5 Easy Steps to Find and Recruit Volunteers

So, you need volunteers?


Here are some quick tips we learned along the way about volunteer recruitment.

Follow these easy steps to get noticed, get the help you need, and get ‘er done.


Step 1: Understand Your Appeal

Light some candles, run a bubble bath and turn on Bon Iver–it’s time for a little introspection. Believe it or not, your organization has a unique appeal. Examine your mission, the core work you do, and your existing volunteers. What makes you special? By understanding your particular appeal, you can begin to determine what kind of volunteer you need.

Step 2: Identify Your Ideal Volunteer

Go ahead, be picky. In a perfect world, what would your volunteer force look like? Do they have any specific skills? What do they care about? Once you’ve identified your “ideal volunteer,” create a life-sized mannequin as a reminder and carry it around with you everywhere you go. Just kidding…sort of.

The point is, if you know who your volunteers are, you’ll know where to find them.

Step 3: Target Promotion

If you’re fortunate enough to catch my father somewhere between the aromatic smoke of a backwoods cigar and the taut line of a fishing pole, you may learn a thing or two about the water, the fish, and–if you hang around long enough–life. “Of course there are fish in the lake,” he once said to me, puffing his cigar as he scanned the shoreline. “But that’s no reason to cast your line wherever you feel like it. A good fisherman knows where the fish hang out–and that’s where he fishes.”

Your volunteers are waiting to be found–but it’s a big lake. Ask yourself: where are your fish “hanging out”? Where are you casting your line?

Step 4: Keep it Simple, Stupid

It’s time to up your game. Use an automated sign-up like VolunteerLocal to direct volunteers to your event registration online. No excel spreadsheets, no sharpie markers, no e-mail chains. You’ll have more sign-ups, fewer headaches, and happier volunteers. Click here to start today–it’s free and takes less than ten minutes to create your event on VolunteerLocal.

Step 5: Volunteer Appreciation

The last, and perhaps most important step of this process is a simple “thank you.” Volunteers love a little kudos (don’t we all?), so make sure they know how much you appreciate their hard work. From a t-shirt to a candy bouquet, a handshake to a milkshake, there are myriad ways to show your gratitude. Try a little tenderness–it’s the key to happy volunteers.

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