Many tourist railroads rely on Volunteers to keep the wheels turning. We know from our experience working with railroads that many Volunteers were Guests first. It may have been a Santa Train, or a Charter (a bridal shower or bachelor party) or maybe, Father’s Day. Somehow, they rode the train, had fun, and decided to get involved.
So how do you engage your Guests and invite them to Volunteer?
Broadcast the invitation to volunteer on all channels.
Post clear and easy to find information on your website. Detail the types of skills needed and tasks to be done. Photos of current Volunteers “at work” doing fun stuff will go a long way.
Post photos and video of Volunteers at work or enjoying the annual banquet or awards ceremony on your social media. With permission, tag the Volunteers pictured so their friends can see what they are up to – they may want to join in too.
Depending on your business rules, eg. you may require volunteers to join as members first, or take a course for certification, you can invite Volunteers to register online either during the ticket purchase process or through a link on your website. An automatically generated “post-excursion email” may include information on volunteering. The Guest can provide their contact information on a sign up form and indicate areas of skill or interest. That’s a “hot lead”. Follow up is key to successful recruitment. An email notification automatically sent to your Volunteer Coordinator when a prospective volunteer submits the interest form prompts them to follow up and take the next step with the prospect. That may be a phone call, another email inviting them to a workday, or registering them for a required training.
Day-old donuts? No thanks! Better to get ‘em while they’re HOT!