VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


Visit this page for ideas, suggestions and hints to build recruitment capacity.
~April 2001~
  • Effective Recruiting Speeches
  • Responsibility: A Recognition Item
  • Saving Time in Recruiting

Effective Recruiting Speeches


Volunteer managers, executive directors, administrators, and volunteers are often asked to speak before groups about a program, service, or organization. These informational speeches are a fertile ground for making an appeal for volunteers. Here are two tips that go a long way in making effective presentations.

Tip 1
Tell "close-to-home" stories. Sharing a story that is close to the interest of the learner is a sure-fire way to get and keep the attention of an audience. The three most appealing topics are: family, hometown, and a volunteer experience. Telling a story puts a human face on a subject. Volunteers are real people, with names, families, and a commitment to the program. The story illustrates the work of the organization, but it also lays the foundation for asking people if they wish to have similar experiences by volunteering for the program.

Tip 2
Talk about the interests of the audience. Do a bit of research on the group to whom you will be speaking. What is it they care about? Imagine you are speaking to a group of accountants, what things might interest them. Start the speech by referring to their interests. "Several of you cornered me before the speech and wanted to know. . ."


Responsibility: A Recognition Item

Those who work with volunteers tend to think of recognition in terms of pins, plaques, free dinners, or certificates. Recognition is defined by volunteers in a broader context. Surveys of volunteers say that the best recognition is when the organization gave them a tougher job. Encouraging volunteers to step up to the plate and take on a new challenge is seen as a reward. Here's a technique to use responsibility as a recognition tool.

  1. Share your job. Take some aspect of your job duties and ask a very capable volunteer to take it over. This can be rotated to avoid volunteer burnout and to enhance the leadership skills of a greater range of volunteers.
  2. Give a volunteer a "remodeling" job. Volunteers often take on new challenges or tasks, but what about the things that need "fixing-up?" A team of volunteers can be presented with a problem. (It must be very clearly defined!). The task of the team is to propose a plan to remedy the situation. Set deadlines, check in points, and appoint leaders. Let the group keep you updated at they progress.
  3. Be a volunteer supporter. When volunteers are given real responsibility and authority, they still need support. The role of the leader is to position yourself as the aide to the volunteer. How can you help with small things? (sending meeting notices, photocopying of documents, Web research by another volunteer) Does the volunteer or group have the tools needed to do the job? (Web access, phone contact information, a cell phone).


Saving Time in Recruiting

Online recruiting is bringing inquiries from people interested in volunteering, but who might not be a good match with an organization of program. The recruiting process, applications, interviews, screening, is time consuming if the person and the program are wrong for each other. Here are some tips to save the time and expense of a full recruitment process.



The Points of Light Foundation has forms available to nominate volunteers and volunteer organizations for the Daily Points of Light Award. It is designed recognize individuals and groups that demonstrate unique and innovative approaches to community volunteering and citizen action, with a strong emphasis on service focused on the goals for children and young people set by the Presidents Summit for American's Future.

The award is given five days a week, excluding holidays. If you would like nomination forms, contact Crystal Hill at 202-729-8000.


By calling 1-800-VOLUNTEER in the U.S., individuals can be connected to their local volunteer center.

This is a national interactive call routing system designed to get volunteers connected to people who can help them volunteer.


Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.

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