Interesting non-profit organizations are based in each bigger city of the world, trying to make a positive difference in the local community. To make a difference, however, public firstly has to know about their existence. Each organization must find some supporters, build-up the member base, and promote their activities. Working as an outreach coordinator, you will play an important role in this process.
You will handle public relations, develop press releases and other marketing materials, take care of the organization’s website updates, find and recruit volunteers, and take care of many other interesting duties. The job offers a great variety of duties, and you will learn a lot working as an outreach coordinator. Let’s have a look at some questions you may face while interviewing for this position.
Why do you want to work as an Outreach Coordinator?
Because you want to make some positive difference. Life isn’t only about earning money, and spending them later. You want to contribute to something, participate on an activity that makes sense to you. Looking for a job with a meaningful purpose, you could hardly find a better choice.
What’s more, you have excellent communication and negotiation skills. Not only you want to help, you believe to have the skills and abilities to make it happen, to eventually become a great outreach coordinator.
Maybe you are still young, and do not have much experience in the field. Yet you are motivated to learn and ready to work hard, and your passion for work will certainly make up for the lack of experience… Do not forget to speak with enthusiasm when describing the reasons for your job choice. They should get an impression that you are really looking forward to do the job,and do not apply with dozens other organizations simultaneously.
What do you know about our organization?
An excellent pre-interview research is absolutely pivotal in this case. You should learn as much as you can about them. What sort of projects and activities they run, and who leads the organization.
Demographic groups they work with, and what they try to achieve with their everyday activities. Website of the organization and their social media channels, presence in local press, number of volunteers working for the organization, their premises.
Try to praise them for something, but more importantly, explain how what they do resonates with your own values and principles. And if you identify any weaknesses when it comes to outreach–for example lack of activity on social media channels, poor efforts to hire new volunteers, or no presence in local papers–simply things you may address as an outreach coordinator, do not hesitate to point them out. That’s the value you will bring to their team.
How do you imagine a typical day in work of an outreach coordinator?
You should have a realistic idea about the job, and that is spending long hours in front of your computer screen. But such hours are easier on the eyes, since you won’t play computer games or waste time swiping screens on Instagram.
You will actually work on things that matter, preparing promotional materials, writing content, updating website, communicating with volunteers, working on a fundraising event, etc. Of course some portion of your work will take place outside of the office, but how much depends on the particular organization you will work for…
Anyway, ensure them that you expect to be busy, to work a lot in front of a computer, and count with working on some evenings or even weekends, because when non-profit and help is concerned, standard working schedules rarely exist.
Imagine that your goal is to find new volunteers for our organization, in the ranks of university students. Describe how you will proceed.
Questions like this one are your opportunity to demonstrate experience in the field, or at least your organizational skills and readiness for the job. Try to suggest a step by step process of recruiting new volunteers among university students. For example:
- You will prepare a presentation and outreach emails for representatives of the universities.
- Finding the right people to contact (responsible for student activities and extracurricular events), you will send your emails (or make phone calls), trying to arrange a presentation for the students, either in the classes or after school.
- You will prepare a great presentation for the students, explaining why your NGO exists, what you try to achieve with your activities, what role they can play in the process, and how they can benefit from it in their professional career later on.
- Talking in front of the students with enthusiasm, you will do your best to awaken their interest, and will collect the contacts of those who show some interest to volunteer for the organization.
- Conducting individual interviews, you will eventually hire the best candidates. And if you do not find enough of them, you will repeat the same process with another university or school…
Our website runs on WordPress. Do you have any experience with this content management system?
They may ask you about different platforms and content management systems, depending on their online presence. If you have experience, just say how long you’ve been working with this or that CMS, and what tasks you were responsible for–posting new articles, updating existing content, updating plugins, creating polls for website visitors, etc.
Lack of experience isn’t typically a showstopper, since all modern CMS are quite intuitive, and you will find countless tutorials online. Ensure the hiring managers that you are a quick learner, tech savvy, and though you have little experience with this or that platform, you will quickly learn how to work with it effectively.
Each NGO needs donations to stay operational. How do you plan to contribute to our fundraising efforts, from a position of an outreach coordinator?
First and foremost, ensure them that you want to contribute. How exactly depends on many things, including the organizational structure of the NGO, and your role within the organization. But you can at least come up with some ideas, for example:
- Preparing, and distributing promotional materials to prospective donors.
- Collecting and analyzing data about existing donors, trying to identify the right demographic groups for your outreach campaigns.
- Actively encouraging people to donate during your activities outside of the office, such as events and trade fairs.
- Communicating with existing donors, recognizing them for their donations (sending thank you letters, donor certificates, etc), and in this way motivating them to continue supporting the organization.
In your opinion, what role does administrative work, such as sending emails, play in this job?
This is a tricky question, and the right answer can change from one organization to another, depending on the size of the organization, number of volunteers and coordinators, and other factors. Anyway, I suggest you to say that you are ready to take care of the administrative work, but want to do it effectively, because you understand that administrative work isn’t the core of your job.
In other words, you want to oversee it, but you do not want to waste entire days answering countless emails or phone calls. That’s not why they hire you for the job, at least in your opinion. Administrative work is important, but the real value is created somewhere else…
Other questions you may face in your outreach coordinator interview
- What do you want to accomplish working as an outreach coordinator in our organization?
- Do you have any experience with budget management?
- Tell us about the last conflict you had with someone in work, or in school.
- Describe a situation when you did not agree with an opinion (or decision) of your superior or supervisor, and knew that they were wrong.
- Tell us about the last time when you were unable to solve the problem on your own.
- Give me an example of a time when you showed initiative.
- Tell us about a time when you missed a deadline or productivity target.
- Have you ever stepped into a leadership role? Please describe the situation.
- What’s the best project or campaign you’ve ever worked on. Please tell us more about it.
- Describe a time when you felt overwhelmed with work.
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Conclusion, next steps
Outreach Coordinator is an amazing role. You will learn a lot, you can have a huge impact, but you will also carry a lot of responsibility on your shoulders.
People from the NGOs are well aware of the responsibility, and they won’t make it easy for you in the interviews. You will have to convince them about your motivation and readiness for the job, and you will typically deal with some tricky behavioral questions.
Try to learn as much as you can about their organization, including some weaknesses in terms of PR, outreach, or fundraising, something you can address in your job. Talking about these things can help you a lot in the interview.
What’s more, try to prepare a short answer to each question from my list, and do not forget to check also other online sources. And if you struggle to move forward, have a look at the Interview Success Package. I wish you good luck!
May also interest you:
- Volunteer coordinator interview questions – Some of the questions overlap with questions for outreach coordinators. Learn how to deal with them.
- How to overcome interview nerves – Feeling anxious before the start of your interview? Learn how to let it go and deliver your best in the interviews.