7 Strategies for Volunteer Recruitment

Effective volunteering recruitment leads to a reliable and strong volunteer base that's engaged in your course and drives the organisation towards its goal. Here are 7 strategies that will help you improve your volunteer recruitment.

Volunteer recruitment is vital to the success of nonprofit and community organisations. Effective volunteer recruitment leads to a strong and engaged volunteer base, driving the organisation's mission and success. Implementing the right strategies can greatly impact the organisation's ability to recruit volunteers.

In this article we’ll explore 7 effective strategies for successful volunteer recruitment. These strategies will help your organisation expand its reach, boost engagement and attract high quality volunteers who are passionate about contributing to your organisation and its cause. Whether you are a newly established organisation looking to build a database of committed volunteers, or wanting to enhance your current volunteer recruitment approach, this article will equip you with the tools and knowledge you need to achieve your goals. By following these strategies, you’ll create a thriving and engaged community of volunteers who are dedicated to supporting your cause.

From defining your volunteer requirements to offering reward and recognition programs, the strategies outlined below will help you create a volunteer recruitment program that is effective, efficient, and sustainable. Regardless of whether your organisation is a small community group or a large nonprofit, these strategies will help you build a volunteer community that is dedicated to your cause and eager to make a difference. Let’s get started by taking a look at why volunteer recruitment strategies are so important. 

Why are volunteer recruitment strategies important?

Volunteer recruitment strategies are important for several reasons. Firstly, they help organisations attract and retain volunteers, which is essential for the success of any volunteer program. A well-designed volunteer recruitment strategy can help you reach a wider audience and attract a larger pool of potential volunteers, increasing the chances of finding the volunteer who is the right fit for your organisation. This in turn leads to higher levels of volunteer engagement and a stronger volunteer community.

Secondly, effective volunteer recruitment strategies can enhance an organisation’s reputation and increase its visibility. Promoting volunteer opportunities and sharing stories about the positive impact the organisation has on the community, can create a positive image that attracts potential volunteers and foster relationships with new partners and stakeholders.

Volunteer recruitment strategies are also important for ensuring the sustainability and longevity of an organisation. A strong and engaged volunteer base can help an organisation achieve its goals and have a lasting effect on the community. By attracting and retaining volunteers, organisations can build a volunteer base that is dedicated to supporting its cause and contributing to its mission over the long term. 

Volunteer recruitment strategies

One of the best ways to achieve greater impact and success for your organisation, is to implement effective volunteer recruitment strategies.

By following the strategies we present here, you can create a positive image of your organisation and its mission, and learn ways of making your volunteer opportunities appeal to a wider audience. Effective volunteer recruitment strategies can help you increase the number of volunteers and their engagement, ultimately resulting in greater impact and success for your organisation.


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1. Define volunteer requirements

Building a successful volunteer recruitment program begins with clearly defining your volunteer requirements. If you want to attract the right volunteers for your organisation, you must be clear about what you expect from them.

Describe the skills and experience you are looking for, the tasks they will be responsible for, the time commitment expected and whether there are any physical requirements or restrictions. As an example, think about whether you need volunteers who have experience in a particular field or those who are able to commit to a certain number of hours per week.

This information will help in creating a clear and attractive job description for each volunteer role, and ensure that volunteers know what to expect when they sign up.

When defining your volunteer requirements, consider the following:

  • What do you want to achieve with your volunteering program?
    Having a clear understanding of the outcomes and impact you want to achieve with your volunteering program is essential. You may want to increase community engagement, raise awareness for your cause or improve services. 
  • What responsibilities will the volunteers have?
    The tasks and responsibilities that volunteers will be expected to perform should be clearly outlined. These could be anything from event planning, to fundraising, and other support activities. 
  • What are your goals?
    The goals you set should be specific, measurable, and achievable. For example, if you want to increase volunteer engagement, you might set a goal to recruit 20 new volunteers in the next 6 months. Defining your goals can help guide the development and implementation of your volunteer program. It helps ensure that resources are being used effectively and helps measure the success of the program.

Before embarking on a recruitment drive, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you need from your volunteers. This will help you attract the right candidates and ensure that you can match their skills and interests with appropriate volunteer roles.

2. Create a marketing plan

Before embarking on a recruitment drive, it is important to have a clear understanding of what you need from your volunteers. This will help you attract the right candidates and ensure that you can match their skills and interests with appropriate volunteer roles.

Here are some tips to help you create a successful marketing plan:

  • Identify your target audience
    In order to have a successful marketing plan, you must know who you are trying to reach. Then, create a marketing campaign that resonates with your potential volunteers based on factors such as their age, location, interests, and experiences.
  • Use multiple channels
    Use multiple channels to reach your target audience, including a mix of traditional and digital media. For example, you might advertise volunteer opportunities on social media, in local newspapers, through email marketing, and at local community events. Make sure your message is consistent across all channels and that it clearly explains the benefits of volunteering with your organisation.
  • Highlight the impact of volunteering
    Volunteers want to know that their time and effort will make a difference. You should highlight the impact volunteering with your organisation will have, and make sure your marketing materials clearly communicate the benefits of being a volunteer. Your organisation could share testimonials from current volunteers, statistics about the impact of your organisation, and stories about the people and communities it serves.
  • Make it easy to get involved
    Make sure that the marketing materials include clear instructions on how to get involved. This could include information on how to apply, the application process, and what to expect as a volunteer.

The goal of your marketing efforts should be to create excitement and engagement around the volunteer program, and to motivate people to get involved and make a difference.

3. Promote flexibility in your opportunities

To attract a diverse range of volunteers, it is important to offer opportunities that accommodate the broad demographics and availability of your potential volunteers. Flexible hours, remote or virtual volunteer opportunities, and a range of tasks that cater to different skill sets and interests can be offered to meet the needs of different volunteers.

Here are some tips to help you promote flexibility in your volunteer opportunities:

  • Offer a range of hours
    Many people are interested in volunteering but have busy schedules so are unable to make a long-term commitment. By offering a range of hours, including evenings and weekends, you can accommodate the schedules of busy volunteers. For example, your volunteer program could offer a 3-hour shift over the weekend and a 2-hour evening shift during the week.


  • Consider remote or virtual options
    In the age of technology, many people are looking for ways to volunteer from the comfort of their own home. By offering remote or virtual volunteer opportunities, you can tap into this growing pool of potential volunteers. For instance, a virtual volunteer opportunity could involve writing blog posts, creating social media graphics, or helping to organise an event.


  • Cater to different skill sets and interests
    Diversifying volunteer opportunities by offering tasks that cater to a variety of skill sets and interests, such as event planning, fundraising, client interaction, and administrative tasks, is crucial for attracting a diverse pool of volunteers. For example, a volunteer might be encouraged to use their graphic design skills to help create promotional material, or their marketing skills to help promote an upcoming event.


  • Provide training and support
    Effective training and support play a key role in ensuring the success and satisfaction of volunteers. To achieve this, offer comprehensive training sessions, workshops, and ongoing support. Providing one-on-one sessions or follow up meetings with volunteers can help address any queries or questions they may have and build meaningful relationships between the organisation and volunteers. This will help volunteers feel more prepared and confident in their roles, which can lead to better performance and a more positive volunteer experience.

By promoting flexibility in your volunteer opportunities, you can attract a wider range of volunteers and ensure that your program is accessible to more people. 



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4. Streamline onboarding

An efficient and well-designed onboarding process helps set new volunteers up for success and fosters a positive experience from the start. The onboarding process provides new volunteers with a clear understanding of their roles, responsibilities, and expectation which helps to reduce confusion and frustration. A comprehensive onboarding process can also help to establish a strong connection between the organisation and the volunteer, creating a sense of belonging and community.

Here are some tips to help streamline your onboarding process:

  • Use automated onboarding tools
    Automated tools built into volunteer management software can help streamline the onboarding process and ensure compliance with your organisation's policies and procedures. The process may include background checks, interview scheduling, and training modules. Automating tasks can save you time and effort and make the process more appealing to potential volunteers.


  • Screen volunteers thoroughly

    Screening volunteers is the process of conducting background checks, reference checks, and interviews to ensure that each volunteer is a good fit for your organisation and its goals. Reference checking can help to verify a volunteer’s past experience and qualifications, as well as provide insights into their character and commitment to volunteering roles.


  • Foster a positive experience
    The onboarding process is an opportunity to create a positive experience for new volunteers. This could include making them feel welcome and valued, providing them with clear information about their role and responsibilities, and connecting them with existing volunteers and staff members. A welcome email with a personal note from a staff member or existing volunteer, or a virtual meet and greet with other volunteers, are great ways to make a volunteer feel welcome and part of the team.

By streamlining your onboarding process, you are helping to set new volunteers up for success. This will help build a strong and engaged community of volunteers who are motivated to make a positive impact on your cause. The onboarding process for new volunteers can be a major factor in retaining them in the long term.

5. Offer reward and recognition incentive programs

Volunteers often have a desire to make a difference and contribute to their community, but they also appreciate recognition for their efforts. By offering a reward and recognition program, you can incentivise volunteers to keep coming back and help to build a sense of community within your organisation.

Reward and recognition programs are a great way to improve volunteer engagement and show your appreciation for the time and effort your volunteers dedicate to your cause. These programs can also provide additional motivation for volunteers to continue their involvement with your organisation. 

Here are some tips to help you create an effective reward and recognition program that aims to engage and retain volunteers:

  • Recognise the impact of volunteers

    Recognising the impact volunteers have on your organisation and the people you serve is an important first step in creating an effective reward and recognition program. This could include acknowledging their contributions during events, sending thank you notes or highlighting their achievements in newsletters or on social media.

  • Offer tangible rewards

    Tangible rewards can be a powerful motivator for volunteers. Consider what will be most appealing to your volunteers and what will help to keep them motivated and engaged. Offering certificates, trophies, merchandise or other physical tokens of appreciation helps to recognise the hard work and dedication of volunteers.

  • Provide opportunities for growth and development

    In addition to tangible rewards, consider offering opportunities for growth and development as part of your reward and recognition program. Providing training opportunities, leadership positions, and new and challenging roles could all be part of this process. For example, offering a course on public speaking could be used to reward and recognise a volunteer for their exceptional performance.

  • Foster a sense of community

    Creating a sense of community among your volunteers could be done by hosting events or social gatherings to bring volunteers together, or providing opportunities for volunteers to connect and share their experiences with one another. One example is to arrange a volunteer appreciation lunch or a volunteer movie night to thank your volunteers for their hard work and provide an opportunity for them to get to know each other.

By offering reward and recognition programs, you can improve volunteer engagement and show your appreciation for their contributions to your organisation.

6. Improve communications with emails, sms and social media

Effective communication helps to build and maintain a successful volunteer program. By using a combination of emails, SMS, and social media, you can boost engagement, improve attendance rates, and keep volunteers informed of important updates and events.

Here are some tips to help you improve your communication efforts:

  • Use a variety of communication channels
    To reach the broadest audience possible, use a combination of email, SMS, and social media to communicate with your volunteers.  You could email about upcoming opportunities and then post reminders on social media, or send an SMS message to confirm registration for volunteer events. This will help ensure that everyone is informed and aware of the information they need to be across. 


  • Personalise communications
    Personalising communications, such as adding a name to an email or a message, can help build a stronger connection with your volunteers and increase their engagement. For example, you could use volunteer management software to send out a birthday message to each volunteer on their special day.


  • Provide timely updates and reminders

    Timely updates and reminders can help improve attendance rates for events and other volunteer scheduling. Consider using SMS or push notifications to send reminders and updates to volunteers in real-time. For instance, SMS or social media can be used to remind volunteers about upcoming events and shifts.


  • Encourage feedback and interaction

    Encouraging feedback and interaction from volunteers is an important part of building a successful volunteer program. Consider using social media to engage with volunteers or setting up a feedback system to gather their suggestions and opinions. By creating groups on social media, volunteers can also interact with each other. For example, the volunteer program at a local homeless shelter might set up a Facebook group for their volunteers so they can connect with each other and share their experiences.

Regular and clear communication with volunteers can help build trust, encourage engagement, and reduce the risk of misunderstandings. By improving your communication efforts, you can boost engagement, increase attendance rates, and keep volunteers informed about important updates and events. This can help build a strong and connected community of volunteers who are motivated to support your organisation and its mission.

7. Encourage referrals from your volunteers

One of the most effective ways to recruit new volunteers is by leveraging the power of word-of-mouth. Your volunteers are often your biggest supporters and advocates. By encouraging them to refer their friends, family, colleagues, and other acquaintances to your organisation, you can tap into their networks and reach a wider audience of potential volunteers. This will help you build a strong and engaged community of volunteers who are dedicated to supporting your cause.

Here are some tips to help you encourage referrals from your volunteers:

  • Make it easy for volunteers to refer others

    Provide volunteers with clear and concise information about your organisation and the volunteer opportunities available. Consider creating a referral program or form that makes it easy for volunteers to refer friends, family, and colleagues.

    You can encourage referrals by promoting your volunteer program on social media and asking your volunteers to share your posts with their network. By tapping into the power of referrals, you can increase the reach of your recruitment efforts and attract more volunteers to your organisation.

  • Offer incentives for referrals

    Offering incentives for referrals can be a powerful motivator for volunteers. You could consider implementing a referral program that rewards volunteers for referring new recruits. This could be in the form of a thank-you gift, recognition at a volunteer event, or a monetary reward. You could partner with a local company and offer volunteers who refer new potential volunteers to the organisation a discount at that store.

  • Recognise and thank volunteers who refer others

    Recognising and thanking volunteers who refer others to your organisation is an important part of building a successful referral program. You can send thank you notes or recognise their contributions in your newsletters and through social media.

  • Share success stories and testimonials

    Sharing success stories and testimonials from current volunteers can help attract new recruits. Consider featuring these stories on your website, social media, or in your other communications to highlight the positive impact volunteering can have. You could feature your current volunteers sharing their stories on video or create a blog post that outlines the ways in which volunteering has enriched their lives.

Volunteer recruitment strategies are crucial for attracting volunteers to an organisation. 

By implementing these strategies you can create a vibrant and successful volunteer program that will help to drive your organisation's mission and growth. By defining your volunteers requirements, creating a marketing plan, promoting flexibility in volunteer opportunities, streamlining the onboarding process, offering reward and recognition programs, improving communication, and encouraging referrals, you can build a community of engaged and committed volunteers who will help to drive your organisation forward.

About Rosterfy

Rosterfy exists to connect communities to events and causes they are passionate about through volunteer and paid workforce management technology. Our proven end to end technology allows charities, events and nonprofit organisations to recruit, register, screen, train, manage and report with ease, replacing manual processes with automations to better engage and retain your volunteers and paid staff.

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