Making Your Website Inviting for Volunteers and Applicants
When it comes to recruiting, nonprofits are in a unique position. While recruiting both paid employees and unpaid volunteers, your organization must make a compelling case to draw candidates into your cause.
Luckily, your organization’s website can work in your favor! Your organization is driven by more than profit; a mission underlines all of the work you do each day. With a few adjustments, you can use your website to share this mission with candidates and invite them to change the world with you.
This guide will cover three tips for improving your nonprofit’s website for job applicants and prospective volunteers. We’ll discuss the following tips:
- Make it easy for applicants to find your website
- Represent your nonprofit’s brand in your website content
- Write specific, tailored role descriptions
Each of these tips should be reasonably accessible for your organization to implement. However, remember that you can also partner with a nonprofit web consultant to ensure your site and all its pages are set up to attract top talent.
Let’s get started!
Make It Easy for Applicants to Find Your Website
The first step to making your website inviting for volunteers and applicants is making sure they can find it!
Think of the last time you applied for a job or got involved with a new organization. At some point, you probably searched for relevant roles on LinkedIn and reached out to peers in your field for recommendations. However, we’d bet that the first thing you did— before diving into the thrilling world of “LinkedIn-fluencers”— was Google search something along the lines of “nonprofit jobs in [location]” or “volunteer opportunities with [cause].”
Use search engine optimization (SEO) best practices on your website’s volunteer and job listing pages so your opportunities will be shown to supporters who are searching.
Cornershop Creative’s guide to SEO for nonprofits includes a few tips to do so, including:
- Strategically place relevant keywords on recruitment pages. Consider what site visitors are searching for. For example, if it’s a volunteer opportunity, they might be searching for “Volunteer opportunities with [Type of Nonprofit/Cause].” Include the keyword in the title for the page, the top-level heading, and throughout the page’s content. This signals to Google that your pages cover those keywords.
- Focus on user experience. Maintain a clear descending heading hierarchy, use bullet points for lists longer than three items, and ensure pages have a fast load time. This improves the visitor’s experience, which Google views favorably.
- Encourage social sharing. Place social sharing buttons so supporters can easily share listings with their personal networks. This will increase the reach of your listings and signal to Google that your pages are popular. And don’t forget to post about opportunities on your organization’s social accounts, too!
Once applicants and prospective volunteers land on your recruiting pages, it’s time to seal the deal with compelling content.
Clearly Represent Your Nonprofit’s Brand in Your Website Content
Why do people work for your nonprofit? Hint: it’s not just for the money.
That’s obvious enough for volunteers, considering they’re unpaid by nature. But it also holds for paid employees. While money may be part of their motivation (and an important one!), it’s rarely the main reason that people choose to work for nonprofits.
Most likely, your staff and volunteers chose your nonprofit because they care about your cause and they want to be a part of advancing your mission. So, to attract top talent to your organization, you need to tell the story of these efforts!
A few ways to let your nonprofit’s story shine on your recruitment pages include:
- Displaying impactful images of your nonprofit’s staff and volunteers at work.
- Providing context to your work with interactive timeline graphics and highlights of your critical projects.
- Offering relevant testimonials or quotes from current volunteers and staff members.
- Developing your nonprofit’s visual brand and ensuring it’s cohesive across all web pages.
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas to tell your nonprofit’s story, browse the best nonprofit websites for inspiration. They all have one thing in common: stellar storytelling that appeals to supporters’ emotional investment in their causes!
Write Specific, Tailored Role Descriptions
Last but certainly not least, ensure the main content of your recruitment pages — the role descriptions themselves— effectively and transparently discuss what each role will entail. This is important whether it’s a paid or volunteer role; if you want site visitors to apply (or fill out an interest form), they need to feel comfortable that they’ll be able to tackle the responsibility and have the support they need from your organization to do so.
Take this example job description for a nonprofit matching gift specialist. It includes information such as:
- An overview of the role
- Key responsibilities that are specific to the role (rather than general responsibilities associated with working with your nonprofit)
- A list of characteristics that an ideal candidate will have, including years of experience, interpersonal skills, and an interest in your cause
- The salary range for the role, which has become more normalized in recent years in the nonprofit sector
Last tip: Make sure to list whether the listing is for a paid job or an unpaid volunteer position. It could quickly go either way as a nonprofit, so it can’t hurt to clarify!
People ultimately work for your nonprofit because they feel connected to your cause. With a few small changes to your website, including upping your SEO game, telling your organization’s story on recruitment pages, and writing compelling job descriptions, you can make your site more inviting for individuals who care about your mission to apply.
De’Yonte Wilkinson is the Director of Site Builds.
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