In this three-part series in partnership with the National Volunteer Fire Council, we dicsuss how to boost your volunteer fire/EMS department’s online recruitment efforts through your website, Facebook, and Google for Nonprofits.
If your department is (or can become qualified as a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency, you can qualify for some amazing benefits from Google’s nonprofit program, including:
- Unlimited branded email accounts (such as [email protected])
- Up to 30GB of Google Drive and Gmail storage per user
- Google Forms to conduct surveys and event sign-ups
- Google Calendar to manage schedules
- Video conference call hosting for up to 15 participants – desktop or mobile
- Google Ad Grants – Up to $10,000 per month in in-kind advertising
- YouTube Nonprofit Program – Enable donations through your YouTube videos, expanded Call-to-Action features with your videos, and more.
Signing up for Google for Nonprofits takes just a few minutes at https://www.google.com/nonprofits/ − you’ll need some basic corporate information, so having someone involved who is familiar with that for your department will help.
Key Features Supporting Your Recruitment & Retention
While all of the features that come with Google for Nonprofits will benefit your organization, here’s how a few will REALLY help you:
Google Ad Grants
You’ll likely never “spend” the full $10,000 in donated advertising every month, but this amazing tool lets you create search ads that will display whenever someone searches on Google. You can use this for recruitment as well as fundraising, event promotion, and beyond. Similar to Facebook ads, you’ll be able to select your target audience by keyword search terms, location, and more. Managing Google ads can be made even easier by using AdWords Express if you don’t have the time or expertise to manage larger campaigns.
Share your Google Calendar on your web site or otherwise online to display upcoming recruitment events to potential recruits. Plus, you can use Google Calendar internally to share department meetings, training, and even staff scheduling.
Google Drive & Google Forms
With 30GB of storage (expandable for reasonable costs), you can use Google Drive to share recruit applications, training records for members, and other key documents. Need to collect data (like recruitment leads from your web site, for example)? Use Google Forms to easily create and customize forms to use independently or place on your web site to collect recruit information, for your site’s main contact form, or to let community members sign up for events, request a public education appearance, or reserve your rental hall.
YouTube for Nonprofits
Beyond just hosting your recruitment and department videos, this YouTube program offers your department a powerful suite of tools to add features to your videos to make them more interactive and drive engagement. Easily add calls to action (such as “Click Here for Recruitment Information,” “Donate Now,” or “Join Now”) to your video in various formats.