5 Tips for Recruiting Volunteers

Taking a fresh look at how you recruit volunteers can be incredibly helpful for your organisation. Doing so can help you locate volunteers and keep them engaged over the long term. With a loyal volunteer team supporting your organisation, you can get more done for less money.

Authored by: iClick2Learn Team

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5 Tips for Recruiting Volunteers

Finding and retaining volunteers can be a challenge. Most likely, your organisation relies on dedicated volunteers to help realise your mission/purpose and continue your important work. But recruitment efforts can become frustrating if your volunteers leave after a short while.

Taking a fresh look at how you recruit volunteers can be incredibly helpful for your organisation. Doing so can help you locate volunteers and keep them engaged over the long term. With a loyal volunteer team supporting your organisation, you can get more done for less money. With the right volunteers, you can save valuable time and effort by not constantly training new ones.

1. Emphasise the Benefits of Volunteering

One of the great things about volunteering is that the results often speak for themselves. Once people take the leap to become a volunteer, they can begin enjoying benefits right away. The longer they stick with it and form connections within the community, the greater the benefits become.

Here are just a few of the remarkable benefits of volunteer work:

  • Learn new skills or hone existing ones
  • Discover a passion you didn’t know you had
  • Network and connect with like-minded individuals
  • Give back by helping improve your community
  • Establish new friendships and share your story
  • Boost your mental health
  • Create social change

In addition to creating a sense of pride and empowerment, volunteering has significant mental health benefits. Focusing on this aspect can remind people how their time and effort improve their external and inner worlds. 

Volunteering reduces stress, combats depression, and prevents feelings of isolation–something many have struggled with since the pandemic’s onset. Volunteer work helps fill people with a new sense of purpose and direction, leading to other positive developments in their lives. 

2. Give a Job Description

Yes, even volunteers need a job description. When you are specific about what qualities you seek and what tasks need performing, you empower volunteers with essential information on whether they’re a good fit for your organisation.

While someone might feel motivated to lend their time as a volunteer, they’re likely to lose momentum and interest if they don’t feel connected to the mission/purpose or fully understand their role. And informed volunteers are more likely to share the exciting details of their involvement with others, potentially attracting more volunteers.

3. Be Hands-On

It’s essential to reach out to volunteers directly and not just through broad social posts. Unfortunately, it can be too easy for volunteers to feel nameless and faceless. And that can lead to believing they are expendable. 

Hands-on engagement with individual volunteers creates a bond, makes them feel seen and appreciated, and creates a sense of accountability within the community of volunteers. This enables them to feel vital to the group’s mission/purpose. 

4. Leverage Friends and Family

Your friends and family likely have a pretty good understanding of what your organisation stands for. While you might not have considered it before, your next volunteer might be someone you know pretty well. Put your feelers out to see if your friends or family members are interested in volunteer work. Sometimes, people are just waiting for an invitation.

Even if they aren’t personally interested, your friends and family have networks of their own that extend beyond yours. They might be willing to reach out to their social circles, or they might already know of someone looking to volunteer. It can be easy to overlook people in our immediate circles, but sometimes they make the best volunteers.

5. Focus on Your Organisation’s Culture

By focusing on your organisation’s unique culture, you can attract volunteers who align beautifully with your values. Your organisation’s culture is a collection of its values, attitudes, and collective understanding of how and why you operate. An aspirational or admirable culture attracts new people because its positive values are magnetic.

While some volunteers might be happy to help anywhere they can, most long to contribute to something they believe in. By promoting your organization’s culture, you attract individuals who speak the same language.

Your organisation’s culture might include:

  • Open communication that values input and ideas
  • Providing a safe place for young people
  • Supporting a healthy work-life balance
  • Valuing transparency
  • Prioritising mental health
  • Amplifying marginalised voices

Every organisation has a culture, but not all organisation’s are intentional or fully aware of that culture. Leaders play a significant role in establishing and maintaining a positive, productive organisational culture. 

Culture is infectious. It spreads throughout an organisation to touch every staff member and volunteer, setting the tone, mood, and stage. That’s why a healthy, supportive culture that values every individual is so important. New volunteers will appreciate a collaborative, communal culture more than you know.

5 Tips for Recruiting Volunteers: Conclusion

The pandemic left many people feeling more isolated than ever. As a result, they might be looking for new ways to connect, engage, and give back. Your organisation can tap into those desires and create a mutually beneficial relationship by following the above tips.

Recruiting volunteers can be challenging for any not-for-profit. But the above strategies can help you find individuals who are a good match. Our Recruiting Volunteers Checklist is a great place to start as you examine and assess your current process with an eye on the future. 

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