How To Ask For Volunteers: 12 Recruitment Tips

Recruiting volunteers isn't always easy. We'll cover tactics and templates you can use to call for volunteers to sign up for your event.

Imagine you're throwing a benefit but the only guests are the four walls of an empty hall. The auction items are ready and the music is playing, but there's not a soul in sight. This is precisely what it would be like to plan an event without a strategy to recruit volunteers. A volunteer event is an opportunity to make a meaningful impact and unite people. But without a strategy to attract and engage potential volunteers, the event is nothing more than an empty promise. 

Have A Volunteer Recruitment Campaign

Like a product or service that you market to attract customers, you need to promote your volunteer position to get the volunteers you need. Think of a campaign as sending word to the most passionate volunteers and dedicated people in your community. A campaign can target specific groups of people more likely to volunteer, such as students, retirees, or employee volunteers.

Additionally, it's about creating buzz and excitement, painting a picture of the difference volunteers will make, and making it clear in your volunteer event that you need to get volunteers with unique skills and talents. 

A campaign is necessary for recruiting volunteers because it helps to effectively communicate the opportunity, generate excitement and engagement, and target exemplary event volunteers. It's a way to match volunteers with the right cause and make a real impact.

Personalize As Much As Possible

When looking for volunteers, personalization is the secret ingredient that will make your request stand out. Picture opening a letter addressed to you, only to find that it's a generic message sent to a mass audience. Personalizing your volunteer request is crucial because it shows that you have taken the time to consider the individual and their unique interests and abilities. When someone receives a generic letter, they are less likely to feel a personal connection to the cause, and volunteers may likely ignore the request.

Handwritten letters are a great way to personalize your request because they show a personal touch and effort. However, if that is not possible, including the reader's name and any information you know about them is a great way to make the letter feel more personal. For example, if you see a person is a past volunteer, you can mention their previous contributions as a former volunteer and express how much you appreciated their help. Or, if you know that a person has a specific skill or interest, you can tailor your request to highlight how their talents and passions align with the opportunity.

Be Specific About Involvement When You Ask

Being specific about how volunteers can help makes sure your volunteers understand the volunteer requirements and the tasks and responsibilities you expect them to take on. Additionally, by being upfront about the jobs you need volunteers to assist with, organizations can ensure that they have the correct number of volunteers with the necessary skills and experience to carry out their mission effectively.

Being specific about involvement is like providing a roadmap for the journey ahead, and it helps volunteers be on the same page. Think of it this way, if you were planning a trip, wouldn't you want to know the details of the itinerary and what to expect? Volunteering is no different. Without volunteers on board with the tasks, responsibilities, and time commitment, it's like embarking on a journey without a compass. You may end up in a place you never intended, or worse, a place you don't want to be. It guides volunteers to the right place and ensures they find the true reward in the volunteer experience - the satisfaction of making a difference.

So, don't leave them guessing, be specific and let volunteers know what they are signing up for. This way, you'll attract volunteers who are excited and ready to make a meaningful impact.

Provide Different Volunteer Opportunities

Providing options when asking your current volunteers is crucial because it allows individuals to choose how they want to volunteer based on their unique skills, volunteer interests, and availability. By offering a variety of ways to contribute, you open the door to a diverse crowd of individuals eager to make a positive impact. For example, people could volunteer to: 

  • Provide expertise, such as employees to volunteer skills in photography, graphic design, or event planning;
  • Participate in virtual volunteer opportunities or show up to help on the day of the event, such as by setting up, cleaning up, or providing refreshments;
  • Donate money or goods to support the cause; and
  • Help to recruit more volunteers through word-of-mouth, virtual volunteers, or volunteer fairs.

By providing these different options, you make it easy for people to find a way to get involved that works for them. This not only helps you grow a large number of volunteers but also allows volunteers to contribute in a way that is meaningful to them.

Providing options also allows people to pick a way to volunteer that is more comfortable or feasible for them. This makes the volunteer experience more enjoyable and increases the chances of the volunteer sticking with it for the long-term. Additionally, it can help with the sustainability of the volunteer program, as people will be more inclined to return and volunteer again if they have had a positive experience.

Make The Impact Obvious

When it comes to rallying volunteers for a cause, it's crucial to make their impact crystal clear. After all, no volunteer wants to feel like their time and resources are being thrown into a black hole. One way to achieve this is by to create an interactive map. These maps allow individuals to look precisely where their volunteer efforts will be directed and the scope of the issue at hand.

Envision a map dotted with custom pins representing a different location where volunteers will work. As they click on the pins, pictures of the people and communities their hard work will impact greet them. And as they read on, statistics and data come to life, painting a vivid picture of the problem and the difference volunteers will make.

It's a powerful way to turn abstract ideas into something tangible and to inspire people to join your cause. These maps create an emotional connection and make the impact of volunteering more relatable and real. It's a way to show that each volunteer can make a difference and bring about meaningful change in the world.

Make The Call For Volunteers Easy To Answer

Making signing up easy for volunteers is essential because it allows for a smooth and effortless process for those interested in giving back to their community. A short and easy form to complete, or no form at all, eliminates any barriers or friction that may deter potential volunteers from participating.

By simplifying the sign-up process, you are sending a message that you hold your volunteers in high regard. This can create a positive and welcoming environment, encouraging more volunteers to get involved. It also shows that the organization is efficient and respects the volunteer's time.

Furthermore, an easy sign-up process can also help increase volunteers' diversity. People from different backgrounds, ages, and levels of expertise may be hesitant to get involved if the process is too complicated or time-consuming. By making it easy for volunteers to sign up, you are creating an inclusive environment that welcomes and encourages participation from all walks of life.

Show Results

Showing the results of past events and volunteers is important for several reasons. First, it demonstrates the volunteer effort's effectiveness and highlights the volunteers' impact. This can be a powerful motivator for people to volunteer their time and energy when they know their actions make a real difference. 

Additionally, showing results helps to build trust and credibility with potential volunteers. It shows that the organization or project is well-organized and capable of achieving its goals, inspiring confidence, and encouraging people to get involved.

Furthermore, follow-up and thanking volunteers for their time and effort are crucial for maintaining volunteer engagement. A simple thank-you note or follow-up email can make volunteers feel valued and appreciated. By providing regular updates on the progress of the project and the impact of their volunteer work, you can keep your volunteers engaged and motivated to continue their involvement.

Building An Effective Volunteer Map

Bringing a volunteer map to life is a unique and imaginative way to connect volunteers with meaningful causes. Visualize an interactive map adorned with custom pins, each representing an opportunity to make a difference in your community. Each pin is an invitation to explore the world around you and discover how you can make an impact.

Complete each pin with a photo that captures the essence of the cause, be it a park covered in litter or a community garden in need of tending. The pin descriptions reveal all the details of the volunteer opportunity. It tells you the perfect volunteers to ask, what skills are needed, and what to expect. It also includes a link to sign up and a list of other ways to get involved, such as organizing a fundraiser or spreading awareness about the cause on social media.

Using the Proxi time feature to capture event details, such as date and time, makes it easy for volunteers to plan their schedules. After the event, the pin is updated with photos of the volunteer in action, showcasing their impact and encouraging others to join in on the next opportunity.

A Good Volunteer Recruitment Emails (+ Examples)

Use a creative and attention-grabbing subject line that makes the recipient want to open the email, such as "Make a difference with just a few hours of your time." In the body of the email, begin by personally addressing the recipient by name to make the message more personalized. 

Continue explaining the volunteering activity's purpose and positive impact on the community. Use statistics and data to back up your claims. You can also show visual aids (such as a Proxi Map) to volunteers to help them visualize their work's impact.

Highlight the unique and rewarding aspects of the volunteering opportunity to make it more appealing to the recipient. For example, if it's an outdoor clean-up event, you can mention how it's an excellent opportunity to enjoy nature while making a difference. Volunteers need to feel connected to the cause. Share personal anecdotes and testimonials from previous volunteers. 

Include a call to action, such as an email with a link to a sign-up form or a phone number to contact for more information. Close the email with a heartfelt thank you and a reminder of the positive impact that the recipient can make by volunteering. As a sample: "Together, we can make a difference." 

Find Current Volunteers Through Social Media

Social media is challenging because it is one-to-many communication, which means that volunteers will only see a few personalized posts. Using your Proxi map will help you personalize each volunteer opportunity you have. By pinpointing specific neighborhoods or regions that could benefit from volunteer support, you can create targeted social media posts that highlight the extraordinary impact that volunteers can have in those areas. 

You can also use the Proxi map to identify individuals who live in the targeted area and reach out to them through social media with personalized volunteer opportunities that align with their interests and skills. This approach can lead to a higher conversion rate of people who sign up to volunteer, as they feel that the opportunity is tailored to them. 

Another way to use the Proxi map is to showcase local businesses and companies that volunteer with your organization. This can help reach new volunteers and provide an opportunity for the company or organization to give back to the community. You can also use the map to identify community leaders and influencers and encourage them to share information about your volunteer opportunities with their networks.

Finally, utilize the Proxi map to highlight any community events, festivals, or fairs happening in the targeted area and set up a volunteer booth at the event. This can be an excellent way to connect with potential volunteers in person and provide them with information about the opportunities available.

Make Your Volunteers Feel Special Through Letters

Why stick to the same old boring recruitment methods when you can add a touch of nostalgia and innovation to your volunteer recruitment efforts? Sending out personalized letters with a QR code attached is a unique version of your email to capture the attention of prospective volunteers. The QR code bridges the traditional method of letter writing and the digital age, allowing recipients to easily access information about the volunteer event and its location with just a scan. Not only does this make the process more convenient for interested volunteers, but it also adds an element of surprise and intrigue. So, why not add a little quirkiness to your recruitment strategy and send out some old-fashioned letters with a high-tech twist?

Recruit Volunteers For An Event Through Your Website

By embedding a Proxi map on your website, potential volunteers find opportunities they're interested in and near them. You can also allow users to submit their volunteer opportunities to the map, which can help increase the number of options available and attract more volunteers. With Proxi maps, you'll create a more efficient and effective volunteer management process that will help you attract and retain the best volunteers for your organization.

Build an interactive map for your volunteers!
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