The 3 W’s of Volunteer Recruitment

So, you want to recruit volunteers, but you’re not sure how to go about it. You get plenty of calls and visits to your organization with inquiries about volunteer opportunities, but the conversation often doesn’t go far because the right questions aren’t being asked.

Volunteer recruitment is a great way for your organization to gain support and get the needed services for your cause, which in turn provides a sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment for the volunteers. Along the way, great connections and a genuine difference in the community are made.

However, recruiting volunteers requires much more than a phone call or having someone show up and get to work. Consider the who, what and why of volunteering as you recruit people to support your cause.

Who Are You Looking For?

Core values are something that you should strongly consider as you look for potential volunteers. If you are an organization that supports breast cancer, find the people who are passionate about this cause. These people often have a story to share or are easily driven to action, making your cause that much more impactful in the community.

Whatever your potential volunteers are interested in, help them identify those causes and choose the ones whose passions align with your organization’s cause.

Interests and passions are often very broad and hard to define and pinpoint, and they are usually changing.

Values, on the other hand, tend to grow and develop rather than change. If your organization’s cause is all about education, seek those who value knowledge and altruism. If you are a religious organization, connect with people whose faith is a core value. There are plenty of people looking to volunteer, but the key to enjoyable volunteerism is finding people who feel your cause truly resonates with them.

Ask open-ended questions and get to know potential volunteers’ passions.

What Should They Offer?

These volunteers likely have many skills and talents, but not all of them will be relevant or helpful to the work that you need done.

Think about what specific strengths you want volunteers to have that will be beneficial to the cause that you’re mutually passionate about. For some volunteers, this step will happen before they find their dream cause, but if you run across a volunteer who is truly crazy about working with your organization, continue asking those questions and find the qualified volunteers.

If you’re an organization that supports animals, you probably won’t need Volunteer A’s amazing auditing skills, so take some time to reflect on what needs to be done and what talents are required to get these tasks done.

Why Are They Qualified?

Typically, volunteers don’t offer their services for money-driven reasons. So why DO they want to volunteer? That’s a question you should certainly be asking before you bring a volunteer on board.

While “making a difference” isn’t a bad or wrong reason for wanting to volunteer, it’s not as specific as it could be. Just like you ask questions to find volunteers’ passions and strengths, dig a little deeper and try to find a more meaningful purpose for their work.

Some reasons may be simple, like needing to fulfill a class requirement or wanting to develop certain skills. However, transparency from both ends will help foster a strong relationship, and who knows, you just might run into some great storytelling material for your cause.

Different causes need different people with unique passions and skill sets. The more aware you are of these potential volunteers’ talents and interests, the better suited they will be to meet your organization’s needs and vice versa. Before you jump into a volunteer relationship, ask yourself these questions to strike up an effective conversation and, hopefully, snag yourself the perfect volunteer.



Angela Cuadros

November 30, 2015

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