It’s helpful to understand common reasons people volunteer:
- give back to the community
- help people
- community outreach as part of a faith community
- keep busy
- share a skill or experience
- gain new skills, academic credit, experience
- feel needed
- be part of a team
- meet new people
How do we recruit volunteers?
- Word of mouth is the most successful strategy.
- Ask! People often want to help but wait to be asked.
- Encourage current volunteers to recruit friends and colleagues.
- Put posters and brochures in high traffic areas of the community.
- Advertise in a local newspaper and on the radio.
- Invite a local TV station to a special event.
- Keep your website easy to read, up-to-date, and visually appealing.
- Use social media. Ask partners to link to your social media sites.
- Highlight stories and quotes from current tutors.
- Speak at community events with a volunteer or program participant.
- Visit volunteer centers, churches, libraries and service groups.
- Contact local businesses that support employee volunteer hours.
- Invite community members to see your programs in action.
- Always represent your agency honestly and accurately.
How do we set our agency up for success?
- Designate a position to be in charge of volunteer recruitment.
- Add recruitment activities to the position description.
- Connect with community organizations who support your mission.
- Have job descriptions for all volunteer positions.
- Help potential volunteers see the big picture of your program.
- Plan recruitment as a year-round activity.
- Don’t assume people in the community know about your program.
- Don’t assume your staff know how to use volunteers without training.
- Ask volunteers where they heard about you; track responses.
- Evaluate your recruitment efforts and continually make improvements.
(“Planning for Volunteers in Literacy,” The National Center for Family Literacy)
In addition to tutors, what other volunteers should we recruit?
Consider recruiting skilled volunteers for:
- Board of Directors
- Office support
- Data entry
- Tech support
- Website design and maintenance
- Social media management
- Topic-specific training or in-services
- Grant writing
- HR assistance
- Special events and projects
All volunteer positions require quality training and support. Make sure you have time to train and support new volunteers before you recruit them.