VT readers ask questions about volunteer management
and administration. Ask Connie, an experienced volunteer manager, consultant
and trainer, provides the answers for all to see.
Send questions to AskConnieP@cs.com
I want to broaden my recruiting efforts by
using the Internet. What advice can you give me?
Using technology will definitely increase your recruiting
efforts and increase the visibility of your organization and your volunteer
program. Here are some things to consider:
the Best Internet Tool?
Your organization's website is your top Internet recruiting tool and
Brief description of your volunteer program.
Information that will educate potential volunteers about your
organization's mission, program focus, and value to the community,
as well as the value of volunteers to the organization.
Descriptions of available volunteer opportunities including skills
required, training provided, and hours/shifts/days of week needed.
A volunteer application, either to be submitted online and/or
downloaded to be submitted by mail or fax.
Link your website on websites of other organizations, such as local
volunteer centers and local chamber of commerce, as well as specific
organizations where you're hoping to attract volunteers.
Specific organizations, such as:
Young professional groups
Senior citizens groups (AARP)
Listservs on specific topics or for specific audiences (environmental
groups, retired teachers, etc.)
National Websites, such as:
VolunteerMatch.org is one of the best-known sites to post
volunteer opportunities. A "basic account" is offered
for free and includes basic recruiting tools, online referral management,
and tracking and reporting. A "community leader" account
costs $11.95/month and includes the previous services plus enhanced
listings, reposting privileges, customized referral email, listing
duplication, exporting features, monthly account summary, donation
solicitation feature, and 15% multi-zip discount.
A service of Action Without Borders, this site allows you
to post jobs, events, volunteer opportunities, and projects for
Craig's List is an Internet bulletin board that started in San Francisco
and now serves major cities nationwide. Go to the home page to find
the link to your city. You can post volunteer opportunities for
SERVEnet is one of the premier websites for nonprofit organizations
looking to provide information and recruit volunteers. Your organization
can create an account with SERVEnet in less than 5 minutes. After
your account is approved, you will have the ability to post information
and opportunities and automatically find volunteers for your opportunities.
II. Tips for
Wait to begin online recruiting until you have well-defined descriptions
of available opportunities. Be sure to have an immediate next step for
people who call or email (a date for a face-to-face meeting or orientation,
for instance, even if it is several weeks away). Asking for volunteers
but not responding to them immediately, or not having a method to immediately
place them into your program, is like advertising a product you don't
really have, which can cause hard feelings about your organization on
the part of potential supporters.
If your organization cannot or does not answer email within 48 hours
of receipt (two business days), don't include your email address as
a way for potential volunteers to contact you. Instead, direct volunteers
Make sure those who answer the phone know you are posting information
to the Internet, in case there is an increase in phone calls regarding
Remember to provide your organization's name, physical address, phone
number, email address (if this is an acceptable way for potential volunteers
to contact you), and web address, if you have one.
Keep your postings up-to-date; don't forget about them!
Provide enough information for people to make an informed decision
about applying to volunteer.
If possible use an online application that can be submitted from your
Interested in assessing volunteer and
staff relations in your program?
Connie Pirtle, of Strategic NonProfit-Resources,
has 15 years' experience in working with volunteers. She has consulted
and/or trained for such organizations as the Washington National Cathedral,
Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music America, and the Association
for Volunteer Administration.
Send your questions to Connie
Strategic Nonprofit Resources
10103 Edward Avenue * Bethesda, MD 20814 * VOICE: 301-530-8233 * FAX: