Using gaming mechanics and social recruitment to reward your volunteers


When starting an advocacy campaign it is essential to spread your message far and wide. There are multiple methods of seeding this, the most effective way is by using your existing volunteer base. They are your strongest advocates, they know the organisation and your people, but most importantly they are proud of the work they do for you.

One central way of motivating volunteers to talk about you is by truly recognising the work they put in. Whether the motivation to volunteer is through egoism or altruism, you need to create opportunities to ask them to do things that appeal to these key drivers that motivate them towards action.

Whether this be through a simple 'thank you', the offer of featuring their projects on your website, presenting the potential impact of them doing an action or even giving them a physical ‘IRL’ reward - it will not only add to the motivation to promote you, but also ensure they keep helping over and over again.

One recurring question we hear is - how can we track and reward our main volunteer advocates?

One solution is offered by NationBuilder with the combination of recruiter IDs and Social or Political Capital.

Social Capital is a tool within NationBuilder to assign a score to actions that your volunteers do. You decide what actions are worth how many points, and NationBuilder tracks it automatically, allowing you to display, filter and search people based on their engagement with your organisation. For example, if they donate to your cause or attend an event, it's likely you'll reward them highly. If they tweet about your campaign, it might be a smaller action, but you'll still want to recognise it.


The really powerful part comes with recruitment. Using recruiter ID URLs, you can reward your biggest advocates through automatically recognising that a volunteer talked about your organisation and led to a sign up. By simply including the recruiter ID of a volunteer in a campaign URL, or through a personal tracking link - they get the credit for spreading your campaign and signing up new advocates or supporters.


By adding social capital to a referral you can also introduce light 'gaming mechanics' in to the way you promote your organisation. This will motivate people to talk about your cause and spread the message beyond the work they already do, knowing that any action they do to promote you may lead to recognition - setting out this process publicly can be a powerful driver to action.

Volunteers as advocates are your strongest asset - recognise them for everything they do!

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