by ATC Volunteer Program Staff
Recruit More A.T. Volunteers
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) is helping clubs and other partners recruit volunteers to support the Trail. Techniques include centrally locating all A.T. volunteer opportunities, sending volunteer opportunities to people with interest, and will include focused advertising in the summer of 2023.
Here are six recommendations for partners to maximize the investments ATC is making in technology, promotional efforts, and advertising.
1. Post volunteer activities: The Volunteer Engagement Platform sees nearly 16,000 unique views annually. By posting events or position descriptions for your organization, you’re taking the first step in getting the attention of prospective volunteers.
2. Be consistent: One post isn’t enough, and one a quarter isn’t super productive either. A.T. Clubs that are finding the greatest success are posting consistently, at least once per month. For example, the Natural Bridge A.T. Club has started posting their weekly Wednesday worktrips, coupled with a ‘welcome wagon,’ and are experiencing on average one new person per week. By posting every available opportunity for new participants to join them, they are less susceptible to volunteers’ own scheduling conflicts.
3. Plan ahead: Events that see the most traction are posted at least two-weeks in advance, but preferably a month in advance. Keep in mind that ATC highlights special events like National Trails Day and National Public Lands Day that can bring additional attention to those days of service. The longer the lead time before an event, the greater the opportunity ATC has to feature it.
4. Get featured: ATC sends a monthly email to 7,000 individuals interested in volunteering. The email promotes activities and position descriptions listed on ATC’s Volunteer Engagement Platform. Subscribers are serious about their interest, as demonstrated by a phenomenal email open-rate, and the subsequent up-tick we see in sign-ups.
Your activities might also be featured by ATC on social media or through cross-promotional efforts ATC undertakes at partner sites like Volunteer Match and AARP.
5. Help elevate volunteerism: ATC, A.T. Clubs, A.T. Communities, and agency partners all benefit when there are more people contributing time and talent to the Appalachian Trail. All volunteers and partners can collaborate to elevate the stories of volunteerism on social media and through newsletters, and by inviting new people to participate.
6. Donate: If you appreciate the work ATC is doing to elevate volunteerism, consider making a donation.