One of the most frequent questions we get asked at Volunteer U is, “How do I get more volunteers?”
This is a common issue; especially for churches and nonprofits where non-paid individuals make up a majority of the positions. Sadly, although leaders know the importance of recruitment, it is usually one of the very last tasks on their busy to-do list. What leaders don’t always realize, is that a little bit of strategizing and effort now can save a lot of stress later on. Having a solid recruitment plan in place will keep a steady flow of volunteers coming through the pipeline.
Below are the three steps of recruitment and the three keys to an effective recruitment strategy.
STEP ONE. Explain the Need
This is where your salesmanship should come out. Spare no details. A flair for the dramatic is helpful here too. Even a monotonous, dirty task like cleaning the parking lot can sound exciting if you put the right spin on it! Serve your community, build friendships, and help keep our parking lot clean! Sounds like a pretty nice way to spend a few hours Saturday morning.
STEP TWO. Prove why THEY are needed
People want to know that they are needed. When you recruit, you need to make a case for why they are important. When we ask people to serve, everyone automatically believes someone better qualified will step in. We need to show volunteers that everyone is needed and can contribute. It’s also important to make people invest emotionally. Explain what you need and how their unique gifts and skills can make an impact.
STEP THREE. Call to Action
Our call to action should be simple and to the point. Ask for help with a specific project or encourage people to come to your volunteer orientation. Give them one simple step that they can take right away.
Most churches are so desperate to get help, that they try to make the volunteer process as easy as possible. I think that’s a mistake. We want to put a few steps in place that will act as filters. We’re not just looking for anyone. We’re looking for the right people. Trust me, it’s much better to be searching for someone to fill a spot, than having to clean up a mistake.
We need to build in some safeties to help make sure we get the right people in the right roles. Background checks should be standard practices for anyone working with children or youth, but asking people to become church members, or attend a mandatory training/orientation will help weed out those who aren’t committed.
3 Keys of Volunteer Recruitment
#1 Put Your Current Volunteers To Work
Recruiting doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. It should be built into the culture of your organization. Current volunteers should be your biggest advocates. There’s nothing that can compare to word-of-mouth advertising. 84% of consumers say they trust recommendations from family, friends, and colleagues .
#2 Hold Volunteer Fairs
Two of the biggest reasons people tell us they don’t volunteer are 1. They don’t think they’re needed. 2. They think someone else will do it. People won’t know what you need until you let them know. Let them know all the different ways they can serve.
#3 Have a Social Media Presence
Social media has a huge reach. Your organization should have a consistent presence online to generate interest and keep people engaged. 58% of consumers share positive experiences with a company on social media and also ask their network opinions about brands . This is your chance to handcraft a perception of your organization.
. Nielsen (2013, September 17). Under the Influence: Consumer Trust in Advertising. Retrieved July 24, 2017, from http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2013/under-the-influence-consumer-trust-in-advertising.html
 SDL Survey Reveals Consumers Want Brands to Offer Consistent Experience (2013, May 15). Retrieved July 24 2017. http://www.sdl.com/about/news-media/press/2013/sdl-survey-reveals-consumers-want-brands-to-offer-consistent-experience.html
Christina Angelakos has a doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University. She loves working with teams in both the corporate and nonprofit marketplace. Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaAngel