Quality is always better than quantity when it comes to finding volunteers to support your organization’s mission. Here are five traits to look for in your next volunteer.

The old saying “quality is better than quantity” definitely applies to volunteer recruitment and most nonprofit volunteer programs. Is your nonprofit finding the right volunteers to fill roles and inspire others around them? Your organization has specific needs, goals, and values that need to be communicated and accepted by volunteers in order to maintain consistency and standards. Finding the right volunteers can help your nonprofit provide services to the community, drive other quality prospects to volunteer, and even positively impact fundraising initiatives. Volunteers are incredibly valuable. According to recent studies, the average volunteer hour is worth $24.69 and over 40% of volunteers assist with fundraising. Here are five traits to look for when considering a volunteer for a role within your organization.

Recruit Passionate People

Passion is why your nonprofit does what it does. Finding people that share your organization’s desire for change and community support is important. People that are passionate about volunteering with your nonprofit have the ability to get others excited and motivated to give. Luckily, passion is a pretty easy characteristic to look out for. Be on the lookout for volunteer prospects that have ideas on how to make your program better, are excited to learn about your organization’s impact, are self-motivated, and are focused on providing your nonprofit with the most value they can.

Recruit Committed People

Focusing on finding and recruiting committed people will help with your nonprofit retain supporters over time. The average volunteer retention rate is between 45% and 70% depending on the location that your nonprofit serves. Finding committed volunteers that want to support your organization long-term increases the value of your volunteer program and reduces the stress on your volunteer coordinator/recruiter. One of the best ways to recruit committed volunteers is by focusing on prospects that are interested in filling multiple roles and by providing volunteers with incentives to continue to give and stay motivated (such as skill-development and increased responsibility).

Recruit Reliable People

Many nonprofits operate a large percentage of their organization (if not all) with the help of volunteers. If your organization is like most, you could not sustain your mission and reach goals without committed volunteers. Because of this, reliability is of the utmost importance. When recruiting volunteers it is key to make sure that they have the time and tools (such as transportation) to fulfill the commitment to your cause. Your organization will also want to continue to measure active volunteers for reliability and develop a process for dealing with call-offs and no-shows.

Here are a few tips for finding reliable volunteers:

  1. Ask long-term volunteers if they have any connections that would be interested in contributing.
  2. Make it easy for your current supporters to share opportunities to their connections on social media.
  3. Ask prospective volunteers for references.
  4. Find out what barriers a prospect may have before offering them a role.
  5. Talk often and strategically with supporters and create open communication.

Recruit People with Leadership Skills

Leaders make great volunteers! Your nonprofit should look for recruits that possess leadership skills and are good at teaching others. Some of the most important qualities to identify in a prospect are honesty, passion, agility, communication skills, empowerment, creativity, and innovation. Finding volunteers who are natural leaders will help your nonprofit train others to perform functions, inspire others to perform, and potentially optimize your volunteer/business operations.


Recruit Team Players

Chances are your organization uses many volunteers, working collaboratively, to complete a common goal. Volunteers need to be able to work well with others and be team players. There is nothing worse than having an individual volunteer who pushes away talent. Make sure that your nonprofit is creating autonomy between your supporters and looks for people persons to fill roles. Creating friendships and nurturing them is another great way to make an impact on your organization’s volunteer retention rate.


Even though volunteerism is an unpaid commitment, it is still crucial to find the right people for the role. Look for volunteers who are passionate, responsible, committed, and will be a great fit with other members of the team. Think of your volunteers as a family when choosing who your organization brings on.


Looking to Reach More Qualified Volunteers?

Your nonprofits ability to reach, recruit, and manage volunteers starts with your process. VolunteerHub’s volunteer management software can help you identify, register, and communicate with volunteers strategically. Check out this short video to learn how VolunteerHub works