested.” - David Ogilvy 8
  • Different Motivations To help my To be part of To rid the world of Darth volunteers something, do Vader and the Galactic contribute to our great work, and Empire! mission – on time make an impact. and under budget.Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 9
  • Volunteering Is Not Donating 5 Ways Volunteering and Donating Are Different: Donating Volunteering Money Time or Skills or Both Buying Earning membership membership High scalability High touch Spontaneous or Planned Planned Inherently Inherently Transactional RelationalContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 10
  • Where Skills Come In Source: VolunteerMatch User Survey, Peter D. Hart Associates, 2006Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 11
  • Be The Human In the MachineContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 12
  • Tie Messaging to Brand VISION: A world where good prevails over evil. Luke, I need to tell you something. MISSION: We leverage mystical forces as part of a Universal alliance to protect peace and justice. OK, Obiwan, MESSAGING: “The Force” - Use this word to describe our powers. It reassures folks but stay on we’re only channeling energy that is all around us. In Twitter: #TheForce message. SAMPLE: Planet missing? Join us 11/3 as we use #TheForce to destroy the Death Star. Good vs evil! RSVP: jed.is/KLT72Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 13
  • Understanding Volunteers • Create a survey about volunteer interests, or look for results already on file. • Set up Facebook or LinkedIn polls/surveys. • Check in with your volunteer coordinators to better understand their perspective. • Ask about outgoing volunteer procedures. Is there a formal debrief? • Review the LinkedIn profiles or volunteer resumes of many of your top volunteers. See any patterns?Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 14
  • Social Media & The 3 Rs The basics of storytelling, volunteer-style. Photo: aepoc
  • Be The Change My World My Community My family and Change friends MyselfContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 16
  • The Volunteer‟s Story This princess Instigation totally needs me! Obstacles Whoa. Death Star ahead. Nevermind! “Saving the Universe? Achievement Best thing I ever did!”
  • The Engager‟s Story Instigation “She‟s depending on you, Luke. Hey, how „bout a light saber?Obstacles “Yup, this is hard. But remember that Force thing? Give it a shot.” Achievement “Great work, Luke! One film down and five more to go!
  • Parts ofMore Engaging?What‟s the Volunteer Story Program Skilled support Non-skilled Figure 1.Staffing for our builds. Two views of a volunteer program.
  • Collecting and curating thevolunteer experience.
  • Which Way to Go? Your Members Saving Sharing The Public Social SharingContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 21
  • Tips for Collecting Stories • Invest in cameras and remind supporters to bring theirs too. • Run photo/video/story contests. • Send out surveys/polls. • Engage volunteers as reporters, shooters, tweeters, note takers, etc. • Remind supporters to use hashtags. • Monitor your social channels for comments and testimonials.Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 22
  • Corralling Your Content Photos/ Professional Videos Networks (Youtube, (LinkedIn) Pinterest) Social Events Networks (Eventbrite) (Facebook) Volunteer Micromedia (Twitter, Website/ lead sources Tumblr) Blog (Volunteer Match)Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 23
  • Website Commandments “Your Support page MUST have a range of options like donating, gifts in kind, and “You MUST have “The word volunteering.” a page dedicated volunteers MUST to volunteering… appear on your with links to your home page or social networks.” your website.” Jayne Cravens, Coyote CommunicationsContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 24
  • How OftenIs Too Often?Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 25
  • Creating Sharable Content • Make it easy for supporters to share. • Tag everything! • Avoid cross-posting if you can. Follow specifications for different platforms. • Write messaging guides for everyone ahead of time. • Include links to photos, graphics or videos for preview and recap. • Praise and thank publicly, and RT too!Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 26
  • Social Media & The 3 Rs Recruitment, recognition and retention in action.
  • 3 Rs in Action Friends Retain Recruit Family Recognize Work
  • 3 Rs in ActionContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 29
  • 3 Rs in ActionContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 30
  • 3 Rs in ActionContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 31
  • 3 Rs in ActionContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 32
  • 3 Rs in ActionContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 33
  • 3 Rs in ActionContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 34
  • 3 Rs in ActionContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 35
  • 3 Rs in ActionContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 36
  • Friends of The Trees “If we can reach lots of people via social media those are part of the touches that contribute to turning volunteers out to our events” “While we dont understand the exact impacts on our other goals, we suspect only good things are coming from our social media efforts.” Jenny Bedell-Stiles Volunteer & Outreach Specialist Friends of TreesContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 37
  • Friends of The TreesContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 38
  • Friends of The TreesContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 39
  • Friends of The TreesContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 40
  • Friends of The TreesContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 41
  • Friends of The TreesContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 42
  • Friends of The TreesContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 43
  • Friends of The TreesContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 44
  • Recap • Social media can’t do everything for volunteer engagement… but it can help with recruiting and recognition. • As culture is changing, people want what you have! • To engage, get engaged. • Make your messaging be about people first. • Let your brand guide your messaging. • It’s all about stories. Their story, your story, our story. • Don’t forget your website. It comes first. • Which platforms you use depend on what you intend to accomplish. There are differences.Content Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 45
  • More Volunteer Resources VolunteerMatch Learning Center learn.volunteermatch.org Free webinar series on variety of topics. EngagingVolunteers.orgwww.engagingvolunteers.org VolunteerMatch blog for nonprofits Energize, Inc. www.energizeinc.com Volunteer Management Resources HandsOn Network www.handsonblog.org Articles and tips on volunteer engagement Linkedin Groups VolunteerMatch (6,600) Volunteer Coordinators Vol. Mgmt Best Practices Coyote Communications coyotecommunications.com Jayne CravensContent Strategy & Volunteer Engagement | Social Media for Nonprofits 46
  • Social Media & The 3 Rs Thank You! Robert J. Rosenthal VP, Communications & Marketing VolunteerMatch.org Twitter: @volmatchRobertConteent