Since you now know all about the importance of new volunteer recruits, how do you find these magical unicorns (also known as new and passionate volunteers)?
Some of this depends on your organization and location, but many of the same strategies apply no matter where you are when it comes to finding new volunteers. The two biggest things to remember for volunteer recruitment are simple: ask and access.
The simplest way to recruit a volunteer is to ask them to join you. It sounds almost too easy, but it can often get overlooked.
Invite people you know to join your cause or event, and you may be shocked to find that they’ve already been curious or interested in helping. Maybe they didn’t know you needed or wanted more volunteers, or didn’t realize the options to volunteer were varied. Asking someone directly is not only flattering, but also calls for a response. When a prospective volunteer has to stop and consider how they might be able to volunteer with an organization, they can visualize the possibility much easier.
After you’ve made the ask of people you know, invite your board, staff, and current volunteers to do the same. Those who are already involved in the event can speak to the importance of it, the value volunteers provide, and the fun they have while doing it! They can share about the role they have, and identify friends and colleagues who may be able to fill a different position on your team. As the volunteer coordinator, you don’t have to make a personal plea to every prospective volunteer, but you can certainly ask others to do some recruiting on your behalf. In some ways, their connections and conversations may be even more effective in recruiting new volunteers. It still starts from an ask on your part–ask those around you to join in volunteer recruitment efforts.
With any prospective or current volunteers, you need to provide them easy access to sign-up to volunteer.
So often, when people are looking to volunteer or get involved, the first place they look is your website. Make it easy and clear to see when and where they can volunteer and how to get started. Depending on your onboarding process, maybe that means starting with a contact form or email address or maybe you integrate VolunteerLocal with your website so volunteers can pick their job and shift right away! Regardless, you want to build on the forward momentum of their interest and make it as quick and painless as possible for people to start volunteering.
Outside of your website and organization, be accessible where volunteers already are. Contact local companies and colleges to see if they have a database to post volunteer opportunities. If you have corporate or media sponsors, make sure your volunteer opportunities are posted and promoted through those avenues as well. If you have a ticketed event that volunteers can attend for free, provide a link to the volunteer sign-up page alongside ticket sales information. Seek out feedback from current volunteers or brainstorm with your team on ways you can be more easily accessible to volunteers.