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Writing inspiring opportunities for Volunteer Connect

Well-written and clearly expressed opportunities are far more likely to attract potential volunteers. Time spent writing opportunities will pay off in the long-run.

Opportunity Title

An opportunity on Volunteer connect has to attract people's attention in just a few seconds. If it looks interesting, they will click through for more information.
Use a descriptive, eye-catching title for the opportunity. Try to avoid generic opportunity titles such as 'Volunteer' or 'Admin assistant'.
Don't use all CAPITAL LETTERS - they make words more difficult to read and make it appear that you're shouting at people. Also avoid line breaks within this field.

Organisation's name

How the organisation wishes to be known. Please don't use line breaks within this field.
If the opportunity is being advertised by a Volunteer Centre (VC), the organisation name should be the name of the organisation the VC is posting on behalf of, not the name of the VC itself.
It should never be left blank, as it's important for the volunteer to know who the opportunity provider is.

Opportunity description

Reading from a screen is harder than reading on paper. Research shows that most users scan pages, so opportunities that are concise and logical are much more likely to be read.
Keep the opportunity description short, snappy and straight to the point. Make it clear what is required of the volunteer and how they will benefit from volunteering for this opportunity.

When writing an opportunity description, try to answer the following questions:

  1. What does the role involve?
  2. Who will the volunteer be working with?
  3. What skills will they develop?
  4. What benefit will their volunteering bring to the organisation, and to them personally?
Keep sentences and paragraphs short and aim to keep the word count down. Always check spelling. It can help to think in terms of a paid job advert – i.e. really try to sell the opportunity.

Examples:

Lunchtime Assistant - Volunteers are needed to help lay the table, serve lunch and wash-up.
Lunch-club Helper - Make friends over lunch. Our friendly stroke club needs volunteers to help with lunch-time duties and to socialise with members.
Shop Assistant - Homelessness charity works to give people a chance to help themselves. We run outreach, hostel and support services. We need volunteers to help in our charity shop.
Retail Assistant - Are you keen to start a career in retail? Our busy shop needs an enthusiastic assistant to help sort, select and sell. Profits go towards our work helping homeless people to help themselves.
Skills/Qualifications - This field should be used to specify any skills or qualifications the volunteer should have in order to perform this role.
Directions and availability - When writing an opportunity, try to be as specific as possible. Include directions for where the opportunity takes place. If you are advertising for the opportunity county-wide, it is advisable to indicate in the directions section where the opportunity is based. Also, remember to say when the opportunity is available.
Expiry Date - It is important to enter an accurate expiry date on your opportunities. This prevents volunteers wasting their time applying for out of date opportunities, it also keeps the content on volunteer connect fresh and up to date. Please be realistic when entering this date to avoid a disappointing potential volunteers.

Checklist

Remember, well-written opportunities are far more likely to attract potential volunteers.

Do:

    Make it sound interesting and appeaolng;
    Use a concise and descriptive opportunity title;
    Place important information at the start of the opportunity description;
    Use short paragraphs and short sentences;
    Keep the word count down;
    Use an objective style;
    Avoid jargon and acronyms;
    Check spelling;
    Enter a realistic expiry date;
    Include directions and availability
Don't:
    Use generic opportunity titles, e.g. 'Admin volunteer', 'Volunteer' (where possible)
    Say in the opportunity title or description that volunteers are no longer needed - if the opportunity is not relevant anymore, make sure it is removed from the website;
    Insert html links anywhere in the text;
    Use graphics, logos or telephone numbers in the text of the opportunity.

Be aware that if you copy and paste from Microsoft Word, all the formatting such as bullet points and fonts will be stripped out. This is to maintain consistency so that all the opportunities advertised on Volunteer connect are in a similar format.