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Volunteer Recruitment: How to Attract and Hire the Best Talent

At the heart of every nonprofit organization, there’s a team of dedicated, hard-working volunteers who help get things done. And finding the right volunteers is easier said than done. A well-planned volunteer recruitment strategy is the key to finding the right people for your organization.

Research by Independent Sector shows that volunteers are worth a national average of $29.95 per hour, which helps illustrate how much value recruiting the right people can bring to your organization.

This article gives you a headstart on how you can build an effective volunteer recruitment strategy so your organization can quickly achieve its goals.

Let’s first understand what volunteer recruitment is.

What Is Volunteer Recruitment?

It’s the process of attracting and recruiting volunteers around a particular issue area. For some nonprofits, it might involve recruiting volunteers to work with the elderly or specially-abled individuals. For others, it could mean hiring entire teams to manage concerts, festivals, or other public events.

Organizations must strive to recruit exemplary, passionate, and motivated volunteers whose personal values and beliefs match those of the organization.

The idea is to find the volunteers who would easily fit into the ethos of your projects and must have the right skills, interests, passions, and time available to help achieve your goals.

Why Volunteers are the Lifeblood of Your Nonprofit

Your volunteers and their services are at the forefront of whatever you do. 

Essentially, they’re the backbone of every volunteer project you undertake. And without them, you'd be hard-pressed to get anything done.

However, apart from getting a job done, there are other reasons why volunteers are a crucial component of any nonprofit organization. For instance:

  • Cut Costs
    Volunteers can help nonprofits reduce their operating costs. Rather than paying employees or skilled labor, nonprofits can benefit by as much as $29.95 by employing a volunteer donating their time, as shown by the study cited earlier.
  • Build Connections
    Volunteers can help nonprofits build stronger connections within their communities. By operating a volunteer program, nonprofits, students, officials, and other local organizations can get engaged in pursuing a common cause.
  • Grow Local Network
    Volunteers can help organizations expand their local network. Many people are hesitant to join a volunteer program unless they already know someone involved. Therefore, your volunteers are essential to finding, attracting, and recruiting new volunteers for your cause.

How to Recruit Volunteers: The Basic Steps

Although recruiting volunteers might seem like a straightforward process, to find the right people to work for your organization, you'll want to ensure that a few things are laid out before your begin.

That being said, let’s look at the basic steps of the volunteer recruitment process:

  1. Define Your Purpose
    Paint a clear, authentic, and compelling picture about why you do the work you do. Why is it important? Who does it benefit? How does it improve quality of life? This helps a prospective align their values and yours, so they can be deeply committed to help accomplish your objectives.
  2. Craft Focussed Roles
    Itemize the specific work you want each participant to accomplish. Make sure it’s actionable and that every participant can feel some degree of satisfaction upon completion of each session, even if they don’t finish the entire project. 
  3. Show How It Feels to Be There
    Help a prospective participant appreciate the nature of the experience. Is this how they imagine spending their free time? If they can place themselves in the moment you describe, you’ll be sure to get their commitment, have them do great work, and keep coming back. It’s all about setting fair expectations. 
  4. Screen the Candidates
    In the old days, volunteer managers used to collect applications, review them one-by-one, and then interview and coordinate with candidates. No more! Today, volunteer managers engage more volunteers, increase retention, and automate compliance with privacy regulations using technology like Golden. You can expect to save at least a day of time per week, double your volunteer productivity, and triple your volunteer retention using these award-winning, and often free, tools.

How to Recruit Volunteers: The Basic Steps

Why You Need An Effective Volunteer Recruitment Strategy

Sometimes, nonprofits find it easy to engage volunteers. But the problem is that not every volunteer will have the knowledge, skills, or experience required for your project.

Therefore, an effective recruitment strategy is essential to ensure that you find the right volunteers for your event or mission - who’ll easily fit into your scheme of things.

Having the right volunteers aboard ensures that the project’s tasks are handled effectively without hiccups.

Let's look at some ideas to help your nonprofit build an effective recruitment strategy.

Try These Recruitment Strategies

We've covered the steps required to recruit volunteers and why a strategy is needed. Finalizing the best possible recruitment strategy for your nonprofit is the next step in the team-building process.

Check out these cool volunteer recruitment strategies:

Offer a Wide Range of Opportunities

Your nonprofit might be dedicated to a singular area of focus. However, you must still offer a somewhat wide range of volunteering opportunities so that you can attract more than a single type of volunteer.

It’s especially important to have at least one or a few open-audience opportunities, that anyone of any background can be eligible to join. This gives them an easy way to become familiar with your work, develop better skills, and activate their friends to join them.

The idea is to attract volunteers with all-round skills from a wider pool rather than focus on a single type of volunteering opportunity.

Explore Your Support Base

While looking to recruit from a vast pool of volunteers, it’s wise to also turn to your support base and reach out to them with the opportunity you’re offering.

For instance, your organization’s support base could include people from a specific age group, various types of donors, or one-time volunteers. 

Reaching out to them can be rewarding because you’re exploring people who are already familiar with your organization and are likely to sign up as volunteers.

Tap into Social Media

People from all walks of life are active on social media. Whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other media, these platforms are ideal places to organize and execute your recruitment campaign.

That said, you'll first need to identify a suitable platform for your organization, depending on the type of volunteers you're looking for and the nature of the project.

For instance, if you're looking for younger volunteers, you might have better success using a social media platform such as Tik Tok, where most of its users are part of a younger demographic.

Fortunately, every opportunity you post on Golden comes with unique links you can post anywhere - SMS, WhatsApp, TikTok, LinkedIn, Slack, Microsoft Teams, marketing emails - anywhere you want. 

These links have a built-in, proprietary, award-winning tracking technology called Deep Influence that will show whoever shares these links who has signed up, attended, how much they volunteered, and how much they donated in real time, so you can continue to encourage your supporters for their contributions!

Set Them up for Success

While you're not likely able to pay money to your volunteers for their time, there are many other ways you can compensate them.

Offering skills-based training in exchange for their time is a great way to recruit volunteers to help you during your next project.

For example, some organizations offer their volunteers first-aid or safety training in exchange for their time.

This way, your volunteers will learn valuable skills they can use during your events, and they'll walk away with new skills and experiences they can use in the future.

Highlight the Efforts of Volunteers

Volunteers are your unsung heroes. They know that’s the nature of their job - that most people won't know about the work they're doing.

While most volunteers are aware of this reality and are willing to work hard in the background, it's still a good idea for your nonprofit to highlight the importance of what they do.

By highlighting and emphasizing the impact of volunteers’ efforts, nonprofits can inspire and motivate more and more prospective volunteers to sign up.

Bring Back Your Former Volunteers

While you’re focusing on volunteer recruitment, bringing back volunteers you've worked with is a good idea. It’s a lot easier to keep the ones you have than to just keep finding new ones.

Your former volunteers already have experience working with you, which means they may be more of an asset to your organization than recruits.

In fact, nonprofits should invest in volunteer retention programs, allowing them to keep existing volunteers rather than constantly looking out for new ones.

Volunteer Recruitment Strategies

Volunteer Recruitment vs. Volunteer Retention

Volunteer retention is an ideal practice that all nonprofits should adopt. While volunteer recruitment efforts focus on hiring new volunteers, retention is all about keeping your existing volunteers around so that you won't have to spend as much time looking for new ones.

Essentially, organizations try out many things to keep their volunteers involved to retain them.

It might involve offering additional training and support, brainstorming and trying out volunteer appreciation ideas, or working to build a stronger connection with the people who donate their time to your cause.

So, how can your nonprofits retain its volunteers?

  • Offer a Range of Roles
    Instead of putting your volunteers to work wherever you can, focus on exposing a range of tasks or responsibilities they can perform.  It’ll ensure that your volunteers will take a natural interest in the work and will want to serve you again in the future.
  • Prepare Them for Excellence
    It is especially important when conducting public events involving many volunteers. Training for best practices and providing your volunteers with support resources ensures that your team will have the right skills for the job, and everyone will be on the same page. In turn, these practices ensure that your volunteers are more deeply involved with you, and they’ll want to work with you again. 
  • Recognize and Reward Them
    Volunteers don’t seek anything in return for their time - that’s the nature of volunteering. But it's always a great gesture to recognize their efforts and reward them in any way you can. Doing this ensures that your volunteers will feel appreciated, and they'll be much more likely to work with your organization in the future.

Try Volunteer Recruitment Tools (A ‘Golden’ Opportunity)

Your organization doesn't have to struggle with volunteer recruitment and retention on its own. Fortunately, a handy volunteer management software application can help, making the process hassle-free.

Golden is one of the leading volunteer recruitment tools that can help your organization in a big way by making volunteer recruitment and retention easy.

With Golden, you can easily reach out to thousands of enthusiastic volunteers for your next project and keep them coming back to help you again.

Crucially, Golden lets nonprofits recruit volunteers safely by performing background checks and allowing you to screen recruits beforehand. It leads to a better, safer, and more effective volunteer recruitment process.

How smoothly and successfully you run your events depends on how smartly you recruit volunteers. That’s why we suggest – give Golden a try!

Request a Demo

Happy Recruiting!

According to TRVST, the worldwide efforts of volunteers are equivalent to that of 109 million full-time workers. The stat alone speaks volumes about their worth anywhere in the world.

With the right volunteers aboard, nonprofits can build and connect the world through essential volunteer projects, such as raising money for charities, building houses, schools, hospitals, and so much more.

As a nonprofit, you must develop an excellent volunteer recruitment strategy, take the help of a trusted volunteer management tool, and proceed with hiring the ideal volunteers for your cause. 

After all, as the great Jim Collins once said, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”