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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.

~May 2013 ~




Portland State University

Earn a Professional Development Certificate

Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program

Online Classes

  • Recruiting Volunteers
  • Training Volunteers
  • Leadership and Communication
  • Supervision and Management
  • Evaluation and Recognition of Volunteers

The VELP program is moving departments and will be up and running in the fall of 2013.

There is an email list for those who wish to be notified about the new location and how to register.

Send inquiry to: mba@bmi.net


Give current members a recruiting toolkit.  Current volunteers are your best sales people.  How do you support them?  Make sure they have appropriate tools to help explain why someone should join, including talking points about being a volunteer. Make a packet that includes: short position descriptions, member application forms, or links to the Web site, Face Book page, or Twitter address. 

Offer one event a year at your 'members-only' rate.  If you are a membership organization offer a special rate for volunteers and another for non-volunteers.  This is especially true for big, elite events. 

Co-host an event with another organizations.  Cross-promotion can be a great way to grow volunteers.  Never miss a volunteer fair.  Be the one to suggest and plan it.

Simplify your volunteer sign-up process.  Create an online process with position descriptions, applications, background check releases. You must also continue the “paper” and “phone” method of sign-up ---some people prefer to complete a form with a pen.  Make sure your systems accommodate both online and offline preferences.

Run ads on social media sites.  Facebook Ads and LinkedIn DirectAds both start at around $10 per campaign.  And because people enter so much personal and professional information into these kinds of sites, you can get VERY specific with whom you target.  Recruiting can be targeted based people’s profiles, including location.

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Target   Youth

A colleague recently reminded me that local, non-staffed organizations and groups make up the bulk of nonprofit organizations as measured by the US agency that measures these things.  Referred to as “grass roots,” local groups, or a zillion other names, they are vital to many communities—some long term, others short lived.

Knowing how to recruit and manage volunteers when there is no paid staff is a challenge.  COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS, AGENCIES AND GROUPS is an article to help you distinguish between the two.  It describes different types of organizations, and lays out a process by which people engage in grassroots organizing.

More people are organizing nonprofits independent of local organizations and agencies.  It helps if they get it right.  They are likely to be more successful.   Community Organizing

kid sitting on bed

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