Quality volunteers are often considered the bricks that hold nonprofit organizations together.  In other words, there are times where you simply couldn’t survive without them!

So, how do you successfully recruit volunteers if you’re not sure where to begin or haven’t had success in the past?

The following are five simple and fun ways to recruit volunteers:

1. Develop a Recruitment Team

Get together with key members of your staff and board of directors to create a volunteer recruitment team. Meet with this team at least once each month to discuss any open volunteer positions, what types of people you’d like to fill them, any existing personal connections, and do some general brainstorming.    

Make it a fun team event by providing some favorite snacks and consider having an activity or game that you collectively enjoy doing to help keep the atmosphere fun and light. 

2. Ask Potential Volunteers Directly 

Volunteering is voluntary, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be asking people if they’ll fill a specific role for your organization.  It’s actually preferred by many people who show interest in a cause to be reached out to and asked directly, especially when they’re not sure where to start with volunteering or whether they’re even the right fit for an open role.

This doesn’t mean neglecting the process of effectively announcing and sharing your great volunteer opportunities through your preferred channels;  it means you shouldn’t stop there!  Consider your messaging as a primer for reaching out and asking people directly.

Also, consider asking key people face-to-face by inviting them out for a coffee date or to a special event.  This shows you’re serious about having this person involved, which will likely be taken as a compliment, especially if you’re not pushy about them saying yes.  Let them know that you think they would do a great job and that you’d be honored to have them as a part of your team!  

Asking someone in person will also give you a better idea of how they really feel about the opportunity, so you won’t waste your time recruiting someone who will likely back out.

Recruiting Volunteers

3. Create Fun & Specific Job Titles 

You’ll get the right people for the positions you’re looking to fill if you have transparent volunteer role descriptions and you’ll be much more likely to attract them with a fun job title that sheds light on the great opportunity they could experience.

Be creative and have fun with this.  You could even simply add a fun adjective to the volunteer role to spice it up a bit. 😉    

Make these opportunities as much about your volunteers – not your organization – as possible.  Your cause may be what resonates with the values of these potential supporters, but how you make them feel after the first encounter is what will determine their staying power!

4. Create Short-Term Project Teams 

You might think from a strategic standpoint that recruiting for long-term projects will help you retain those volunteers, but this actually could backfire by creating burnout or fear of “too much work ahead”.  

When you have a short-term project, potential supporters can see the light at the end of the tunnel, which helps motivate them to do their best work.  

5. Provide a Simple Questionnaire 

Providing potential volunteers with a simple questionnaire can help them learn something about themselves through answering the questions (their strengths, weaknesses, skills, volunteer preferences, etc.) while also providing you with important information about them. 

This then allows you to better match incoming volunteers to tasks that are most beneficial to their own self-interests AND your organization.

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Free Resource:

The Volunteer Recruitment Questionnaire

We’ve developed this volunteer questionnaire to help you match the right volunteers to the right tasks, collect volunteer information, keep your volunteers organized, and segment your volunteers according to the categories of your choosing!

Get Your Volunteer Questionnaire!    

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