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Finding Volunteers

Volunteers are at the heart of every rescue organization. Finding rescue and sanctuary volunteers can be a tedious but worthwhile task. Recruiting and managing volunteers is time consuming. If possible, assign a trusted volunteer as the organization’s Volunteer Coordinator. This coordinator is in charge of seeking out volunteers, screening volunteer applications, communicating rescue needs, assigning tasks, and keeping morale high by showing gratitude for volunteer’s efforts.

Successful recruiting is dependent on your organization’s ability to network effectively. While numbers matter in reaching a large audience, the quality of the audience is even more important. People already involved in the pig community or people that are dedicated to volunteering in various capacities will typically make the most reliable volunteers. Consider your target audience while advertising your needs.

Never be afraid to reach out. There are many people out there just waiting for an opportunity to help a great cause. Most times, they don’t know where to turn or how to start. Present the opportunity to them with the specific needs of your organization and the level of commitment required from the volunteer. Extend a hand and make it easy for them to help you.

Facebook is an outstanding platform for finding volunteers. Create a public page for your rescue organization. Gather followers or “likes” to build an audience. Recruit new volunteers by posting your needs. Create posts on your personal Facebook wall to reach out to local friends and family that may be interested in joining your rescue efforts. Search for groups on Facebook to post as well. Pet pig groups, volunteer groups, local groups, livestock groups, and vegan or vegetarian groups may reach potential volunteers. Posting on local yard sales websites such as www.craigslist.org can also bring in a lot of applications. Craigslist has categories for posting. Consider posting in “pets”, “livestock”, and “volunteers” sections.

Volunteers can either be recruited for a specific event or become a part of the organization’s team. When recruiting for a single event such as a work day at the farm, screening is minimal. A general call to action will bring in a number of helpers. Create a flyer that can be shared on Facebook and local yard sale sites. Include such information as: your organization’s name, your purpose, nonprofit status, contact information, type of event, work tasks, wish list of needed items, tools or supplies needed for the work, appropriate clothing or gear for the work, and whether refreshments will be available at the farm.

Recruiting for committed volunteers to join the organization needs to be done more carefully. Create an outreach plan to connect with potential volunteers. Refer interested individuals to a volunteer application for proper screening. For more information on screening volunteers see (LINK Screening Foster Homes) and tailor to your individual needs. When reaching out to potential volunteers, be specific. People are more likely to step up and commit if they feel they can fill a needed role.

Depending in the size and organization of your rescue, potential volunteer positions are:
• Networking Volunteer
• Facebook Manager
• Volunteer Coordinator
• Foster Coordinator
• Intake Coordinator
• Transport Coordinator
• Fundraising Coordinator
• Sponsor A Pig Program Coordinator
• Feeding / Cleaning Volunteer
• Socializing / Training Volunteer
• Foster Home
• Transport Volunteer
• Communications Volunteer (to handle emails and phone calls)
• Adoption Events Volunteer
• Photographer Volunteer
• Newsletter Volunteer
• Fundraising Volunteer
• General Volunteer
• Treasurer Volunteer
• Art / Graphics Volunteer
• Website Design Volunteer
• Website Maintenance Volunteer

Most important in finding volunteers is to appreciate them! Create a happy and supportive environment for your volunteers. You will find those volunteers to be worth their weight in gold, even bringing in more like-minded volunteers. Keep in that volunteers have lives and priorities of their own. Be understanding of their limitations while cherishing all they have to offer. Show gratitude for the time they dedicate to your cause and organization. Rejoice in your shared passions. Assign volunteers specific tasks and then show appreciation in a timely manner. Running a rescue takes a lot of effort with shifting priorities. Never let your volunteers slip down your list of priorities.

Create a public page for your rescue organization to increase exposure and networking abilities.

Create a private group for your volunteers to gather and keep in touch. This helps volunteers feel connected as part of a team. It also helps to communicate tasks and needs. https://www.facebook.com/help/167970719931213/

Setup an Instagram account to share photos and network the needs of your rescue. http://instagram.com/

Upload videos to YouTube to show followers your rescue mission.

Mini Pig groups on www.Facebook.com that welcome posts from rescues seeking volunteers:

Mini Pig Education
Pre Loved Pigs
Mini Pigs are the Best PETS
Mini Pig Owners
All Piggies Great and Small
Potbelly Pig Lovers
I Love Potbelly Pigs
Mini Pig Education Canada
Hands Helping Hooves
Miniature Pig Enthusiasts
Potbellly Pig Lovers
Potbelly Pig Transport
Pet Pig Advice Network
We Love Potbelly Pigs

If you know of other Facebook groups or resources that welcome rescue postings please email to Stephanie@AmericanMiniPigAssociation.com to add to this list.