10 Volunteer Recruitment Strategies
This is the third in a series of three posts on creating a volunteer recruiting strategy to show your organization is committed to attracting, recruiting, and keeping volunteers. The first post covered six reasons why it’s crucial to have a recruiting strategy, and the second post eight components to include in a volunteer recruiting strategy. Below are ten tactics to find and recruit new volunteers.
According to Teamstage, 75% of Americans think volunteering is important, with Baby Boomers leading the generations in the amount of time given. In addition, Donorbox estimates that roughly 100 million people volunteer each year. That’s why it’s so important to have several strategies to deploy to recruit people who want to dedicate their time and talents.
Here are ten recruitment strategies to find volunteers.
- Leverage Current Volunteer Contacts – Current volunteers are your best ambassadors for recruiting, so ask them for referrals. Data shows people are more likely to engage with an organization if they know and trust someone who has had a good experience. Equip them with recruiting information that’s short, sweet, and can be personalized. Make sure volunteers can convey your mission and why volunteering with your organization is right for them.
- Contact Past Volunteers – Former volunteers are also a good resource for recruitment. Before reaching out, try to understand why they left. It could have been things like a schedule change, or more life responsibilities, which could still enable them to be an informational resource for interested volunteers.
- Ask Leadership to Help – Senior leaders and board members are responsible for ensuring the organization has the resources to run smoothly and carry out its mission. Ask leaders if they know of family, friends, or colleagues willing to volunteer. Most leaders have high-level community connections that may be seeking a volunteer opportunity.
- Utilize Local Ministry Partners – Most faith-based communities have local chapters of interdenominational ministry organizations such as Awana’s, WildLife, YoungLife, MOPS, Heritage Girls, and Trail Boys. Reach out to their volunteer coordinators, share your gaps, and see if they have anyone looking for an opportunity. In turn, make sure to send resources and referrals their way too.
- Consider Dual Promotions – This refers to peer organizations promoting each other’s activities, volunteer opportunities, immediate needs, and events such as VBS, holiday services, fundraisers, and summer camps. With both organizations sharing information, outreach to new volunteers becomes much easier because each community has different people who may not be aware of the other. Dual promotion can be done with social media, newsletters, event notifications, or a landing page that shares partner information.
- Hold Information Sessions – You may already have this covered. Still, it’s worth mentioning because information sessions are a great way to encourage those on the fence to take the leap and volunteer. They also serve as good training for those ready to join the team. Topics could include your mission & vision, training procedures, child protection policies, current & upcoming events, and how to sign up and join the team.
- Reach Out to Professional Organizations – Volunteers with specialized skills often include website design, security, law enforcement, legal advice, budgeting or tax preparation, medical, and human resources. These services are expensive, so contacting professional organizations or reaching out to attending families to acquire volunteers who would like to share their time and skill can benefit your organization in many ways.
- Make Use of Social Media – Social is a great way to share information with and about volunteer needs. It’s an excellent tool for building brand awareness and increasing the visibility of your organization, children’s program, or event. It’s cost-effective, engaging, and a great way to connect with people, build an audience, and capture feedback. Best of all, most social platforms are free. Make sure to let others know which social tools you’ll be using and ask current volunteers to like and share the information posted with their communities to increase the reach of information.
- Create a Volunteer Landing Page – A landing page is an area on your organization’s website that interested parties can visit for more information about volunteering. The goal of a landing page is to recruit when you are unavailable, encourage visitors to learn more, and ultimately become a volunteer. Your landing page should be an extension of what is shared in your information sessions and include an eye-catching headline, brief content, colorful imagery, and reference qualifications and screening procedures.
- Tap into Youth & College Ministries – Youth and college-age volunteers have always been an essential part of serving kids. For them, volunteering provides opportunities to develop practical skills, such as problem-solving and collaboration, gain real-world knowledge, and create meaningful change. The best part is that these two groups are already part of your organization, so recruiting can occur more quickly.
Volunteers are one of your most valuable resources. However, when serving kids and youth, it’s vital to comprehensively screen all new recruits regardless of how they were retained. Whether another volunteer referred them, they came in through the website, or are connected thru leadership; everyone must be vetted.
We recommend seven steps to screen systemically. Screening acts as a deterrent for bad behavior, eliminates easy access to kids, and provides a layer of protection for your organization. It’s one of the top two abuse prevention initiatives performed today and should be a driving force for safety in your Child Protection Policy. The significance of volunteers can never be minimized, but the importance of having safe volunteers cannot be emphasized enough.
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Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash