MNDA Ice Bucket img

I certainly never thought I would see Dolly Parton, Homer Simpson or David Beckham dowsing themselves in ice cold water, let alone members of my own family.

Yet in a few short weeks the Ice Bucket Challenge has captured our Facebook feeds and imaginations, raising an unprecedented amount of money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association (£6m in the last official update) and its sister organisation across the pond, ALS Association. Equally importantly, awareness of this relatively unknown condition has also increased. Suddenly people living with MND, their friends and family, and those who have lost a loved one have been given a voice – and have now reached over 28million* people on Facebook.

Before the Ice Bucket phenomenon, the MND Association was already using Facebook to connect with people. Like many other charities, it had cultivated an online community, sharing updates, messages of support and campaigning progress. Less conventionally, however, the MND Association has recently begun using the site to recruit volunteers. Encouraging people to give up their time can be a challenge, so what positive impact can social really have on the volunteer recruitment process – and why should other charities consider giving it a go?

It’s instant. Lengthy or complicated application processes play a key role in the drop-off rates of candidates. Promoting volunteer vacancies on Facebook or other social platforms allows people to connect instantly with an organisation, read the role description, download any documents necessary and apply.

Be where your audience is. Again, it’s all about making it easy for the people who want to support an organisation – and many of those will have liked the charity’s Facebook page. In terms of demographic, there’s also the opportunity to connect with younger volunteers, and the MND Association has recognised the value of reaching a new audience via social.

Raise your voice. It is essential for a charity to promote itself as a desirable and worthwhile place in which to volunteer, as multiple organisations vie for volunteers’ attention. Facebook enables the MND Association to communicate its ethos, purpose and how volunteers are supported, which will instil confidence in people that they will receive a positive volunteering experience.

Organic reach. With over 23,000 likes on the MND Association’s Facebook page (a number which has soared following the Ice Bucket Challenge), the potential reach of a shared vacancy could be absolutely huge. Posting volunteer vacancies on social media allows people to instantly share and promote opportunities, yielding a reach that would often be unattainable for many charities’ recruitment and awareness raising budgets.

Not every charity is going to have Ice Bucket levels of success – and part of the beauty of the MND/ALS Challenge is that is grew utterly organically, carried along by people’s enthusiasm and desire to get stuck in. But many organisations can harness the power of social media to attract, engage with and ultimately recruit much-needed volunteers. Facebook offers a transparency and instant communication that leads people to feel a real connection to a cause – and as long as this encourages more conversations, donations and volunteering commitments, this can only be a good thing.

By the way – as a cause very close to our hearts, some of the Hireserve team have also been rising to the challenge! Click to see Karen and Hannah brave the ice…

Hireserve has been supporting the MND Association for over five years, through fundraising events and through the donated use of iCams. Most recently, its donation has extended to include the use of the iCams Facebook app.

The money raised by the MNDA Ice Bucket Challenges will fund the three main pillars of the Association’s work in support of people with MND and their families. To find out more, please visit the MND Association website.

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About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.