Reinventing Recruitment and Fundraising: How to Navigate Virtually

By Volunteer Engagement Associates, Allie Smith and Rebekah Kawas

Brigade recruitment and fundraising were daunting tasks, even before everything turned virtual. One of the biggest questions Global Brigades leaders are facing as they approach the new school year is “how are we going to recruit and fundraise virtually?”

More than ever, it is essential to create a strategy to recruit volunteers and fundraise donation goals to support and participate in Global Brigades’ initiatives that facilitate empowered development.

Included below are ways to turn your recruitment and fundraising strategies virtual. It is important to make sure your leadership team creates a plan; we recommend using this ASSET Mapping Worksheet to outline your assets, allies, and challenges. Recruitment and fundraising are unique at every university – figure out what works on your campus and what resources are readily available to help you meet your goals!

Student leaders at the 2020 East Coast Canada Student Leadership Conference.

Virtual Recruitment

Volunteer recruitment and brigade participation fuel Global Brigades’ ability to work toward our mission and vision. The more volunteers your Chapter has, the more impact your brigade can make. Try out these virtual recruitment techniques to expand your Chapter’s reach and increase Chapter membership:

  • TeleBrigades, In-person Brigades, or both? Prior to setting recruitment goals, it is important to consider what type of volunteer opportunity works for your audience. If students on your campus are not interested in traveling to volunteer or are concerned about donation goals, consider recruiting for a TeleBrigade. If students are interested in in-country programming, recruit for an in-person brigade. If you find that students are interested in both, offer both opportunities to potential volunteers!
  • Create or revamp your Chapter social media strategy. In a virtual world, many people are turning to social media to inquire, learn, and get involved. Make sure your chapter is reaching this audience and keeping them engaged! Share content on a regular basis, such as meeting reminders, alumni brigade stories, and leadership spotlights. Not sure where to start? Check out this “Chapter Social Media Account Best Practices” blog post and use templates from our Brigade Marketing Kits.
  • Host a virtual information session. Though information sessions might look a bit different this year (and have less free pizza), it is still possible to make them engaging! By using the information session slide templates in GB Marketing Kits and having cameras on, you can communicate your passion for the organization and encourage others to join. Make sure to advertise the event on your social media and send out details on listservs.
  • Ask professors for support. Gone are the days of jam-packed lecture halls – that doesn’t mean that you can’t still recruit to a large class! Ask your professors to present a slide at the beginning of virtual class calls with information about GB, your Chapter, and how the class attendees can get involved.
  • Reach out to the Office of Student Affairs or Freshman Experience. Right now, universities are innovating to make the freshman experience just as exciting and engaging as years past. Many universities are hosting virtual organization fairs and promoting involvement in student organizations. Find out how you can get involved with these events!
  • Learn more! Check out this Recruitment Guide that has tips and tricks to improve your recruitment strategy!

Virtual Fundraising

How do we get started with virtual fundraising?

Just like with recruitment, know what goals you are aiming for as you begin to create a fundraising plan with your leadership team or executive board. Set your desired donation goals at the beginning of the semester. While our Volunteer Resource Site is in the middle of being revamped, check out the current Volunteer Donation Goals posted that help you navigate by your specific program and your partner country of choice. Tie this into your recruitment goal as you notice the different volunteer scales adjust the donation goal accordingly. 

Eager volunteers will continue to sign up on your Brigade Page as the semester progresses and they make the decision to accompany your Chapter on a Brigade or TeleBrigade. Keep in mind as this happens that individual pages for each volunteer are a vital resource for crowdsourcing donations from friends, family, and others. Allow this to act as a central source for your supporters to donate on your behalf after you express to them the impact Global Brigades helps perpetuate and why you want to contribute as a student. 

What else can we do together as a Chapter? Use the below to start brainstorming, even with your members!

  • T-Shirt Fundraiser. Supporters can have the ability to purchase a customized t-shirt  that will go to individual Donation Goals or to help sustain the Chapter as a whole for future fundraisers. 
  • Invite Teams to a Trivia Night. Each “team” can even be from other organizations on your Campus. Invite them to compete in a virtual trivia night that is funded by donations and reach out to sponsors that can provide small tokens, like gift cards, as “prizes”.
  • Virtual Movie Night. Use this fundraiser to encourage others to bring their favorite snack and watch a movie “together” through Netflix Party or on another platform as you engage through chat and conversation. Donations can come in through the opportunity to watch and you can even feature a film or documentary that closes fits your Chapter’s programming
  • Organize a Virtual Run/Walk Fundraiser. This fundraiser helps you attract participants from anywhere and complete it at their own pace within the same timeframe. 
  • Host a TED Talk-style Zoom. Try to identify a speaker that will appeal to your audience and will be willing to donate their time to give their expertise.  This can be a notable alumni from your alma mater, Brigade alumni from your Chapter, or professional already actively in their respective field. 
  • Host a Virtual Gala. Instead of traditional tickets or tables, consider having donor levels and participants can donate the amount to each individual fundraising page of their choice.

These suggestions are a great way to bring your audience together in a virtual environment. If you are looking for lower donation goals, a Business, Engineering, Medical, or Public Health TeleBrigade are open for Chapters to participate in as soon as August 2020. These types of virtual experiences allow students to join the experience of local GB staff and community members with lower donation goals and without international travel. Bring this opportunity to your Chapter and evaluate if TeleBrigades’ benefits better fit your team goals for the next academic year. 

GB staff working together on a virtual presentation.

Conclusion

Recruiting and fundraising  go hand-in-hand when we talk about essential Chapter support virtually and in-person. The new virtual environment some of us may be experiencing this coming semester gives the opportunity to innovate and rejuvenate how Chapters can best equip virtual groups. 

Setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely (SMART) goals will help you achieve your goals with patience and clarity. Aim for quality fundraisers but know that each one will teach you how to improve or change for the next! Even your Faculty Advisor can help you and your executive team stay updated on your campus policies throughout the year and how to navigate this change within your organization. How to Connect with Your Community Your Way can provide you insight to how you, your executive team members, and your volunteers can come together in a virtual world. 

You’re not alone in this! Global Brigades Staff is here to support you as we navigate this together.

Global Brigades