Sunday, September 16, 2012

10 Ways to Recruit Volunteers

There are many different ways to promote your volunteer service to recruit volunteers.  Here are just some ways.  I’m sure that you can think of more.  Be creative and come up with some more ideas and feel free to comment or email me at
1.     Website – Have a page dedicated to Volunteer Services on your organisation’s website.  This shows that your organisation values volunteers.  It is also a great place to outline the sort of tasks that your volunteers do, your office hours and how prospective applicants can contact someone for further information.
2.     Promotional Banner – Shamelessly self promote!  Have a free-standing, portable advertising banner promoting volunteers.  The banner can be on display in your organisation’s foyer or it can be taken to meetings and conferences both within and outside your organisation.
3.     Volunteer Expos – Universities often have volunteer expos where different organisations, who engage volunteers, can showcase their volunteer programs by holding a stand.  It is a great opportunity to promote volunteering at your organisation to university students who may have some free time and are looking for opportunities to gain experience, through volunteering, in their chosen field of study.
4.     Internal staff meetings – addressing staff or management meetings within your organisation is a great way to promote volunteers.  Sometimes staff are unsure of the role volunteers play within the organisation and so this is an ideal opportunity to dispel myths and explain how volunteers can assist.  When staff appreciate and understand the role of volunteers, they are often motivated to tell their family and friends about volunteering for the organisation. 
5.     Information Desks  – An information desk is an obvious place to go to when wanting to find out information about anything within the organisation, including volunteering.  It is a good idea to have volunteer application packs available at the Information Desks.  An application pack should have a brochure about Volunteer Services at your organisation.  It should also contain an application form and a covering letter, thanking the applicant for their interest in volunteering with your organisation.
6.    Word of Mouth – One of the best ways of promoting your volunteer service is through your own volunteers.  If your volunteers have a satisfactory volunteering experience they will naturally want to tell their friends and family of their positive volunteering experience and encourage others to join them volunteering with your organisation.
7.     Volunteering Queensland website - This website has a database of many different organisations who engage volunteers and lists volunteering vacancies available within these organisations.Volunteering Queensland Website
8.     University Student Services offices – Student Services offices will often have noticeboards or webpages where information is provided to students seeking opportunities to volunteer.
9.     Community groups – Sometimes a volunteer, staff member or acquaintance will know about you and your volunteer program and invite you to be a guest speaker at a community group.  This is a great opportunity to promote volunteering at your organisation.  Be prepared with brochures and application forms as you may be inundated with people who are interested in volunteering after you have given your inspiring speech.
10.  Talk to anyone and everyone – If when you are out and about on the weekend or at a school function or some other social occasion and the topic of conversation turns to what you do – don’t just say “I’m a volunteer manager or I’m a volunteer coordinator”.  Follow it up by telling them enthusiastically about your amazing volunteer program and how great your volunteers are.  A passionate belief in your volunteer program and your volunteers is a great testimony for volunteering with your organisation.  People will see your genuineness and enthusiasm. 
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post.


  1. Just found your blog, Wendy. Hope all is well in OZ -- it's been a few years since I've been there. Anyway, spot on about word-of-mouth when it comes to recruiting volunteers. I'm a one-man company back here in the States, and after a decade now, many of my volunteers find my company this way. Take care for now --Scott

    1. Thanks Scott for taking the time to read my blog post and to comment. Hope you can visit OZ again one day. All the best with your business.

  2. Hi Wendy. I am doing a research project for my Nonprofit Management class and think that this post presents a strong outline for how volunteers can be reached. Focusing on age differences of volunteers, do you think that one strategy has an advantage over another for younger or older volunteers? For example, I've read some literature indicating that younger people prefer to not be reached by email for recruitment, recognition, etc. I'm just curious about your thoughts.

  3. Hi Sasha. Thank you for taking the time to comment. My apologies for the delay in replying.

    Most people these days no matter what their age are fairly computer savy. A Website with a Volunteer Services page providing information on the volunteer program is a great start to recruit volunteers of all ages. Email is useful for sending out a standard reply, application form and further information on the next stage of the recruitment process. Having a volunteer program which is flexible, allowing for short term or episodic volunteering is what works for younger people in particular, who are fitting in their volunteering around study timetables which can change each semester. Email is also a great tool for diseminating information quickly to a lot of people for example a newsletter with important information on upcoming events, training days and other reminders.

    In answer to your question I would not treat younger or older volunteers differently in terms of strategies. Some younger people may generally use texting to communicate, however a phone call or email are the prefered method of contact as they are more reliable and work better. A phone call made at midnight to an office phone message bank is preferable to a midnight text on my mobile phone.

    Thank you again Sasha for your interest and taking time to comment. All the best with your study.


    Wendy M


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