Recruiting Volunteers

Posted in Managing Volunteers

The Volunteer Recruitment Campaign

By now you have defined your volunteer roles and are ready to recruit your first volunteers. Start your recruitment campaign by developing a volunteer recruitment message. Try to recruit for specific volunteer roles rather than recruiting for the organisation in general. This makes it easier for you to target specific groups of people who may have the interest and talents you are looking for in a volunteer. It also allows you to tailor your message to your target group. Indeed, the more specific or informative you can be, the greater likelihood of an individual responding to your vacancy. When creating your message be sure to provide a simple way for people to respond to your request for volunteers. Lastly, always remember to include the benefits of volunteering in your message. If you can’t find any benefits for the volunteer then you should consider if you should ask someone to fill this role.

Once you have developed your recruitment message it is time to get the word out. Here are some methods and locations you might use: 

Your local volunteer centre

  • Your organisation’s website and/or newsletter

  • Word of mouth – staff, volunteers and clients

  •  Parish newsletter

  •  Flyers, posters

  •  Volunteer fairs and stands at other events

  • Schools, colleges and universities – clubs and students unions

  • Public service announcements on radio and in local newspapers

  • Host an information day where potential volunteers can visit your organisation and learn how they might contribute as a volunteer

  • Give a presentation to community groups such as resident’s associations, churches, scouts etc.

  • Outreach at shopping centres

  •  Website such as

Now that the word is out there you should be prepared for volunteers to respond to your message. Set a target to contact volunteers who have responded to your recruitment ad within a given timeframe e.g. 1-2 days. This will show the volunteer that you value their time and are serious about recruiting volunteers. If volunteers are responding by phone be sure the person answering the phone is expecting enquiries from potential volunteers. If at all possible, identify one individual in your organisation who is responsible for responding to volunteers within the timeframe you have set.

Once you contact the volunteer, establish that they are indeed interested in your organisation and the volunteer roles you have available. Once you have established this, it is time to invite the potential volunteer for an interview. If there is a large response to your ad you might consider scheduling volunteer interviews in a block (just as you would for paid positions). This will help you manage your own time more effectively. Consider scheduling a time for evening interviews if many of your volunteers work 9-5 jobs.

Now we are ready to select our new volunteers!