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On this page are ideas to help you work more efficiently with volunteers. There are tips on recruiting, engaging, coordinating, and managing the work of volunteers.

~January 2010~


Passive Recruiting- indirect contact with possible volunteers or consumers of service

  1. Drop a packet of brochures on volunteer opportunities off at a local library
  2. Ask a local religious congregation to run an announcement about the need for volunteers
  3. Put an ad in the newspaper asking for volunteers
  4. Put flyers in local business that asks people to volunteer
  5. Create radio or TV public service announcements to highlight the need for volunteers in the organization
  6. A news article on the need for volunteers in your organization’s internal newsletter or bulletin
  7. Flyers or brochures on volunteer opportunities that are done in languages other than English and placed in community businesses and organizations where people who speak those languages might pick them up.
  8. Speak to community groups or service clubs asking for volunteers

Active Recruiting – Direct contact with potential volunteers

  1. Attend a worship service at a local congregation and give a short pitch for the need for volunteers at your organization.
  2. Set up volunteer recruitment booth in a local shopping mall and have staff and/or volunteers actively distributing recruitment literature
  3. Organize a speaker’s bureau of volunteers and visit each community service club to do a presentation on the programs of your organization and need for volunteers.
  4. Attend ethnic community events, with volunteers who speak the language, and distribute information on your program and need for more volunteers from this community.
  5. Community businesses and locations are identified for people speaking a language other than English.  Once a year a recruiting table is set up in those community locations.  People who speak the language and are volunteers or affiliated with the organization are available to answer questions and talk about volunteer opportunities.


Still Time to Register

Online Classes beginning January 4, 2010

Volunteer Recruiting

and Volunteer Management

For more information:

Visit the Volunteer Today Training Page


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Organizing a plan to recruit volunteers includes making a plan to create advertising and promotional items or activities to attract people.  Here is a simple tool to plan activities. 

1. Why do you want to advertise? This requires some knowledge of that exists already.  How many volunteers do you need?  That means knowing your yearly or seasonal turnover or attrition rates.  Where are volunteers needed?  Do they need special skills or training?  What type of skills or behaviors are desirable in the volunteer?  Before you plan specific strategies you need background information to help make the right advertising and promotional choices.
2. What specific goal(s) do you want to achieve? A goal means setting out to do something that is specific and measurable.  For example, the XX advertising and promotional campaign of Winter 2010 will increase volunteer applicants by 25%.  No goals and it means you cannot measure success for failure of an effort that could be costly in either time or money.
3. During what period of time? Promotional and advertising campaigns should have a clear beginning and end.  If you engage a volunteer recruiting team, this is especially important.  Some programs do their big push for volunteers in the fall, as school is starting, others begin the campaigns after the first of a new year.  But there should be a PUSH during a specific time period.  It does not mean you do nothing the rest of the year, but once or twice a year there should be a big push, depending on the Answers to the questions in Item # 1.
4. What strategy are you going to use to reach your goal(s)? This is where you brainstorm all the best promotional and advertising ideas to reach out specifically to people who are most likely to meet your needs.  For example, if you are trying to reach those available during work hours, senior citizens who are retired might be a good choice to target.  You would prepare paper flyers to be delivered to places like libraries, senior centers, apartment living centers for seniors, articles in senior paper or newsletters, information to churches, paid advertising in a senior newspaper.
5. How much money can be budgeted? A volunteer program needs a budget for recognition and recruiting, among other things.  A director of volunteer services needs to know the budget and practice dividing up the money for maximum impact.

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Hiring someone to carry out the administrative duties of managing volunteers is frequently not done in a planned manner.  Sometimes a person with other full time duties is handed the job of managing volunteers.  How can an organization decide if it is time to budget for a volunteer manager or assess the current administrative structure for engaging volunteers?  Here is a check list to use in considering the role and importance of having a person with ample time and direction to manage volunteers.

1.  Are volunteers central to the delivery of the services of the organization?
2.  What percentage of the entire staff are volunteers? 
3.  Can you meet your mission and goals without volunteers?
4.  Can you meet your objectives for the engagement of volunteers without a part-time or full – time manager of volunteers?
5.  What does the budget allow for engaging someone to coordinate the activities of volunteers?
6.  Is there physical space to house an Office of Volunteer Services?

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