4 Ways Nonprofits Can Attract the Next Generation of Volunteers
Large or small, nonprofits are always seeking more helping hands. As the next wave of volunteers comes of age, organizations need to ensure that they are visible to today’s audiences and equipped to attract new members. With communication and engagement now largely facilitated digitally, an efficient online presence can make or break a potential volunteer’s participation. By re-examining their digital experience, nonprofits can further engage their audience online and win over the next volunteer generation. Here are four ways nonprofits can increase their volunteer base today and engage new members, as exemplified by 100-year old humanitarian service organization Lions Clubs International.
1. Tailor the Experience to Your Visitors’ Needs
Lions Clubs International (LCI), the world’s largest humanitarian service organization by membership, maintains 47,000 active clubs in 195 countries, all of which participate in local and global initiatives. In order to appeal to web visitors from around the world, the organization needed to create an online experience that would engage any type of visitor at any stage in their membership journey. LCI turned to experience agency Hero Digital to help.
Hero started by conducting deep research: interviews with current members, prospective members and ex-members from across the globe. From this research, Hero created key persona archetypes and journeys in order to align common goals, needs and pain points across audiences. These journeys informed which content to show at which moments. Layered on top of this content strategy, Hero translated and localized the website in 12 languages. When enticing volunteers to join a cause, ensuring that users’ specific needs are met at the right time can make a huge difference, which is why it was important for LCI to deliver timely experiences for visitors.
2. Present Members with Easy Navigation
The cornerstone of a cohesive experience is a clear and simple navigation. LCI desired one seamless experience for existing and prospective members, as their myriad of websites were no longer effectively retaining members' interest, supporting existing Lions or attracting new volunteers. By combining an ecosystem of over 12 different sites into a single website, Hero ensured that visitors were receiving a consistent, streamlined experience. Using visitor research and existing website data, Hero created a new information architecture and navigation that was intuitive across various audiences. This not only makes it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for, but also increased website traffic by 40% and decreased customer support calls by 10 times.
3. Progress Your Cause Through Online Donations
With a simple and fast online donation form, contributions can skyrocket. For nonprofits, overall online donations have increased by 23% in 2018, up from 15% in 2017. Hero’s new website design for LCI featured a step-by-step online donation form, allowing members, non-members, organizations and companies to donate digitally to LCI. Additionally, visitors could choose to schedule donations to LCI every month or year, which means LCI can now more accurately anticipate monthly donation flows. By outfitting organizations’ websites to accept contributions online, the process of donating is that much easier, especially for digital natives.
4. Promote Your Pride
It was clear from Hero’s interviews with LCI members across the globe that Lions are passionate about their local grassroots efforts and wanted to broadcast their success stories to a global audience. Hero built a system in which each of the individual 47,000 Lions worldwide could have their own webpage populated with content from their own members. Additionally, Hero ensured LCI’s site featured rich storytelling from clubs around the world so existing members could share their sense of fulfillment from the foundation.
The new website promotes the passion that members have for service in a realistic and relatable way. The website has become a tool to attract further volunteers dedicated to donating time to their favorite causes, leading to a 40% increase in lead generation for new members, reaching 1,800 new member inquiries per month from their original 1,000. In an era in which people increasingly share experiences online, digital storytelling is vital for ensuring a nonprofit is ready for the modern era.
Through an effective online strategy, nonprofits can alleviate the struggle of engaging members and recruiting the next generation of volunteers. Nonprofits need to provide seamless navigation to visitors from site exploration to the final sign-up and personalize the journey, as well as facilitate online donations in order to effectively promote their causes. Through an optimized digital presence, nonprofits can equip themselves to give even more back.