In a recent interview with several executives at the Salvation Army in San Antonio, I was asked for some feedback on how volunteer participation could be improved. Having built a social network at the University of Texas at San Antonio, recruiting people for events was my specialty. My recommendation was for volunteer coordinators to utilize cameras in their recruiting efforts and dedicate time to snapping as many pictures possible of volunteers having fun. The key is to take as many individual and group photos of people smiling and having fun as you possibly can. You will want several people snapping cameras at any given time so you can delegate this task to camera enthusiasts and volunteers whom you can’t quite find a role for. In doing this, you utilize the most effective, non-invasive way to collect contact information and add people to your volunteer list – by offering to tag them in Facebook.
Tagging past volunteers in Facebook can be the easiest way to recruit more volunteers for upcoming events. When uploading the photos to Facebook, save the album by Date and Event i.e. “Feb 2012 Feed the Homeless.” This makes it easier to keep track of event photos and volunteers. When you have an upcoming event, simply re-tag and post a picture of a volunteer on his|her wall with a comment about how much fun you had at the past event and briefly mention that you have another event coming up. You can do this for every volunteer you have tagged in each particular photo album, and you should have lots of photos at your disposal.
This method of recruiting receives a lot of positive feedback as everyone loves having photos and comments posted to their Facebook wall and it is easy to make friends by tagging them in pictures. The added benefit is the exposure you get as every Facebook connection those volunteers are connected with will see a picture of their friend smiling and comments about how enjoyable the volunteer experience was. There is no doubt that using a camera can help you triple the number of volunteers at upcoming events.