10 video ideas to help recruit volunteers
Video is a powerful tool to open the door to your organisation, showcase your services and champion your volunteers.
Volunteering is great for work experience, gaining confidence, personal skills, well-being and mental and physical health.
Having worked for a charity for five years, and having created videos for different charities for over ten years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with some amazing volunteers!
Barriers to using video can include time, ideas and lacking confidence, but why not pick up your smartphone and give it a go. Statistics show that people are more likely to watch a video than read reams of text on your website. The video doesn’t have to be polished and perfect – just ensure you can see and hear the content clearly.
Many charities rely on their volunteers, so here are 10 video ideas to encourae more people to start volunteering.
1. Profile video
Create a short profile video highlighting your services, staff and volunteers. It can be daunting for people to go into a new place and not know what to expect. This is an opportunity to show your premises and some friendly faces. Convey the passion and dedication behind the charity and your good work. People often want to volunteer to 'give something back', and here they learn how they can.
Another thing that may hinder people from volunteering is feeling nervous about what is involved and how much will be asked of them. A short video by either an existing volunteer or a member of staff can explain a little about volunteering and the induction process. Try to make the process seem as smooth and easy as possible, and that (if possible) you can work around people’s availability and interests. Please also state that you are inclusive to all.
3. Volunteer's story
Hopefully one of your lovely volunteers will be up for the challenge of jumping in front of the camera and telling their story.
Why did they decide to volunteer?
What role do they do?
What do they enjoy the most?
Who have they helped?
How has volunteering benefited them?
Have they made new friends and gained skills?
If your volunteer is uncomfortable speaking directly to the camera, perhaps a member of staff could interview them, or two volunteers could chat together about their experiences.
You could also create a 'day in the life' video of one of your volunteers. It might be a good idea to create a series of these videos and highlight a different role each month. Please try to be diverse and inclusive.
4. Chat between a volunteer and a service user
This could be one of the most powerful videos to attract volunteers as it will not only show the relationship between the volunteer and the service user but also how volunteering has helped. An informal chat is authentic and therefore has the potential of being more engaging and emotional. Let them bounce off each other and have a laugh to show their relationship and create some nice intimate moments.
5. Case study
Highlight the journey of one service user.
What was their situation?
How did they find out about the charity?
What did the charity do to help?
How were the volunteers involved?
How has their life changed for the better?
It would be best if you could get a service user to tell their story directly for the greatest emotional impact. When attracting new volunteers it’s good to show how the charity’s work has directly affected individuals. A narrative is more exciting than stating facts.
Video testimonials are a powerful device to confirm your amazing work and therefore make the charity even more attractive to the potential volunteer. The testimonial can come from anyone you've worked with or you’ve helped: a service user, a volunteer, an organisation, a sponsor, a trustee and so on. It's more effective to hear from other people about how brilliant your charity is.
7. Different volunteering roles
People may assume that there is only one type of role available. For example, if you run a community kitchen, they may assume that you only need volunteer chefs. You may have various volunteering roles at your organisation, from an administrator to a driver or a gardener. It would be useful to have a member of staff go through each role and explain what is involved – and even better to have the volunteers speak directly about the roles.
8. Volunteer events and incentives
Do you run any volunteer events or provide any incentive or reward schemes? Now is the time to promote them. Maybe you run a volunteer fair or coffee morning to attract more volunteers? Record some fly-on-the-wall footage to show what happens: it will make apprehensive people more likely to attend if they see what is involved.
Do you have any social events for volunteers to thank them for their work? Show some footage of them having a good time, being celebrated and feeling special.
Your organisation may run reward schemes such as time credits or discounts on shopping and services, so why not interview an existing volunteer to speak about how these schemes have been beneficial to them.
Potential volunteers will have many questions about volunteering for your charity. You may find from interviewing them that they ask similar questions – make a note of these and run through them in a video that can sit on your website or be posted on your social channels. Examples include:
Will expenses be paid?
Do I have to commit to regular hours each week?
How much notice do I have to give if I can’t volunteer?
Will there be training?
What should I wear?
Is there parking?
These can also exist as text on your website, but video really does have the power to connect and build trust with the potential volunteer, as they can see that friendly face that they'll be working with.
10. Short form video
Short form video such as Instagram Stories and TikToks are very popular, so this is an opportunity to utilise their appeal to attract more volunteers. Create snippets of your good work, a short testimonial, volunteers having fun and so on. This could be quite fun! You could even let a couple of trusted volunteers run their own volunteer account and they can capture special moments. Smartphones allow you to be more free and spontaneous and they can upload video during their session.
I hope my 10 ideas have been useful for your organisation.
Please remember to get media consent from everyone that you film – not everyone likes to be on camera and some people may be vulnerable.
When you’ve created your videos, try to add captions (if possible) and then publish them to your website, YouTube channel and social media accounts. Try to find out where your potential volunteers are – for example, statistically younger people are going to be looking at TikTok rather than Facebook. It may be worth asking existing volunteers what social media channels they use. Obviously, social media fashion changes quickly so it’s good to keep an eye on trends.
Post regularly on social media in order to feature in people’s feeds. You can start conversations about the videos, and perhaps ask questions to encourage engagement.
If you attend volunteer fairs, you could add a QR code to a banner or leaflets which will direct people to any volunteer videos. For example, you could add a volunteer playlist on your YouTube channel and link to that.
These videos will not only attract volunteers but lead to a wider exposure. They will promote the charity, signpost potential service users and entice new funders and supporters. The videos will also show current funders how well their money is used.
So, give it a go! The more video you create, the more comfortable you will be and it will slot into your work routine. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. The more relaxed and fun you can make the videos the more authentic and engaging they will be. The focus is on storytelling – end on a high and keep the content positive!
If you ever need a hand telling your story, please get it touch!