There’s a reason contractors are so valuable to an organization: quality work at a fraction of the cost of a full-time worker. But what if you could maintain a dynamic staff who (willingly) work for a lot less? For free.
Dream with me, here. Open source software programs such as Ubuntu, Firefox and WordPress have been developed using just this model. In these cases, developers lined up to contribute to the projects, regardless of the fact that a paycheck wasn’t part of the deal.
It’s true that many volunteer-based efforts never make it off the ground, but Recruiter.com’s Kazim Ladimeji offers five key steps to avoid negative outcomes when you’re recruiting contributors for a work-for-free arrangement.
- Draw them in with an inspiring vision. Outline a clear road map for your project and be sure you’re communicating the concept clearly. Your mission has to be compelling, and the impact of the project must be explicit. Contributors will be won not by dollar figures but because of the potential for being part of something amazing. Ambiguity won’t cut it.
- Demonstrate a plan. You need to know how you’re going to get from A to Z, and so do your contributors, if they’re to have any faith that your project or initiative will have staying power – and that their hard work will have been worth it. This includes objectives, output goals and funding for non-labor-related expenses.
- Focus on detail. Create job descriptions for each task you require. In this way, recruiting for unpaid labor is very similar to recruiting for an hourly or salaried position. Prospective candidates have to know what they’re signing up for.
- Build a Web presence. Here again, we’re back to the basics. You need a static place where potential volunteers can view your vision or mission statement, read about your plan and see who and what you need. Market and raise awareness about your project through various social media sites to draw interested parties in to your recruiting page.
- Find your volunteers. Consider job boards off limits, as many don’t allow advertisements for unpaid work and job seekers expecting to find those sorts of postings aren’t likely to get revved up about the prospect of working for free. Draw attention to your effort by engaging in discussions on blogs and other social media forums and posting about the opportunity on the company’s social media pages.