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Recruiting Volunteers

What you need to think about when recruiting volunteers

Why might someone want to volunteer with you?

A Home Office Review found that people who volunteer:

brightness_1 Have volunteering in ‘their DNA’

brightness_1 Have been ‘affected by a life event’

brightness_1 Are ‘in the right place at the right time’

brightness_1 See volunteering ‘as part of their personal development.’

People usually have a strong reason to volunteer, such as:

brightness_1 A personal connection to an organization or cause

brightness_1 Wanting to give something back.

brightness_1 A commitment to help solve a local issue.

brightness_1 Friends already volunteer and seem to be enjoying it.

brightness_1 It’s a way to improve your job prospects.

Can you promote diversity?

Through involving a diverse range of volunteers you can better reflect your local community and your service users. In this way you can bring your organisation’s equal opportunities policy to life. If you are struggling to recruit volunteers, or a particular type of volunteer, it helps to think about how you might target them. Informal surveys are a good way. You can ask potential volunteers as well as your own volunteers:

brightness_1 What newsletters, websites etc they look at

brightness_1 Whether they listen to radio stations

brightness_1 Where they might see a poster

brightness_1 What might persuade them to volunteer.

brightness_1 You could do an online survey. There are a number of free online survey providers, such as www.surveymonkey.com

Are you clear about what your volunteer will do?

It’s worth spending time drawing up a task profile – or refreshing the one you have. Clarity is key to successful recruitment - it will help you attract someone with the qualities and skills you need. See our Nuts & Bolts guide to developing role profiles.

How will you promote your opportunity?

brightness_1 Volunteer Centre - register your opportunity with us, We make the opportunity available to potential volunteers contacting the centre and we will also upload the opportunity to the Volunteer connect database.

brightness_1 Word of mouth – make sure everyone you know knows that you’re trying to recruit. The only problem is that through ‘word of mouth’ you tend to recruit people similar to your existing volunteers so you may not attract as diverse volunteers as you want.

brightness_1 Print – posters, leaflets or postcards can be an effective way of reaching people. You can display printed information in Schools and colleges, Libraries, Religious centres, Shop windows and Community centres.

brightness_1 Talks and events – visual images can bring a volunteering opportunity to life and volunteers themselves are most likely to inspire others.

brightness_1 Local press and radio – build a good relationship with local newspapers and radio stations, stressing the human interest of local people getting involved to help the community.

Some tips on recruitment materials

brightness_1 Volunteer Centre - register your opportunity with us, We make the opportunity available to potential volunteers contacting the centre and we will also upload the opportunity to the Volunteer connect database.

brightness_1 Keep the information simple and reflect the nature of the volunteering opportunity.

brightness_1 Avoid ‘volunteers needed’

brightness_1 People tend to only read the first line .

brightness_1 Use questions to guide the readers through what you’re telling them.

brightness_1 Use pictures.

brightness_1 Use quotes from volunteers or service users

brightness_1 Highlight the benefits to volunteers

brightness_1 Be clear about who, where, when, why

brightness_1 Give the broadest range of contact details

Selection

Should you use an application form? - Asking volunteers to fill in an application form can be very appropriate and useful if the volunteer is going to need to have the skills utilised in filling out the application form when they are volunteering. If this is not the case, being asked to fill in an application form can be a daunting task and a barrier to volunteering.

Interviews – you might invite the volunteer for an ‘informal chat’ rather than an interview as an interview sounds very formal and can put people off. When you meet the volunteer, if they haven’t filled in an application form themselves, you can ask them for all the information you need to fill in the form on their behalf.