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How to Build an Effective Volunteer Recruitment Strategy

Person Holding a Volunteer Needed Card with Heart Background

Volunteers are the lifeblood of nonprofit organizations, giving their time and services to serve as the backbone of many nonprofits. If managed effectively, the volunteer experience can be rewarding for both the individual and the organization. In this article, The TASC Group will explore the essential steps for implementing a volunteer program and recruiting volunteers effectively.  

A Framework for Effective Volunteer Recruitment

1. Assess Feasibility and Preparation 

Nonprofit Pro suggests that finding volunteers and convincing them to help can be a challenge, so nonprofits should consider the jobs they need filled first and then consider who could do those jobs best. 

Before diving into recruitment, nonprofits must assess whether the organization is ready to engage volunteers effectively. To make this decision, organizational leaders should evaluate the costs, scheduling, and volunteer management needs associated with setting up a volunteer program. If the organization fulfills each standard, it is equipped to welcome and support volunteers. 

2. Define Volunteer Roles 

To start, define clear roles and responsibilities for volunteers. A volunteer position should lay out clear expectations and responsibilities and be targeted to individuals who align with the specific roles outlined. For example, if you need volunteers for nature walks, explicitly seek out outgoing individuals who love the outdoors. 

3. Leverage Professional Skills 

Many nonprofits need more resources, funding, or skilled professionals to operate efficiently. By soliciting professional expertise as a donation, organizations can fill gaps. Professional consultants or freelancers, like web designers, teachers, project managers and accountants can provide valuable services to your organization. 

4. Utilize Word of Mouth and Community Outreach 

When building a volunteer network, lean on word of mouth and tap into your organization's personal network to spread the word about volunteer opportunities. 

Locally, a nonprofit can collaborate with religious groups, schools, and community organizations to reach potential volunteers. Consider the benefits of partnering with programs like R.S.V.P. (Retired Senior Volunteer Program), which is a national network that matches volunteers to organizations.

According to NonProfit Pro, word-of-mouth fundraising also helps your nonprofit raise money by encouraging existing donors to share your mission with their networks. 

5. Harness the Power of the Internet 

Leverage your organization's website to showcase the volunteer program and provide contact information for inquiries. The internet offers vast outreach potential to connect with a wider audience. Some of the most widely used volunteer matching sites include: Idealist, Network for Good and VolunteerMatch.

6. Effective Candidate Interviews and Screening 

During interviews, understand candidates' motivations for volunteering, whether it's learning, socializing, or contributing to a cause. Additionally, develop questions that outline how a candidate found your organization, whether they have past experience as a volunteer for a similar organization and what their availability is.

Match candidates' skills, experience, and personalities to suitable roles for a fulfilling volunteer experience. An ideal volunteer experience aligns with volunteers' interests and strengths. 

The ideal volunteer experience is when volunteers are interested in what they do—and are good at it! 

Beyond Recruitment

Implementing a successful volunteer recruitment strategy is essential for nonprofit organizations. By assessing readiness, defining roles, embracing professional skills, utilizing word of mouth and online resources, and conducting effective candidate interviews, you can build a robust volunteer program. Stay tuned for the second part of this discussion, which will focus on volunteer management and creating an educational and productive volunteer experience.

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