Tips to recruit and attract volunteers


So you’ve finalised your fundraising events calendar for the year, you’ve upped the activity to beat your target, you then look at the number of staff and volunteers available to help you and there’s that sinking feeling that you’re stretching your team wider than you ought to be.

Your answer? Attract volunteers.

According to the Government’s annual life survey, 42% of people are reported to volunteer formally at least once a year. So there are willing volunteers out there. Here are my tips to help you attract volunteers that are right for your organisation and your cause.

Firstly, ask yourself why you need to attract volunteers

If the answer is recent growth or a busier events calendar, great.

However, if it’s to replace the support lost in a high turnover of existing volunteers, you may have to investigate why your charity can’t retain help before recruiting more.

In my last post I touched upon effective ways to manage volunteers, which mentioned using satisfaction and feedback surveys to gauge the mood of the camp, and hone down on what is popular amongst your supporters on a personal level and trending across the wider group.

Understand exactly what kind of volunteers you need

Now is the time to be picky, create profiles that would achieve the ideal scenario for your event needs. If you need outgoing and flexible volunteers with health and safety certification that can deal with the public, that’s who you should aim for. It is your volunteers that will be the face of your cause.

Work with your existing volunteers

Your existing team of volunteers can have a massive impact on your recruitment drive. So tell them you’re recruiting. Firstly, they may have friends or family that would like to get involved which would be a nice win win. Secondly, they are the first point of contact at your charity’s events and occasions. Make sure they are equipped for any enquiries. Provide details of the recruitment process, relevant contact details, business cards and literature too.

Ask them if they will say a nice testimonial about volunteering with your organisation. Another win-win. Being chosen to have their name featured across your recruitment collateral is a sure fire way to boost morale, whilst their nice words will work wonders for your recruitment campaign.

Use your volunteer management programme as a selling point

Fear of the unknown is the major barrier to potential volunteers enquiring about supporting your cause.

What’s involved? Where do I start? Where do I go? Do I have to sacrifice all of my weekends?

These are just some of the unanswered questions that delay signup.

Promote your volunteer management programme to demonstrate that your volunteers are in safe hands, contributing towards a well-oiled machine.

Don’t have a volunteer management programme set in stone. Get one. Rely on features of CRM software to build one. Application forms, starter packs and what’s on guides can all be automatically communicated with new recruits, whilst long-serving supporters can receive personalised incentives and automated milestone notifications.

Advertise your role

I’ve already mentioned using your existing volunteers as a starting point, but rely on the profiles that you have created too. Those profiles that you’ve already created, where would those kinds of people be? Because that’s where your recruitment posters need to be plastered. Need health and safety certified volunteers? Distribute your collateral amongst St John Ambulance groups.

Don’t stop at enough

You can never have enough help. Try and ensure candidates fit within your ideal profiles and if they do, build up a database with as many supporters as you can. Especially if you have software that can keep them engaged whether they are selected as volunteers or not.

What I’ve found is the better your relationship with existing volunteers, the easier it is to attract more help when you need it. Which eventually leads to the tools and resources that you and your charity use to build and maintain positive relationships with your supporters.

I hope these tips help you on your push to increase volunteer support for your cause.

Good luck.

tory-cassie-mhanceArticle by:
Tory Cassie
Not-for-Profit Sales Manager