Moonshine Moonshot Blog

How video marketing can attract more volunteers to your organisation

Aug 09, 2022

How video marketing can attract more volunteers to your organisation 

I’ve always said that if a picture says a thousands words, a video says a million more. Actually, it tells the whole story. I mean, when it comes to building relationships, communicating messages and sharing stories, video is about as close as you can get to having a heart-to-heart with someone in person. Don’t you think? 

It’s probably why more and more marketers, advertisers, communications professionals and nonprofits are using videos in their digital campaigns these days.

Apple. Amazon. Alibaba. Yep, they all use video marketing to build audiences, push product and drive sales. And they’re just the brands starting with ‘A’. But you don’t have to be a billion dollar company to benefit from the power of video. Local green grocers. Pilates studios. Even hair salons. They’re all using videos to tug at their customers’ heartstrings, capture their imaginations and persuade them to engage with their business. 

But video marketing doesn’t always have to be about the ‘hard sell’. In my last blog post, I mentioned that I work closely with a lot of nonprofit organisations that regularly – and successfully –  use video to inspire philanthropists and other members of the community to donate to their cause (which yes, does have a sales element to it. But not in the same ‘add to cart’ way that the latest video campaign from Nike might). 

And do you know what many of these organisations also rely on video for? Recruiting new volunteers. 

It’s something you might not have tried out before, even if you’re a veteran volunteer coordinator. And that’s ok - there’s no shade here, only advice. Which is what I’m dishing out today. Advice on using video to get more volunteers into your organisation. 

The real trick is to getting the casting and messaging spot on. Oh, and knowing your audience inside out too of course. But what else would you expect me to say? 

Ok, let’s dive in. 

Volunteers are the lifeblood of a charity 

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been working in the nonprofit space for two weeks or two decades, you already know that the success of charity often comes down to its people. And volunteers are a major part of the team. 

Charities and nonprofit organisations of all stripes often rely on volunteers to move their vision forward. In fact, without a group of committed and devoted volunteers, many would struggle to stay afloat.

Your volunteers provide the hands-on support needed to bring your mission to life –whether that’s by delivering food to the elderly, planting trees in the rainforest or handing out flyers at a weekend rally. 

Which means attracting volunteers, or more pointedly, attracting the right volunteers is essential. And after more than 12 years producing films and videos for charities in Australia and around the world, I’ve discovered that making a volunteer recruitment video is one of the most convincing ways to do this. 

So how do you pull it off? 

Always put your current volunteers at the centre of the story

Because there’s no one better to advocate volunteering with your charity than your current volunteers. 

As I started writing this blog, I was reminded of a video my team at Moonshine Agency and I produced for a charity providing free laundry services in remote communities and to people experiencing homelessness in Australia. 

Although the charity is powered by a motivated volunteer network, they are always on the lookout for more volunteers. And they asked us to help. 

The video we created featured one of the charity’s current volunteers. He was a regular guy but had a great story to share as to why he got involved with the charity to begin with.

When he spoke about his experience volunteering with this charity, he  lit up. He came alive with passion and joy, speaking with such conviction I was just about ready to give up my life as a filmmaker and dedicate my days to volunteering alongside him at the charity.

This volunteer’s story was a powerful endorsement to viewers. He was personable, relatable, completely human. He spoke about what volunteering meant to him, the actual nitty-gritty of the work and what the service provided to the community. And how much it meant to him to see and feel that he was making a difference in the lives of the people he was connecting with through providing the service.

His experience stripped away any mystery surrounding volunteering. Because that sense of mystery about what’s involved in being a volunteer can be a barrier that’s hard to move.  By showing an audience made up of potential volunteers what’s involved and what they might expect, you remove the fear of the unknown and make it easier for people to engage. 

And I can’t imagine ever being quite so moved by simply hearing or reading about it.  

Get clear on your ask and emphasise what you can offer them in return  

Remember, you’re trying to attract new volunteers. Not fundraise. Or boost awareness for your cause. So don’t be afraid to be direct and simply ask for help.  

Be sure to outline exactly what your nonprofit organisation does, why you do the work that you do and, perhaps most importantly, how you conduct that work. Tell your viewers why your work matters – and how their involvement will help you have the greatest impact.

Speak about the volunteering opportunities available, the difference volunteers can make and emphasise the benefits that volunteers get out of the experience. Which, of course, comes back to featuring a current volunteer in your recruitment video. No one can speak quite as authentically on the volunteering experience as an actual volunteer.  

Perhaps your volunteers will get to meet new people. Build their leadership skills. Find a sense of purpose beyond the 9-5 grind. I even read a study released by Volunteering Australia a few years ago that said volunteers are happier, healthier and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer. Maybe doctors should recommend it! 

That being said, all of these perks won’t cut through if you don’t … 

Understand who you’re targeting 

I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record – however, You need to get familiar with your audience. This applies to every video you make but especially when you’re using video to recruit new volunteers. 

The more you know about your ideal volunteers, the better you’ll be able to create a video for them. Consider the type of people who would be interested in the work you do. What characteristics do they have? What type of paid work do they do? What’s their education level? You might also want to give some thought to their age, the language they speak and any professional skills they might posses. 

If you haven’t already, consider signing up for my online course called Define Your Ideal Audience (you can call it Define Your Ideal Volunteer in your head if that helps). You’ll learn how to research what your audience thinks and feels so you can tailor your video message perfectly to them. 

I promise it’s nothing like those narrow buyer persons aka avatars you’ve tried in the past! 

Join me today

A brief recap on what I covered in this post 

I hope you’re inspired to create a volunteer recruitment video for your organisation. You’ve got this, I believe in you! You’ll be drowning in enquires in no time. 

But just in case you want a quick refresher, here are the three points I think you should consider before jumping on the tools: 

  • Feature a current volunteer who can authentically and passionately discuss the experience of volunteering with your organisation or charity 
  • Tell volunteers exactly what your charity or organisation does, the impact your work makes and the benefits volunteering can give them. 
  • Figure out who your ideal volunteer is and tailor your message to them (my online course can help with this bit if you need some extra guidance) 

If you’re still after more tips, episode 26 in the Moonshine Moonshot series is dedicated to this topic too. My co-host Mike Hill and I discuss some of the many volunteering videos we’ve been fortunate to produce at Moonshine Agency over the past few years. 

Clear here to watch now and be sure to subscribe to channel. We publish new episodes every Tuesday. 


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