Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recruiting Volunteers For Events

Not all volunteers are created equal.  Depending on the need of the nonprofit, the recruiting process can vary.  We could spend all day talking about the various types of work you could recruit a volunteer for but for today, let's focus on special events.

If you need volunteers for an event, the goal of the recruitment process is to gather a large number of people who require little training and are willing to work for a short period of time.  In his book "Making a Difference," Howard Berman wrote that an organization's recruitment effort must concentrate on disseminating information about the need for volunteers.  This has to be done quickly and to as many sources as possible.  So now that you know this all you have to do is start sending out your wanted ads, right?  Not quite.

To make sure you attract the right candidates, you have to make sure your ads are targeted to that particular demographic.  That means you need to make sure that if, say, you are sending out ads to local magazines, that they are publications that your demographic is likely to read.  For example, college students on vacation are some of the most likely candidates for short-term volunteer work.

With this in mind, Berman suggests three steps to begin your volunteer recruitment process:
  • Contact the local media.  This can be done through press releases and personal phone calls.
  • Make announcements at local community service centers, as well as reaching out to scout groups, college community/civic engagement centers, and other similar organizations.
  • You can look inside your nonprofit for help as well.  Ask your staff and board members (both past and present) to volunteer along with others in the enterprise's "friends" database.

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