Four Ways Non-Profits Can Use Facebook and Twitter to Recruit New Volunteers

Hi. Grandma Mary here. Thanks Maureen for letting me do a guest post on this lovely blog. It’s nice to get out and about once in awhile! For those of you who don’t know me, I have a social media blog over at and I try to spice up my social media tutorials a little and make learning fun.

If your non-profit is not using social media yet – it’s time to get on this train because it’s leaving the station, people! The cornucopia of benefits include fund raising, increased exposure, event buzz and recruiting volunteers.

Fundraising gets a lot of attention, and rightly so because you need funds! But some of you also need an army of volunteers to make a difference. Twitter and Facebook can help. Here are four ways to start finding new volunteers.

1.  Connect with local people on Twitter

Once you sign up for Twitter, use to search for people in your area to start following. Once you follow them, talk to them! Say Hi. Before you invite them to volunteer, make sure you know a little about them and you’ve talked to them. Remember, Twitter is like a big cocktail party and the social rules still apply. You would just come into a room full of people and walk up to someone and say “Would you like to volunteer for our event?” No, that’s just rude! Say hi, retweet them, reply to something funny they said. Connect first.

2. Use Facebook to communicate with your volunteers

Every non-profit should have a Facebook Fan Page so people can “Like” you. But you also may want to consider a Facebook Group specifically for your volunteers. Groups are an effective way to communicate on Facebook because you can send a mass e-mail. Your Fan Page posts go into your Fans Newsfeed but they may get missed if someone isn’t on Facebook in a couple days. If you use a Group and send an e-mail that goes into people’s Facebook e-mail and is a little more likely to be seen.

3. Use Twitter and Facebook to create buzz for your event

On Facebook, create an Event either in your Group for your volunteers or on your Fan Page. Invite people and encourage them to invite their friends – go viral, baby! On Twitter, create a special hashtag for your event. A hashtag (ie. #smss10, which is Social Media Success Summit ’10 – you would create your own acronym) allows people on Twitter to see everyone’s tweets who have that hashtag in it. You can use or just to filter Twitter based on that hashtag. Hashtags can create buzz, connect people and help you communicate during the event.

4. Take advantage of the viral nature of social media to find more volunteers

I’ve already alluded to using social media to go viral and there are things you can do to help it go viral. Make sure you are educating your fans, followers, likers and people about how they can spread the word. Tell them exactly how they can invite their friends to your Facebook event. Ask people to retweet your special events. Connect with influencers to get your message out in front of more people.

There you have it. You need volunteers for your non-profit events and social media can help. But it’s going to take time and consistent participation. You are building relationships. Don’t just try it for a couple days and give up. Because you are gonna be big baby!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Grandma Mary is a Social Media Edutainer. Learning social media is wayyyy more fun with Grandma Mary Need a step by step guide to Twitter or Facebook? Check out her new books How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business and How to Use Facebook to Grow Your Business (which can also be very helpful for non-profits!)

12 thoughts on “Four Ways Non-Profits Can Use Facebook and Twitter to Recruit New Volunteers

  1. Since non-profits are notoriously underfunded, this is a great article about using free tools to extend your reach and get new volunteers. Thanks for this awesome reminder.

    • Exactly Carole! You need to keep in touch with your volunteers and social media is the perfect tool to get new volunteers and keep your current volunteers in the loop! Thanks!

  2. Using Twitter to contact local people is a great idea–and one that might be overlooked. We think of the Internet as a great way to connect with people around the world, but forget how many of our like-minded neighbours are out there, too.

    It’s also critical to teach non-profits how to use these tools well, rather than just saying they’re available. Often staff are working so hard they feel overwhelmed. Sensible tips like these are great.

    • Exactly Stacey – these people have a lot on their plate and social media is not just one more thing to add to it, but it can be a valuable resource of advocates, volunteers and donors! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the great tips Grandma Mary!

    Stacey and Carol both hit on an important point I want to emphasize. If your nonprofit is short on time and money, the thought of adding “one more thing” is absolutely overwhelming. If you just add “do social media” to the top of your pile of things to do, it will not end well.

    Social media is a new communications tool. For it to work you need to think of it as another way to connect with your right people to build the relationships you need to grow.

    In other words, don’t do social media because everyone says you need to do social media. Do it because it it more effective than a communication tool you are currently using and reaches basically the same people. (Then stop doing what is no longer serving you!)

  4. Canada Helps does a GREAT workshop called Web 2.0, with tons of tips on how non-profits/charities can use social media to get the message out.
    I took the workshop with Zenia Wadhwani in PEI in May and she was an EXCELLENT presenter. Thanks to the Voluntary Resource Council for arranging it, and if it comes to your neighbourhood, GO!

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