By Greg Tucker
National service helps communities and organizations get things done, and finding and managing volunteers is part of the job. Today, as part of the AmeriCorps 20th Anniversary celebration, we’re highlighting techniques our members have used to mobilize volunteers – and one way has been to use social media.
Twitter has become a fun and effective tool for organizing people to do good deeds. Jersey Cares, a non-profit organization that recruits and organizes volunteers in the Garden State, gives some advice on how it used the social media network to recruit 1,000 people for a project in just one month. Find out how you can use their strategies to get more followers for your next project.
(We’ve adapted this list from one by Sherry Lynn Fazio and Siobhan Tiernan at Jersey Cares. You can read their entire post here.)
Create a list of groups to follow on Twitter: Lists is a Twitter feature that can make your life easier as you navigate the social media network. Find the Twitter handles of groups that are in your area or share the same interests, and add them to a list to access them quickly. Local churches, schools, service clubs, and national service programs are good places to start.
Target Your Tweets: Make tweets that are tailored to reach specific groups on your lists. AmeriCorps members in New Jersey used this technique to shape messages for specific groups to recruit volunteers, getting a record turnout for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service project.
Tell Them Where to Go: Don’t forget to include a link to an event web page or your site to help followers take action. Use Twitter’s link shortener to reduce the amount of characters in your message – or you might want to use other services like Bitly.com that let you track the number of people who follow your link.
Give Them a Picture: Photos of your volunteers in action will give followers a sense of how much fun they can have volunteering on your project. It helps to show and tell whenever you can.
Schedule Your Messages: Spread your communication out through the day to avoid bombarding your followers with too many tweets. Don’t send messages on the hour or half hour to keep them from getting lost in the shuffle when many others are sending at the same time. Lastly, check out programs that will allow you to compose tweets in advance to schedule for sending later.
You can learn more about AmeriCorps and the national service program’s 20th anniversary by visiting our AmeriCorps web portal and photo gallery.
Photo cutline: AmeriCorps members and volunteers work with local non-profit Our City Forest to plant shade trees for elderly residents in San Jose, CA. (Corporation for National and Community Service photo)
Tweet: .@JerseyCares inspires our 5 Ways to Find Volunteers in 140 Characters or Less (add link)