Engaging the Hispanic Community

The following post is a collaboration between VolunteerMatch and Connect360 Multimedia.

The U.S. Hispanic population continues to be one of the most powerful demographic segments in the country, both in terms of population size and amount of charitable donations. Moreover, 42% of the U.S. Hispanic population are millennials, which makes for a vital demographic in volunteer engagement.

National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from September 15 to October 15 in the U.S. It’s an important time to reflect on all the great advancements the Hispanic community has made to American society. It’s equally as important of an opportunity to re-evaluate your volunteer program to ensure you’re successfully including and engaging this growing cohort.

In 2001, Oregon State University Associate Professor Beverly B. Hobbs conducted a study to assess the interest in volunteerism from Latinos. Note: Although “Hispanic” is a narrower term that only refers to persons of Spanish-speaking origin or ancestry, while “Latino” is more frequently used to refer generally to anyone of Latin American origin or ancestry, similar deductions for both groups can be mirrored from the study.

The study showed that the most important factor in engaging this population was how well it’s able to build and earn trust from its community.

In this post, we’ll outline a few digital strategies you can take to build that trust — from best practices for recruitment to engagement and retention — these strategies will take your Hispanic millennial volunteer engagement efforts full-circle.

Recruiting Hispanic & Latino Millennials

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to develop an online recruitment strategy that incorporates and is inclusive of multiple groups. We’ve outlined a few recruiting and marketing tools that will amplify your message, so you can find and engage Hispanic and Latino millennial volunteers.

-Behavioral Targeting: A person’s online behavior — the websites they view, the products they research and how close they come to making a purchase are captured and categorized. With behavioral targeting, as a prospective volunteer is identified in real-time, a customized campaign banner is then fed to the online viewer for message interaction.

Since the banner is generated by a consumer’s demonstrated interest, behavioral targeting provides a strong and promising way to make informed decisions on when to best serve your campaign awareness banner to the right user.

-Search Intent Technology: When someone’s online, search engine activity is collected, classified by keyword and category, and anonymously mapped to relevant user profiles. For example, Connect360 uses search referral URL data that we collect from the sites we partner with. To put your campaign in the best position to succeed, we combine search, purchase, as well as browsing behavior to identify your ideal viewer.

-Site Retargeting: A viewer’s behavior is tracked on your website. This includes what information, services, and events they view and what categories they surf. As your audience leaves your site and traffics back to their favorite websites, a customized banner can be served to lead them back to your site for further message integration.

-VolunteerMatch: VolunteerMatch.org connects good people with good causes. If you’re seeking Spanish-speaking volunteers, for example, you can tag a specific skill — such as Spanish — to bring your opportunity in front of the best match. Use your VolunteerMatch profile as an opportunity to build trust with prospective volunteers by documenting your organization’s validity.

It’s okay if you don’t receive an influx in interested volunteers right away. It takes time for prospects to understand the length of your commitment. Having a recruitment strategy in place such as this maximizes your messaging across channels.

Engaging Hispanic and Latino Millennials

You’ve recruited your first group of Hispanic and Latino millennial volunteers — now what?

According to the Pew Research Center, there are a number of ways in which Hispanic and Latino millennials are different from their elders. They are much less likely to be immigrants and more likely to speak English proficiently. While these statistics may lead to the assumption that mainstream efforts can be geared towards Hispanic and Latino millennials, it’s important to understand that culture plays a critical role in the lives of younger Hispanics and Latinos.

During your volunteer orientation, explain your organization’s long-term commitment to the community and how your volunteers’ work and capabilities will further your mission while benefiting others. If you have a Volunteer Handbook, review volunteer policies and procedures to ensure they’re culturally inclusive (if you don’t have a Volunteer Handbook, learn why creating one is essential).

See that workplace common areas reflect your volunteers’ diversity, too. Consider putting signs up in both English AND Spanish, for example, simplify applications or lengthy paperwork, and invite Spanish-speaking and Portuguese staff on-site to answer any questions your volunteers may have.

Thanking Hispanic & Latino Millennials

Hispanic and Latino millennials are young, influential, digitally savvy, and increasingly mobile and social. According to Experian Simmons, an estimated 74% of Hispanic millennials own a smartphone and are 66% more likely to connect with causes and brands via mobile than non-Latino whites.

Although providing ongoing recognition to individuals is certainly helpful, not all volunteers want to be thanked individually. Some volunteers may well be embarrassed when attention is focused on them solely. Instead of rewarding volunteers separately, try showcasing their efforts as a group.

-Hulu: Share volunteer stories through video pre-roll — especially via a Public Service Announcement (PSA). Ad placements on Hulu offer a tremendous opportunity to expand the reach of your message to a platform gaining traction with Hispanic and Latino millennials.

People love to see images of themselves in others. Highlight your Hispanic and Latino millennial volunteer efforts by showcasing the results of their hard work in a PSA.

-Mobile Marketing: 48% of millennials ONLY watch videos on their mobile device. Mobile provides an unparalleled opportunity to reward volunteers by sharing their stories across channels on virtually any device they choose. With thousands of websites and apps, a customized campaign awareness banner and video can pinpoint Hispanic and Latino millennial viewers throughout a mobile network which handles all carriers and devices (including 90+% of both the Android and iOS universe), through in-app placement and as content within mobile websites.

Pandora: According to ComScore, 25% of Pandora’s total active monthly unique visitors are Hispanic. That’s over 20 million people! Targeting and segmentation for PSA audio content can be incredibly effective in reaching Hispanic and Latino millennials on Pandora by using an intricate algorithm based not only on ethnicity but listening behaviors, music interaction, geography, listener surveys, and more.

PSAs: For organizations looking to inform audiences, generate awareness and motivate action, PSAs are one of the most cost-effective and powerful communications tools. Hispanic and Latino media outlets are generally underserved when it comes to PSAs, and therefore these are often used heavily by Hispanic and Latino-oriented TV and radio stations across the country.

When developing a PSA campaign for Hispanic and Latino millennials, having both English- and Spanish-language PSAs is a good way to cover the bases when it comes to language preferences. For example, Spanish-language PSAs can be distributed to Spanish-language media outlets across the country — such as Univision — while English-language PSAs can be targeted to mainstream outlets in top Hispanic markets.


The U.S. Hispanic and Latino community is known for being diverse and multi-faceted, and Hispanic and Latino millennials are no exception. When thinking about engaging Hispanic and Latino millennial volunteers, diverse and multi-faceted doesn’t have to mean difficult and complicated. By developing a good understanding of this unique demographic and utilizing the right playbook and strategies, volunteer managers can be poised to win over this powerful new segment of our population.

For more information on how to reach Hispanic and Latino millennials contact Chris Cavello, [email protected] or 212-624-9183 and Ivette Achong, [email protected] or 212-624-9186. Or download this information sheet.

About The Author

Chris Cavello

Chris’s career in marketing and communications spans 20 years, with a focus on Internet and social media marketing over the last decade.

About Connect 360

Connect360 is a leading media placement agency driving measurable results for some of Charity Navigator’s highest-ranked nonprofits, well-known associations, government agencies and public relations/marketing firms.

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