Targeted volunteer recruitment is all about finding the right volunteer candidates, not the most volunteer candidates. Here are some tips that will help you effectively recruit volunteers with targeted appeals.
Publicity vs. Recruitment
People confuse publicity and recruitment, but they are not the same thing. Putting out a broad request for volunteers in mass media will likely get you many prospects, but only a minority, if any at all, will have the qualifications you are looking for. In addition to public messages about your organization’s mission, you should have a recruitment plan that targets a small pool of qualified candidates.
How to Effectively Recruit Volunteers
Many recruiters put out a call to action and wait for the perfect volunteers to come to them, but it should be the other way around. Here’s how to effectively recruit volunteers who have the right skills:
Think quality over quantity.
A broad request for volunteers can become a waste of time and energy, especially for skills-based volunteering roles that require extensive screening. Your energy is much better spent on finding quality candidates from a smaller pool of targeted prospects.
Look for volunteers by qualification first.
If you need volunteers with a certain skill set, put your message out where they will most likely see it. Think outside the box. Local clubs, colleges, community centers and even small shops and cafes are possibilities. If you’re looking for a good Spanish translator, for example, visit the local Spanish cultural center or family-owned Mexican restaurant. If you need someone with gardening expertise, visit your local nursery.
Create targeted recruitment materials.
Once you find the right place, put your message where it can be seen by the right people, and make sure your message is clear. Sometimes, the best way to reach the right candidates is through a phone call or attending a club meeting. Other times, a flyer on a bulletin board, or some contact cards at a register, is the better way to go. When in doubt, speak to an influencer in the target community, such as a club leader or professor. He or she will likely guide you in the right direction, and may even have some potential candidates in mind!
Finding the right volunteers means doing a little extra homework, but when it comes to effective volunteer recruitment, this active, targeted approach will give you the best results.