Recruiting volunteers for your association can be time-consuming and challenging – especially considering most groups only have a few paid staff members and rely on volunteers to drive success. To help you find new volunteers, whether that’s for your board, an event or anything else, it’s important to develop a strategy that’s efficient, cost-effective and manageable. To get you started, let’s start with these 6 simple tactics to recruiting.
1. Simply ask
Sometimes the search for volunteers can seem desperate and look like anyone with a pulse will do. But being explicit about the skills needed to do the job well will help you out in the long run. So instead of making the call for any and all volunteers, ask for people that have specific skills or experience in certain areas. This approach will likely produce more favorable results because your volunteers won’t be learning on the job.
Takeaway: Don’t be afraid and start with a simple ask.
2. Focus on the rewards
Whether you’re looking for volunteers to serve on your association’s board or a one-time event, point out what’s in it for them. No matter the position, there are rewards that come with it. Focus on the benefits that they’ll receive by stepping up. This could mean networking and forming friendships, having the opportunity to get experience serving in a leadership role or a discounted rate for events.
Takeaway: Propose the volunteer opportunity as a way for them to help themselves and their community.
3. Present lots of options
Offer a variety of volunteer opportunities with a range of time commitments. Some of your association members will be ready to take the deep plunge into volunteering while others may have very limited time and are only comfortable volunteering a couple of times a year. Everyone’s situation is unique and your volunteer opportunities should reflect that.
Takeaway: Be careful not to ward off potential volunteers by forcing them into a specific commitment. Always give options.
4. Mentor new volunteers
Foster a mentor-friendly and nurturing environment. Give new volunteers the opportunity to learn from more seasoned, experienced team members. This approach will get them ramped up faster, they’ll have a more positive experience, and form closer relationships more quickly.
Takeaway: Supporting new mentors will not only give them a better experience but will also make your events run more smoothly.
5. Create a positive community
Stress the importance of building a welcoming community. If a new volunteer doesn’t feel welcomed, they probably won’t last long. Be positive and encourage your volunteers to share knowledge, experience, and skills openly.
Takeaway: Always be friendly!
6. Ask for feedback
Get feedback from your volunteers. Ask association members who have volunteered about their experiences. What went well? What didn’t go well? Analyze the results and use it in your strategy for the next event.
Takeaway: Critical feedback from volunteers will help you improve your events and your association as a whole.
Once you get your recruiting engine up to speed, retain your member volunteers by pointing out the many benefits they’ll see by investing their time and energy.