Building a volunteer dream team starts with a vision. When you envision your perfect volunteer dream team, what does it look like? With these tips, you can make that dream team a reality.

Get a Strategy

The market for new, qualified volunteers is getting tough. The best volunteer recruiters know to first visualize their ideal volunteer team, and then put a strategy in place for best results


Choose your target demographic. Think of the skills, ages and availability you’re looking for.


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Delve a little deeper on your target demographic. Brainstorm 5-10 imaginary individuals who represent the ideal volunteer for your organization. Think of details like their age, income level, education, marital status, experience and passions. Also answer the question of “Why.” Why do these imaginary people want to volunteer? They may have their own, different reasons. Most importantly, ask: why would they want to volunteer with you?


Chances are, your target volunteer demographic congregates together within certain organizations or businesses. This can be a church, a small business, or a student club at your local college. A animal shelter looking for volunteers to help transport dogs, for example, may want to get in contact with local veterinarians and dog breed clubs.


Once you’ve answered the 3 big questions, it is time to start asking potential volunteers to join your dream team directly. This involves more than just setting out a flyer by the door and hoping for the best (although that can be helpful too); communicating directly with your target demographic is far more effective. Just remember these two key points:

  1. Your target demographic wants to help, but fears committing to a long-term opportunity. Offer a short task or event that will help them get to know you first. (See Tom McKee’s article on ‘Recruiting is like Dating’ for more details).
  2. Potential volunteers want to feel like they will make a real impact. Make your mission clear.

If you already did your homework (answered the who why and where questions), chances are, you will see a greater rate of interest from the people you ask.

Highly effective volunteer recruitment takes time, it’s true. But before you say, “I don’t have time,” consider this: recruiting the wrong type of volunteer, or recruiting too few volunteers to begin with, can waste a lot more of your precious time. Building your volunteer dream team may seem overwhelming at first, but we think you’ll find the results are well worth the effort.