Your nonprofits volunteer recruitment plan should focus on finding the right volunteers to fill organizational opportunities.

Creating and implementing a strategic volunteer recruitment plan is one of the first steps your nonprofit organization should take to identify and recruit the right talent to fill organizational roles. Volunteers play such an important role in the success of nonprofits that development of strategic recruiting should not be taken lightly. Did you know that nonprofits that assessed volunteer impact, on average, increased recruitment efforts by 19%?

Nonprofits are beginning to understand how important volunteerism is to their organization’s ability to fulfill its mission and goals.  How your nonprofit recruits and retains volunteers should depend on the opportunities that your organization is looking to fill. There are several key components that your organization may want to leverage in your volunteer recruitment plan. Here are 5.


Volunteer Recruitment Plan - Focus on Strengths


Your volunteer recruitment plan should make an effort to identify and leverage volunteer strengths. Targeting strengths will also allow your organization to identify weaknesses or roles that your volunteers are not comfortable filling. Filling roles based on volunteer skillsets will help your nonprofit increase efficiencies.

There are several ways that your organization can identify volunteer strengths. Here are a few:

  1. Make it a priority to ask volunteers about strengths and weaknesses during the initial interview and onboarding process.
  2. Provide volunteers with an opportunity to reflect on their volunteer experiences and provide insights into what they did well and what they could have done better.
  3. Provide volunteers with a mentor who can analyze strengths and areas that need improvement.
  4. Survey volunteers about their recent volunteer experiences on a regular basis.


Volunteer Recruitment Plan - Provide Realistic Descriptions


One of the easiest ways to maximize the success of your organization’s volunteer recruitment plan is to develop and publish realistic job previews for prospects. Giving prospects actual insight into what to expect from an opportunity can increase volunteer engagement, improve retention, and help to identify the best candidate for an organizational role.

Here are a few tips for writing the most effective opportunity descriptions:

  1. Make sure to state all responsibilities that the volunteer will need to fulfill.
  2. Be specific and make sure the opportunity description is clear and concise.
  3. Explain your nonprofits mission, values, and culture as part of the description.
  4. Provide volunteers a brief outline of the next steps in the recruiting process.
  5. Avoid using jargon in your volunteer opportunity descriptions.


Volunteer Recruitment Plan-Plan for Involvement


Nothing looks worse to a volunteer than an organization that is not prepared for their service commitment. Your volunteer recruitment plan should take this into consideration. Make sure your nonprofit organization is ready and aware of all opportunities and roles being filled by volunteers. There are several ways that your organization can alleviate volunteer stress and provide a great welcome to recruits.

Here are a few tips for making volunteers feel welcome:

  1. Show volunteers that your organization has been expecting them and be enthusiastic about their commitment.
  2. Introduce volunteers to other volunteers and nonprofit staff members.
  3. Provide volunteers with a mentor who can assist them during the fulfillment of their role.
  4. Provide volunteers with training opportunities prior to service.
  5. Ask volunteers to provide your organization with feedback regarding their experience.
  6. Ease volunteers into their role by giving them small tasks at first.


Volunteer Recruitment Plan - Focus on Engagement


Engagement should be the foundation of your volunteer recruitment plan. Your organization needs to engage volunteer prospects from your very first communication. Not prioritizing volunteer engagement can lead to a negative volunteer experience and the risk of losing valuable talent. Remember that your organization only has one opportunity to make a good first impression to candidates.

Here are a few ways to make your first impressions engaging for volunteers:

  1. Make volunteer processing as easy as possible for prospects.
  2. Communicate effectively with prospects about the role, organization, and next steps.
  3. Equip volunteers with the knowledge they need to effectively fill a role.
  4. Answer all questions that volunteers and prospects have about the process and role.
  5. Recognize your volunteers and prospects for their commitment to your cause.
  6. Learn as much as possible about the prospect and offer career development volunteer opportunities if possible.


Volunteer Recruitment Plan - Implementation


Now that you have drafted a strategic volunteer recruitment plan it is time to put it into play. Make sure that you have alignment from all organizational decision-makers before launching your new strategy. Remember that your nonprofit should be optimizing and updating your volunteer recruitment plan over time.


Creating an effective volunteer recruitment plan is the first step that your organization can take to identify the best talent for a particular opportunity. Your volunteer recruitment plan should focus on volunteer strengths, provide realistic job descriptions that captivate, prepare your organization for volunteer involvement and engage your prospects and supporters. Learn more about our volunteer recruitment software.

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