volunteeringWord of mouth has proven to be the most successful volunteer recruitment strategy for our Learning Community. In an age of information overload, the voices of our friends and colleagues cut through. We listen to what they have to say. We care about things that matter to them. And we’re more likely to take action if they provide an invitation to engage.

Encourage prospective volunteers to join you for a site tour and discussion. These hour-long sessions allow community members to learn about the challenging circumstances facing families in the community. They gain an understanding of how the agency supports a child’s cognitive and social skill development while strengthening the parent-child relationship.

A variation on the site tour is a Volunteer Lunch & Learn. These regularly scheduled events provide volunteers with opportunities to connect with one another while growing in relevant skills/knowledge. With sessions open to guests, interested parties can get a sense for the agency’s work and learn from peers why giving back in this setting proves meaningful.

Successful recruiters forge relationship with affinity groups (e.g., service clubs, social clubs, churches, parent groups), public libraries, businesses, medical centers, and educational institutions. These venues encourage individual responses to specific requests as well as collective action on a group project. Referral networks also bear fruit when other agencies have reached their volunteer capacity or cannot meet the specific needs of prospective volunteers.

Your website should include a section on volunteerism. Ideally, it should feature testimonials and provide a form in which prospective volunteers supply contact information and general interests. Although your website may or may not prove to be a fertile breeding ground for applicants, a section on volunteerism serves as a public statement on the strategic value of this program.

Recruiting Resources

videoeVolunteers: The Heart of Our Program (Family Building Blocks)

articleNew Kinds of Volunteers Demand New Kinds of Recruiting Strategies (RespectAbility)

articleSecrets of Success in Volunteer Recruiting (Heather Hawkins)

PDFOrganizational Brochure (Family Building Blocks)

PDFVolunteer Brochure (Gladstone Center for Children & Families)

PDFRecruiting Poster: “Volunteer” (GCCF)

PDFRecruiting Poster: “Give Her Strength” (GCCF)

PDFFoster Literacy: Be a Reading Pal

articleBoomers and Courtship: If at First You Don’t Succeed… (MeChelle Feldkamp)