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What Would You Do With A Team Of Volunteers?


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#1 tam

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 10:57 PM

For those that don't know, I run a rescue website and rabbit care forum. Which gives me access to a lot of potential volunteers. I've just launched a challenge on our forum: users can compete for a prize by completing tasks for points. All the tasks are related to promoting the website and/or rabbit welfare in general. They vary from reviewing a rabbit care book on amazon (so people buy the good ones) to putting up a poster plugging the website in their local area. Some tasks are quick and easy some more tricky.

I'm sure there are a million potential marketing/promotion ideas, but my minds gone blank. I was wondering whether anyone had any fun/cool/creative ideas that could be turned into tasks? I expect it might be useful for everyone else too. Sometimes we get a bit focused on building links and forget there are other options for getting a message to people :P

Can't wait to hear the ideas!

Thanks
Tam

#2 AbleReach

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 11:59 PM

"Make a donation" is on your list. What kind of donation, to what organization? Being more specific might help the ideas flow.

I have gone birthday parties where the request was to bring donations for the local food bank in lieu of presents. Is that sort of thing possible, but in support of someone's local animal shelter?

You could provide a pdf poster with a list of possible ways to support a local animal shelter, with your web site as a credit. You draw beautifully. Why not use your own artwork?

Do you have a FaceBook page or twitter account? Promoting you via Social Media is an easy one for users who are already active on those platforms.

Encourage blogging about a problem that was solved after visiting your forums.

Do you have a YouTube channel? If I was an aspiring rabbit owner I'd be very interested in video tours of experienced people's bunny setups. Posting a video could be a task. Besides the YouTube connection, you could draw together the best of them in focused-topic posts, or use some as illustrations for existing educational content.

Is this what you're looking for?

Have you asked your readership for ideas? First, decide how to deal with what you don't want to do, if an idea you don't like ends up being popular.

#3 tam

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 12:31 AM

Yes, that's the sort of thing. I want to keep away from donating cash, as not everyone is able to do that, and encourage donating time/effort instead. I like the idea of having a party any everyone bring donations of food/equipment.

I've never used facebook (I know - shocking) I think it's something I'll have to start with. I have just created a twitter account so I will add that in as a task.

I like the idea of using youtube more. They often post videos of their rabbits so I'm sure there is more that can be done with that.

I have asked for suggestions and they've come up with a few but sometimes the aren't practical or there are legal issues.. even putting up posters you have to be careful with as a lot of places you can get fines for putting one on a lampost or similar!

#4 EGOL

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 03:44 AM

How about a collaborative writing assignment?

List building can be an easy collaborative writing method.

They could build a big list of "tips for the new rabbit owner"...... "tips on how to keep your rabbit healthy"....

... you can probably think of some better topics.

You can simply start a thread in the forum and people will build on it.

Then, when you are finished you can publish the list on your website with all of the contributors as "authors".

They might enjoy doing this and seeing credit for their work.

#5 Dr.Marie

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 04:20 PM

I love this idea! The idea of getting users to submit video is brilliant!

What about getting users to suggest good rabbit videos that already exist on youtube (not necessarily their own). You can embed them into a blog post and get some traffic that way.

I also like the idea of getting users to write articles...but be prepared to do some editing! And make sure that they know their article is likely to be edited.

How about getting users to collect information on local resources for rabbit owners in their area such as groomers who groom rabbits, vets who see rabbits, good places for supplies, etc?

#6 tam

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 07:23 PM

I hadn't thought about using videos that already exist, that's a great idea. There are probably a lot of videos that demonstrate points we want to make but get lost in the millions of others.

I also like the idea of collating resources, there is already a rescue list but a vet list would be an excellent idea. One current task is reviewing a pet shop, but we could extend that do vets and do the reverse, collect our own list. Maybe make a google map display. Thank you!

I thought of another one today, you get 2 points for every post-it note you leave somewhere public (within common sense) with a fact about rabbits and the web address.

#7 mrgoodfox

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 10:39 PM

Have them do exactly what they want...

Give them a place to be heard on the web. Make them famous. Make them your site's face on the web.

Give them power and it will all come back to you

#8 tam

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 11:29 PM

Have them do exactly what they want...

Give them a place to be heard on the web. Make them famous. Make them your site's face on the web.

Give them power and it will all come back to you


I get the impression you may not have been a forum admin before :lol: It's a bit like trying to control a group of a few thousand five year olds, only instead of just fighting over lego they branch out into politics, religion and relationships, and they sometimes post drunk.

The last thing you want is them doing exactly what they want because half the time what they want is to start WW3 over who is the most vegan or whether the number of polls posted per user per day should be limited to one or two. Give them too much power and what comes back at you is not mentionable in polite company.

Actually it's very much like bunch of five year olds, sometimes days they are amazing and you love um, and sometimes you just want to throttle them.

#9 mrgoodfox

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 08:31 AM

well, that's why you put rules in the forum in terms of linking and also appoint moderators.

If your members are that active, you have a gold mine (IMO). Let them do what they want with a slight push towards what you want.

Perhaps start a wiki that they help you create the content for (maybe a controversial wiki)

#10 tam

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 09:56 AM

The are very active, 3-4000 posts per day, 2.6 million page views a month.

I like the idea of a wiki, we already have some content in stickies which could be organised better. I'm not sure how to go about setting it up though and keeping it tied into the forum.

We do have rules, and moderators, and people that help out but it can still be difficult to always keep on top of things, people don't always follow rules. You'd think pet rabbits wouldn't be that controversial but they manage well.

The idea behind setting up a challenge with tasks is partly to give them something productive to do, the number of reported posts per day has dropped as a result.

#11 mrgoodfox

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 05:30 PM

I set up a decent size wiki and am constantly improving it. I used MediaWiki.

Let me know if you need help.

#12 EGOL

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 08:03 PM

Those are some awesome forum numbers, Tam.

Congratulations! I bet it keeps you very busy!

#13 tam

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 09:17 PM

Thanks I'll take a look. I can see a lot of potential in a wiki but it also seems like a massive project. Even when you've got a lot of users, the actual number of reliable volunteers can be quite a small proportion.

I need to renew the vbulletin licence and I was looking at the content option, that might give us a little more option for adding information without going straight to a full blown wiki. Then we can always 'upgrade' if it does get the volunteers and content to make it work.

It's all non profit so I have to be careful not to get too carried away and spend all my time working on it instead of spending some time on sites that earn me money too.

Edited by tam, 14 August 2011 - 09:31 PM.


#14 mrgoodfox

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 10:56 PM

Also, dont forget the power of email marketing. You can send emails to your members once a week without p***ing them off. If you send them good deals, they'll actually appreciate it too.

It doesn't have to be sales emails from someone else either. It could be a from another one of your own sites (for profit sites) that has an item that your members like/need. If you don't have another for profit site that caters to that crowd, maybe its a good idea to start one since you know the market well.

#15 tam

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Posted 14 August 2011 - 11:57 PM

You know, I'd completely forgotten the power of email marketing! I do nothing at all with email and that is an excellent idea for giving my other sites (I've a couple of my own personal sites that are related) an occasional little plug without being too in your face about it.

I was actually thinking about adding in a blog recently as there is no sort of regular news round up but lots that could be, but maybe an email newsletter would be the best way forward. That's a little less commitment than a whole wiki, so I bet I could whip up some volunteers.

I love this forum, you start talking about one thing and someone always has something to get your brain ticking over with new ideas :D

Thank you very much!

#16 mrgoodfox

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 12:05 AM

Im glad i could help. The exact same thing happens to me here all the time too.



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