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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs in health care settings.

~August 2011~



Recruitment seems to always make the list when people have the opportunity to specify topics for discussion.  To meet those needs, here are some ideas and concepts on recruitment.

  • Assess the readiness of your organization to determine if the program can and will be successful.  Your assessment should also address things such as the perceived safety of potential volunteers and other issues that might prohibit volunteers from considering your organization.  These are all things that should be addressed in your recruitment message.


  • Identify specifically what you need immediately.  Take an objective look at the work to see if it can be combined with other duties or if it truly stands alone.  Today’s volunteer is looking for meaningful work, so you need to make sure that you’re not wasting their time.


  • Consider targeted recruitment.  Targeted recruitment specifies the skills you need and then targets the audience with those skills to find people willing to volunteer their time to meet your needs.  Here’s an easy to understand example:  if you’re looking for accounting folks to help seniors file taxes, look to a local professional association for accountants as a place from which to recruit.


  • Consider your circle of influence.  If you imagine your organization at the center of a circle, look around and see what resources are nearby.  Continue moving your circle out until you have exhausted all appropriate options.


  • Your recruitment message should include three short sentences.  The first sentence describes what you need (be specific).  The second sentence illustrates how volunteers can help with the need.  The third sentence should detail what intrinsic reward the volunteer will receive.


These considerations will go a long way into successful recruitment. 

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The author of the Heath Care Volunteer Programs column is Mary Kay Hood MS, Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, IN (317) 745-3556. With a BS degree in biology from Marian College and a Master of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, Mary Kay has been involved in volunteer management over twenty years with a zoo and in the health care field. During that time, she completed the Management of Volunteer Programs course offered at University of Indianapolis, several supervisory training programs as well as the Indiana Hospital and Health Association’s Management Institute offered by the Executive Education Program, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Mary Kay served on the Nonprofit Training Center of United Way from 1993 to 2006. During that time, she taught many workshops also facilitating speaker arrangements for the Basic Volunteer Management series. Additionally, she has presented at various national and international conferences. Mary Kay served as president of the Central Indiana Association for Volunteer Administration (CIAVA) from 1993-1997 and the Indiana Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ISDVS) from 2006-2008. She was also the recipient of the 1995 Outstanding Director of Volunteer Services Award and the 2002 United Way of Central Indiana Volunteer of the Year Award. Most recently she served on the Steering Committee for COVAA resulting in the formation of a new national membership organization for those in volunteer management, the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). With several published articles, she is also author to two books: The One Minute Answer to Volunteer Management Questions and The Volunteer Leader as Change Agent.

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