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VolunteerToday.com~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

RECRUITING & RETENTION

Visit this page for ideas, suggestions and hints to build volunteer recruitment capacity.

Recognition Image

~ April 2004 ~ Topics

Set Goals for Recruiting

Rare is the volunteer program with too many volunteers. So, how can you become one of those rare programs that has more applicants for volunteer positions than you can possibly use. Planning. Planning. Planning. It begins with goal setting.

Start by knowing who is volunteering now, with a demographic breakdown. You should know the following:

  1. Total volunteers annually
  2. Total volunteers by type - long term continuous service, or one of the three forms of episodic volunteers - temporary, interim, or occasional
  3. Volunteers by type and then age range, gender, educational level, geographic location, race/ethnicity, etc.

Goals cannot be realistic if there is no knowledge of what exists now. Imagine setting a goal of increasing the Dart on Bull's eye Imagevolunteer pool by 25% over the next year. In a program of 600 volunteers, that means recruiting 150 new people. Is that the usual amount recruited in a year? What if the program has 25 volunteers? You need to recruit about 6 new people. If you are trying to grow the program this might be too low a percentage. So, start with a thorough knowledge of the volunteers you have now. No matter how small the program.

Goals should do three things:

  1. Describe a future outcome. "By the end of the year, we will have recruited 10 to 15 male volunteers from the Hispanic/Latino community."
  2. Include numbers. Numbers are a way to measure. If you left numbers out of the goal listed above you could recruit one person and you would have reached your goals, but not made much change in the overall program. Numbers are a good measure. . . a way of keeping score. However, they should be realistic numbers, not pie in the sky.
  3. Explain themselves. Well-written goals are self-explanatory. It is easy to see that the goal set intends to increase the presence of Hispanics and Latinos males in the volunteer pool in the ensuing year. Easy to understand.

Post goals where they are visible and record successes. Do not be shy about the results of recruiting that help meet the goals. At the end of the year, meet with the volunteer recruiting team (yes, you need one of these!) and share the results of the efforts to meet the goals, even those you might not have met.



Know Your Immigrant Population

Since 1990 the foreign born population of the United States rose to 31 million people. This is a 57% increase. This is in contrast to the 9.3% increase in the native population and 13% rise in the overall US population. This is a power packed group where recruitment efforts would be new and targeted. What do we know about these folks and where they live?

State
Number of foreign born in 1990
Number of foreign born in 2000
% of Change
North Carolina
115,077
430,000
274%
Georgia
173,126
577,273
233%
Nevada
104,828
316,593
202%
Arkansas
24,867
73,690
196%
Utah
58,600
158,664
171%
Tennessee
59,114
159,004
169%
Nebraska
28,198
74,638
165%
Colorado
142,434
369,903
160%
Arizona
278,205
656,183
136%
Kentucky
34,119
80,271
135%

 

Country of Birth
Number
% of foreign born in the population
Mexico
9.2 million
29.5%
China
1.5 million
4.9%
Philippines
1.4 million
4.4%
India
1.0 million
3.3%
Vietnam
988,176
3.2%

From American Demographics, March 2004-Sources US Census



The Volunteer Exit Interview

Exit interviews of long-term volunteers are one way to determine what is going well in the program and what needs changing. The interviews are best done by someone other than the manager of volunteers. Preferably by a trained volunteer team of "exit interviewers." These individuals should be trained on staying neutral during the interview, asking open-ended questions, and avoiding any type of defensiveness. Practice interviews are a must! Here are some possible questions.
  1. What brought you to our program?
  2. Why did you decide to leave?
  3. Did you receive adequate information about the position you were filling? If no, what more could we have done?
  4. Was training adequate for your needs? If no, what else might we have offered?
  5. What do you think we need to change to enhance volunteer opportunities in our organization?
  6. What things should stay the same in our program?
  7. Are there concerns you had during your service that you were uncomfortable discussing with the manager of volunteers?
  8. Brief demographic information if you do not have it already - age range, gender, geographic location, educational level, race/ethnicity.



Interested in more information? Check out our online bookstore for: Volunteer Screening: An Audio Workbook and Volunteer Recruiting & Retention, A Marketing Approach, by author and managing editor Nancy Macduff. For more information, check out these books and more at our online bookstore.

Volunteer Screening Book Image Recruiting & Retention Book Image



DAILY POINTS OF LIGHT AWARD FORMS AVAILABLE

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, call 202-729-8000.

1-800-VOLUNTEER
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.


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