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Christina 02 Dec 2020 | 3 min read

How to: Recruit Your Volunteer Team

At Volunteer U, we understand how difficult it can be to recruit the perfect members for your team. The volunteer process is cyclical. Volunteers are continually coming in and out of your organization. Whether it is due to a move, a life change, or maybe a switch in priorities, it’s just the nature of volunteering. For many volunteer managers, recruiting can be a stressful task that seems permanently stuck on their to-do list. We’re here to change that. 

1. Identify your dream volunteer. 

Many organizations feel so desperate for volunteers, and they make the mistake of taking anyone who signs up. Your organization is doing important work. You deserve a team who will support you while bringing positive energy to help make your brand shine. Remember, your volunteers are often the face of the organization. Who do you want to represent your brand? We wrote an article on three practical ways to identify potential volunteers. 

2. Express your vision OFTEN.

At its heart, volunteering is all about connecting to the vision of the organization. Why do people serve? Because they are drawn into what YOUR company is doing to change the world. They believe in your goals and want to be a part of what is happening. When you are on the same page as a volunteer, it doesn’t matter what task they are doing. They feel energized because they are helping a cause they care about, they are doing something to change their world.

That’s why it’s so important to share your vision and mission with potential and current volunteers. When recruiting new team members, this step is vital. Your vision has to come up at the beginning so people know who you are and what you are all about right away. Do they love what you love? Are they passionate about the same things you are? Do your values match up? Go into this process the same way you would look at a potential first date. You both must agree about the fundamental things; otherwise, this just isn’t going to work.

You can never over-communicate your organization’s vision. The more you talk about what you are for, the more people who share that passion will jump on board. Download our free e-booklet Volunteer U Basics for more content on communicating vision and mission to your volunteer team. 

3. Ask, ask, and ask again. 

This is one of the most common mistakes in volunteering. Organizations need help, but they don’t ask for it. Or, they might ask, but then they get nervous about repeating their request. We hear this all the time from not-for-profit organizations. Either they don’t want to be too pushy, or they don’t want to ask their team again for more help. We don’t want you to fall into this trap. Whatever you think is too many times to ask, is probably not enough by half.

Most research agrees that the typical “sales” ask requires anywhere from 7 to more than 13 “touches” before the buyer is ready to make a decision. Many of these touches are just reminding people that you exist. When you’re prepared to do a big recruiting push for a particular project, or it’s just that time of year, you’re going to need to ask multiple times and in numerous avenues. Emails, phone calls, social media, in person, even mailers. Whatever it takes to give your “buyer” the touches they need to make a decision. 

So ask away! You might be surprised to see your results change if you present your need for volunteers multiple times. 


Need more ideas to recruit star volunteers for your organization? The Volunteer U LAUNCH kit will help you create an intentional strategy to IDENTIFY and RECRUIT new volunteers as well as give you the tools to TRAIN, ENCOURAGE, and RESOURCE those volunteers. The LAUNCH kit also includes practical tips on where to find potential volunteers and how to approach them with the right “ask.” 

Here at Volunteer U, we’re passionate about helping volunteer teams thrive. Your organization is doing important work. You deserve to have an incredible crew behind you to get the job done. Email the author christina@volunteeru.org

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