With Brigade meetups moving online, this is a resource for hosting remote meetings and recruiting and retaining volunteers virtually.
Resources for Hosting a Virtual Meeting
Jennifer Tran, Code for Syracuse: Best Practices for Digital Meetups
BetaNYC: Zoom Settings Guide
Poll: How Has Your Brigade Attendance Changed Since Switching to All-Virtual Meetings?
- More attendees
- About the same number of attendees
- Fewer attendees
Recruiting and Retaining Volunteers
What strategies have worked for your Brigade? This is an open wiki. Add a + to indicate an upvote.
Notes from the Workshop on 5/18
- You can export your member list from Slack. Go to the “administration” for your slack and then go to Members and there should be an export option. This includes email addresses.
- The export option could be a good idea if you’re running into limits with using Meetup.
- Go to practice-area specific Slacks (Hack for LA recruits virtual vols from national Slacks on specific user areas like UX groups)
- HackforLA built a custom tool (Vrms.io) which will auto-tag and invite project members to a Zoom call using Slack. They don’t use email.
- Several groups use Mailchimp to communicate with members. Code for San Jose noted that they put together a regular newsletter, but it doesn’t get high readership. They actually noticed that the leadership team were the ones reading it most.
- Good passive source of volunteers. The majority of groups (8 surveyed) didn’t have their own CRM but relied on Meetup. Frustration with the platform overall, especially that they don’t share emails.
- Code for Boston: Email tools are really bad. Only reason to use to send out is because it’s the most comprehensive list of people who have opted in. Meetup is maybe 2x the size of Slack list.
- Hack for LA is building vrms.io
- If there’s interest or a need for a CRM from multiple groups, we could build an Airtable base and open source it using the Airtable Universe so that any Brigade could adapt it.
- Great option to consider for recruitment of long term, senior level volunteers.
- HackforLA put up a job post as a long term commitment, no pay, and filled a long term role. Good opportunity for an independent developer to work with someone else.
- Code for Boston leverages google forms for new volunteers to fill out for each specific project.
- 1 paragraph pitch, questions for name, email, mobile #, interest level questions.
- Project lead then reaches out directly - this is a highly effective way to get new volunteers on board
- Code for KC: used google form for getting feedback/ideas before a hackathon
VolunteerMatch, Idealist, Indeed
- Idealist is used by NGOs/ nonprofits, less likely to have developers. Some have sourced volunteers from these channels; worth checking out.
Tactics and Outreach
Working with Bootcamp students
- Code for BTV uses this to get intro level volunteers
Referrals from existing members
- Hackfor LA uses this and gets most of its new members from previous or existing members.
University / Public Policy School
- Bonnie at HackforLA has a contact at a student group at Yale who are all interested in public policy and need to work on projects this summer
- See if your university or a local public policy school might be looking for projects to work on.
- There are chapters all over the country. Code for BTV has a contact at theirs and has been able to source project managers.