The average person has 4 hours of leisure time per day. How is your nonprofit enticing the busiest of people to volunteer?

There is a good chance that your nonprofit has received the response “I just don’t have the time” more than once or twice when attempting to fill volunteer opportunities. It is no secret that people are very busy and to most people, their time is their greatest asset.  A recent article by The Huffington Post claims that the average person has 4 hours of free time per day. How is your nonprofit enticing people to sacrifice free time for the opportunity to give? Creating a strategy that targets busy volunteers can open up new doors and create new personas to target.

Has your organization created a strategy for recruiting people limited on time? If not, here are a few way tips.

Offer Micro-volunteering Opportunities

According to research, the average volunteer shift ranges between 5 and 9 hours. If the average person only has 4 hours of leisure time per day how could they commit to a normal shift? The answer is they cant. Long volunteer shifts may push busy people away from giving.

Your nonprofit can appeal to busy volunteers by creating micro-volunteering opportunities that require a smaller time commitment. Creating and deploying micro-volunteer opportunities can help your organization supercharge/maintain volunteer recruitment momentum.

Micro-volunteering caters to busy people by offering volunteer opportunities that span between a few mins and a couple of hours. These opportunities can often be completed at home.

Creating opportunities for supporters to micro-volunteer is a great way to appeal to busy people who do not have the time to commit to a full-length shift. That being said, micro-volunteering may not work for all nonprofits. If your organization needs volunteers to complete highly-specialized or full-time tasks, micro-volunteering is probably not an option.

If your organization is not using micro-volunteers maybe today is the time to start. Microvolunteering provides a great opportunity to nonprofits needing to fill small but crucial roles.


Only 4 Hours of Free-Time Daily


Here are a few things to consider before setting up a micro-volunteer opportunity:

How will your organization measure the effectiveness, impact and ROI of a micro-volunteer program?

How will a consistent code of conduct be maintained?

What steps will your nonprofit take to engage and support micro-volunteers?

How will your organization recruit and manage micro-volunteers?


Make the Opportunity Enrollment Process Fast and Effective

Busy people do not have time to waste especially when committing to fill a role. Your nonprofits registration/sign-up process should consider those with a shortage of time. If your organization does not provide a digital sign-up option and only uses a manual process for volunteer registration you are behind the curve and chances are your nonprofit is missing out on filling opportunities.

Investing in a streamlined registration process can make your organization look more professional and appeal to busy volunteers who want to quickly complete the process. Keep in mind that you only have an average of 7 seconds to capture someone’s interest on your website. Make sure that they quickly and easily find your volunteer opportunities and registration page.


Get the Attention of Busy Volunteers


Communicate the Value

People make decisions every day on how to spend their valuable time based on perceived value. How is your nonprofit communicating value to busy volunteer prospects? Have you even asked them to volunteer? A study, performed by Standford University, found that 25% of people do not volunteer because they were not asked to commit.

The most effective way to communicate with volunteers is to reach out early and often. Make prospects aware of your organization’s mission and the good that is being achieved in the community because of the efforts of volunteers.

Here are a few additional tips on how to communicate with volunteers and prospects: 

Communicate urgency in your messages to volunteers and prospects (this will help them avoid the “maybe next time”).

Use communication as an opportunity to highlight the milestones that volunteers have achieved.

Communicate new opportunities regularly and promote micro/virtual volunteer roles.

Interject your nonprofits mission into all correspondence with volunteers and prospects.

Communicate the value-add for prospects and what they can gain from giving.


Appreciate a Volunteers Time

There is nothing worse for your volunteer program than volunteers feeling as though their precious time has been wasted. Volunteers appreciate a well-run program that includes training, coaching, and feedback. The more prepared your nonprofit is for volunteers the better off your organization will be. Make each moment count when interacting with volunteers.

Lack of appreciation/wasted time is one of the top reasons why volunteers discontinue giving. How is your nonprofit delivering real value for busy people? How are you demonstrating their personal impact to the cause?



Recruiting volunteers is never easy. People have busy schedules consumed by work, family, and hobbies. A nonprofits job is creating opportunities that fit into a prospects schedule, making registration easy, communicating effectively, and showing appreciation for fulfillment. If your organization is truly ready to motivate busy people the best way is to answer their question of “why?”

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