While nonprofit organizations face an uphill battle when it comes to recruiting volunteers, with the correct recruitment and management strategies a nonprofit can develop a large and devoted volunteer base. Here are 10 ways to create a strong and skilled volunteer recruitment program.
1. Beef Up Your Email List
An email list is a time-efficient way to recruit volunteers. It is helpful to capture as many email addresses as possible at events in order to continually grow the email list. Segment your email list so that it is manageable, accurate and relevant. Set up separate lists for new volunteers, re-occurring volunteers, program volunteers and lapsed volunteers.
2. Face It
Face-to-face recruitment can be a great way to engage potential volunteers. There is no shortage of opportunities to interact with people: from job fairs to farmers markets and even sporting events. The event should be aligned with the mission of the organization in order to interact with a majority of interested people. For example, if a conservation organization staffs a table at a park or trailhead, people walking by and stopping at the table will share the same interest of protecting the outdoors.
3. Get Social
Social media can be an excellent avenue to recruit volunteers, as there are literally millions of users. Correspondingly, there are a few necessary components that will make a social media post more effective. The post should contain a compelling photo along with a highly visible sign-up link.
Also, creating a public Facebook event will generate a lot of interest, either with volunteers specifically, or with their circle of friends. Creating a unique hashtag or using a currently relevant hashtag is also a great way for volunteers to find a cause.
4. Bulletin Boards
Bulletin boards may seem old fashioned, but they are a very effective way of recruiting volunteers. Bulletin boards are best utilized in high foot-traffic areas and public spaces like libraries, coffee shops and recreation centers. Put some boots on the ground and get stapling.
5. Pick Up the Phone
Phone calls to past volunteers may result in a regained volunteer. Taking a few minutes to call a volunteer to politely check-in could have a positive outcome.
6. Tap Local Resources
Volunteer recruitment can be accomplished through local resources. Local radio stations are always seeking interesting local stories and can be a great way to reach potential volunteers. Likewise, local newspapers typically have sections that highlight volunteer opportunities.
7. Nonprofit Support Groups
Nonprofit councils and associations can be a great way to find volunteers. Most areas offer a type of nonprofit association that provides training, job and volunteer opportunities and other capacity-building initiatives.
8. Grow Your Network
Building and maintaining relationships with key individuals in the community can be a great way to recruit volunteers. School administrators, church activity leaders and recreation coordinators can be valuable assets when developing reliable volunteer programs. Oftentimes these community leaders can organize a large group of volunteers, which are helpful at events and other activities where many people are needed.
9. Volunteer Websites
Volunteer websites can help with volunteer recruitment. There are a number of websites (i.e. Volunteer Match) that function solely to match volunteers with their ideal volunteer job. Volunteer opportunities can be found by location or even virtually by interest. Organizations can post volunteer opportunities similar to posting a job listing.
10. Host a Recruitment Event
A volunteer recruitment event gives potential volunteers the opportunity to learn about the organization and gives the organization a face-to-face interaction with the volunteer. Recruitment events can take the form of an open house style format where volunteers can get a glimpse of programs offered and potential volunteer positions.
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