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5 simple and effective volunteer recruitment strategies

November 30, 2021
This image shows three business professionals of varying ethnicities standing together smiling while discussing volunteer recruitment.

Quality volunteers are often the bricks that hold nonprofit organizations together. In other words, they can be a significant contributor to your campaign’s success!

So, how do you recruit volunteers if you’re not sure where to begin or have had limited success in the past? Here are five straightforward and fun ways to effectively recruit loyal volunteers.

1. Develop a recruitment team

Get together with key members of your staff and board of directors to create a volunteer recruitment team. Your board is the authority on your nonprofit’s needs and can provide valuable insight into your volunteer program.

Meet with the recruitment team at least once each month to discuss any open volunteer positions, what types of people you’d like to fill them, and if any team members have existing connections who would be a good fit. This will keep your team on the same page and streamline the recruitment process.

2. Ask potential volunteers directly 

As the name suggests, volunteering is voluntary, but you can still ask 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 if they’re not sure how to get started or whether they’re the right fit for an open role.

Be sure to still announce and share your volunteer opportunities through public channels. Use this widespread messaging as a primer for reaching out and asking people on a personal level.

Also, consider asking key prospects to volunteer in face-to-face meetings by inviting them out for a coffee chat or another special event. This shows you’re invested in their continued involvement, strengthening their relationship with your nonprofit. During your conversation, 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.

3. Create fun & specific job titles 

You’ll get the right people for the positions you’re looking to fill if you have clear, specific volunteer role descriptions. Furthermore, you’ll be much more likely to attract participants with fun job titles for your volunteering opportunity. For instance, if you’re looking for someone to help with graphic design, you could say you’re looking for a “digital artist extraordinaire.” Be creative and have fun with this!

Make these opportunities as much about your volunteers as possible.  Your cause may be what attracts these potential supporters, but how your nonprofit rewards them and shows appreciation for their hard work is what will cement their loyalty.

4. Create short-term project teams 

Short-term projects lead to more effective volunteer retention. With short projects, potential supporters will be able to manage their workloads, which helps motivate them to do their best work. Allow volunteers who have worked with you in the past to pick which short-term projects they join so they feel excited to work and are comfortable with the tasks.

5. Provide a simple questionnaire 

Providing potential volunteers with a simple questionnaire can help them learn something about themselves by 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.

Deepen your connection with volunteers

Remember that your volunteers are donating an important part of their lives to you—their time. Give them as many reasons to join your nonprofit as possible by building personal connections with them, making fun tasks for them to complete, and showing them that you value their efforts by regularly saying thank you and listening to their feedback.

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    Volunteer Management
  • Volunteerism
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing