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How to Prepare a Volunteer Recruitment Email

The first form of email ever sent was in 1971 by a computer programmer to himself, which simply read “QWERTYUIOP”. We've come a long way since then, with digital signature software and similar technology revolutionizing the way we work. However, the original purpose of email remains the same; to communicate, share, and reach out. From charities to health and social care to conservation and beyond, a carefully crafted Volunteer Recruitment Email really can make a difference to virtually any cause imaginable.

Volunteering feeds the soul in a variety of ways for both individuals and companies alike. With a 27% higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers, volunteering allows workers to give something back, meet new people, and gain confidence to help them develop and thrive. Studies also show that employees are five times more engaged in companies with employee volunteer programs than those without.

Immersed in such a tech-driven world, volunteer management software is helping many savvy organizations centralize and maintain recruitment, training and engagement all in one place. With this in mind, if these statistics are anything to go by, it looks like email is set to reign supreme for a long while yet.

  • As of January 2022, 92% of the digital population in the US reported using emails to communicate - making emails more popular than social media and other online messaging apps.
  • Over 306 billion emails are sent and received each day.
  • With around 4 billion daily email users, the number is predicted to rise to 4.6 billion by 2025.
  • The average open rate for nonprofit email marketing is 25.96%, compared to the universal email open rate of 6%.
    Volunteer recruitment email
                                                                                   Image sourced from

How do you write a volunteer recruitment email?

The average attention span is just 8.25 seconds, so the best volunteer recruitment email will hook the reader with the subject line. Almost half of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone, with 69% reporting email as spam based purely on the subject line. So, getting the subject line right on your next volunteer recruitment email really is make or break!

With that being said, here are some top tips to help build a top notch recruitment email.

   1. Catch the reader's attention

According to an analysis of over 2.2 billion emails, the following keywords encouraged higher email open rates: 

  • Free delivery
  • Available
  • New
  • Alert
  • News
  • Update
  • Summer
  • Weekend

So, to start crafting the perfect volunteer recruitment email subject line, start by shortening the subject as much as possible and avoid using spam words such as ‘#1’, ‘100% more’ and ‘100% free’.

Scam and phishing emails have become a veritable epidemic, so it may be time to look into an effective email authentication system to protect volunteers as well as your domain. With this in mind, is an online tool worth checking out - as it ensures your volunteers' sensitive data can be shared safely.

   2. Add the personal touch

"How can we personalize every email?!" we hear you cry! Studies show that personalized emails are 26% more likely to be opened than those without. But it doesn’t have to be a time-consuming task. Salesforce Volunteer management and automated email Gmail are prime examples of automated personalisation tools tailored to your next recruitment email.

Other ways to make your emails stand out with a personal touch is to address your potential volunteers by their first name, end with a real name (not a brand name), and use a real email address that they can reply to with ease.

  3. Be positive - it's contagious!

It may sound simple, but a little bit of positivity goes a long way. Potential volunteers will be devoting their precious time and energy to your cause, so the least you can do is be courteous and friendly. Shower them with praise and show them how much you need them. For example, you could obtain short video testimonials from happy volunteers to encourage positive engagement and boost online visibility and volunteer recruitment uptake.

  4. Segment your email lists

Tailoring your message to different parts of the organization allows you to share the best content with the right people. Segmenting your message will markedly improve your open, click through, and engagement rates as recipients are less likely to ignore your emails if they’re relevant to them.

The primary goal is to recruit new volunteers. So, segmenting your email lists will align your subscribers with the place in the funnel where they're most likely to convert.

  5. Keep your audience engaged

Although email communication outshines social media, research shows that e-newsletters including social sharing buttons had an average click through rate 158% higher than emails without social sharing options. Make sure potential volunteers know how to contact you and keep them up to date with all the latest company news and future events that may be of interest. An omnichannel approach will ultimately allow you to reach out to as many volunteers as possible.

How do you write a volunteer recruitment email?

   6. Less is more

The best volunteer recruitment emails follow the simple idiom “less is more”. Excessive blocks of text are a big no-no! Your message should be clear, concise and to the point. Typically, the shorter the email, the higher the response rate.

Don't forget to include appealing visual content, such as images, videos, and graphics to enhance your message and encourage potential volunteers to respond. With the average viewer retaining 95% of a video's message compared to 10% when reading text, it's clear that visual imagery is essential when shaping a successful volunteer recruitment email.

TOP TIP: Using a png to PDF converter will ensure your images display exactly as intended.

   7. Sign off with a call to action

Your email should end with a clear button or hyperlinked line of text to drive volunteers to a specific action. So, whether you're trying to get them to subscribe, sign up, or get in contact, the action should always be unambiguous and straightforward.

With the rise of digital communication, email remains one of the most effective ways to recruit volunteers. To make the process easier, consider using recruiting email templates that can be customized to suit the specific needs of your organization. These templates can help ensure consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness in your volunteer recruitment efforts.

4 volunteer recruitment email types

So, we've covered the seven best ways to prepare the perfect volunteer recruitment email, but how can you utilize these points to create the perfect email campaign? Here are our top four email campaign types to get you started.

   1. Volunteer recruitment email surveys

Allowing you to really get to know prospective volunteers from the get-go, interest survey emails also show potential recruits that you care about what they have to say about how to improve internal processes. They also provide the ideal opportunity to find out where future volunteers have heard about your organization to strengthen future marketing strategies.

In the interest of public safety and your reputation, a Volunteer Background check system is worth considering to safeguard all parties involved.

   2. Reviews

Testimonials that are human and relatable will grab the attention of those who've never volunteered before. Depending on the company or organization, complete volunteer stories and case studies are also viable options to consider. The power of word of mouth in building trust within the volunteering community can't (and shouldn't be) ignored.

   3. Give potential volunteers a call

Be proactive and make a list of potential volunteers you don't hold email addresses for. Most will have an email address, but, for whatever reason, have chosen not to provide it. The personal touch can go a long way to amplify your email communications, while simultaneously improving the way potential volunteers perceive your company.

If you're all about drawing on data from the past to forecast values and make the right choices in the future, learning how to forecast in Excel could save nonprofit organizations considerable time and money further down the line.

4 volunteer recruitment email types

   4. Benefits spotlight emails

An email that focuses on the benefits of volunteering with you will jog potential volunteers’ memories and persuade them to sign up. Effective ways to explain the advantages of volunteering include the use of succinct video testimonials, any training opportunities to enhance skills further, and simple infographics.

Volunteer recruitment email examples and templates

If you're still struggling for inspiration, here are two excellent examples and templates to inspire your next volunteer recruitment email:

A UK-based charity that saves lives at sea.
RNLI volunteer recruitment email template (PDF)
This sample is particularly helpful as it offers a range of suggestions to make contact with volunteers at different stages of the recruitment process.

Science Rendezvous is the largest science festival in Canada.
Volunteer recruitment email + social media template
This template highlights the importance of covering all bases, including social media.

Reconsider your recruitment email marketing strategy

From local nonprofits to universities, multinational NGOs, and everything in between, volunteers ultimately hold the key to their continued success. With email communication as popular as it’s ever been, it would be foolish for any nonprofit company to shun the notion of a volunteer recruitment email.

Feeling overwhelmed by managing volunteers? Request a demo today and see how our software can streamline tasks, automate processes, and free up your time to focus on what matters most.


So, if you haven’t implemented the latest volunteer management software, today is the first day of the rest of your life! Supporting you to optimize communication channels with your volunteer workforce, recruiting, Volunteer hour tracking and coordinating volunteers has never been easier.