How to Recruit Volunteers for Nonprofit Organisations

How to Recruit Volunteers for Nonprofit Organisations

Every nonprofit organisation needs volunteers to support their mission and objectives. They are the most valuable asset for any nonprofit that contributes in spreading awareness, fundraising and managing administrative and operational level tasks. Without a doubt, this is not at all possible to manage with limited staff working for nonprofits.

Secondly, volunteers devote their valuable time and energy because they believe in your vision / cause and wish to help in the best possible way to make a difference.

As per Statista’s report on participation in voluntary activities in England 2013-2020, In 2019/20, approximately 64 percent of people in England advised that they had volunteered at least once in the previous year, with 39 percent volunteering at least once a month.

But the big question is how to find the right volunteers for your nonprofits, how do you convince and recruit them so that they can contribute to your mission?

Volunteer Recruitment is basically a process of recruiting the best candidates who are interested in carrying out the volunteering work for your nonprofit organisation.

It’s true that Volunteer Recruitment is not that easy, but not impossible either. Follow these below steps to simply the volunteer recruitment process.

Step #1: Pre-recruitment planning

It definitely requires a bit of planning before you start looking for your potential volunteers.

  • Pick a few interested people from your team and establish a volunteer recruitment team. Make someone a manager to lead this.

  • Define roles and responsibilities of each member

  • Define what number of volunteers you need, for which events / campaigns & when, whether you need them to work on office or field, what skills you need, for which tasks and duration (if it’s a time-bound event)

  • Create a plan B, if you are not able to find a right volunteer(s) or maybe it doesn’t suit their schedule(s) or they are hesitant to pick up allocated task

  • Prepare a list of what devices, tools, software, platforms etc will be required to work effectively and efficiently and acquire them

  • Allocate a budget towards advertising and recruitment activities

Step #2: Start volunteer recruitment

In this stage, you need to think on what channels or strategies to use in order to quickly reach and engage with the right volunteers.

Before that, ensure that you create a dedicated section on volunteering on your website. Mention about what types of roles are available, along with detailed job descriptions for each role. There should be a provision for candidates to apply online for the interested role.

Best Volunteer Recruitment Strategies / Channels for Nonprofits are:

  1. Volunteer Recruitment Platforms:
    Allows you to create your volunteer opportunities for your nonprofit organisation and interested volunteers would approach you directly. E.g. VolunteerMatch, Idealist, All for Good, Create the Good.

  2. Mass Emails:
    If you have an email list of subscribers, you can send you a personalised email to let them know about the exciting volunteer opportunity(ies) available with your nonprofit.

  3. Social Media Posts / Ads:
    If you already have a huge fan base / supporters on your social media channels, then use it actively for your volunteer recruitment activities. Share posts related to your cause, campaign impact, past volunteer experiences etc. Tag / mention all those who contributed to make the difference.

    If you don’t have supporters, run paid ads campaigns on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter by targeting audiences whose interests lies in volunteering

  4. In-person Outreach & Networking:
    Attend community events, coordinate an event at college campus and join local networking groups to announce about the volunteering opportunities available.

  5. Mass SMS / Text Messaging:
    Make use of broadcast or peer-to-peer text messaging (SMS) campaigns to reach out instantly to your supporters. SMS doesn't require internet connection and offers better engagement rate compared to other modes.

  6. Print Media:
    Create flyers, leaflets and brochures and distribute through local newspapers and magazines. Buy ad space on newspapers or magazines that are targeted to your area of interests.

  7. Word of Mouth:
    Talking with close relatives and friends of your staff, board members and current volunteers.

Step #3: Application Screening & Followups

After interested candidates have applied for a particular job, screening all applications and sort based on the right “fit’ first.

Finally, invite them for a F2F meeting / interview to get to know each other, set right expectations, ask for past volunteer / professional experience, what excites them for this role etc.

The interview process needs to be as simple and informal as possible. Do follow-ups if someone missed to attend for an interview when it was scheduled.

Once you have finalised your candidates, inform them by doing a welcome call and drop an official email with a volunteer appointment letter. Get an official confirmation over email and get the countersign of the letter of appointment. Finally, introduce them to the entire team, guide through your volunteering process and make them feel excited for this opportunity.

Don’t miss to contact those you were not selected, thank them for showing their interests and keep doors open by letting them know about near future opportunities similar to this or you’ll get in touch again when such opportunities arise in near future.

Always “appreciate, appreciate, appreciate” your volunteer’s work - whether it’s big or small. It's a key to better volunteer engagement and retention.

Happy Volunteer Recruiting!