Confessions on recruiting volunteers

Avoiding common mistakes. Why recruiting new volunteers often goes wrong?

Do you find the process of recruiting and managing volunteers challenging and often difficult? If we separate these two activities, which one would give you more headache; recruiting or managing? Almost every volunteer coordinator would give the same answer: recruiting volunteers can be really troublesome. So, why does this pop up as the main problem in many organizations? Believe it or not, the reasons for this are some really common and basic mistakes in volunteer management.

Let’s go through the most frequent ones and see what you can do to avoid them!

The 4 mistakes

1. Passive and lazy call-to-action — like announcements

Writing an announcement that you’re looking for volunteers, sharing it publicly and waiting for it to attract people or work out as a call-to-action is literally the laziest thing that you could do when recruiting and managing volunteers! Sorry, but you will have to put more effort into this activity! Ask and invite! Use software for volunteer management that offers a good volunteer management solution. You can use it as an online group invitation/call for new volunteers. Reach out to people!

2. “On a long-term” often sounds terrifying

When you’re reaching out to new potential volunteers, avoid overwhelming them with the information that you’re looking for a “long-term commitment”. That’s like telling someone on the first date that you want marriage. Set some limits. Volunteers are more attracted by projects with a defined end date. This way, both sides will be satisfied. Recruiting and managing volunteers is not about convincing someone to stay forever in your organization. It’s more about making them love the volunteering experience that much, that they’ll ask to stay “few more months”.

3. The one-time offer is the second chance killer

As a volunteer coordinator, you should know that you will have to be persuasive enough in order to get someone’s attention and make them become your volunteer. Don’t limit yourself with a one-time offer attitude. The volunteer position is not a piece of art at an auction that can be sold only once and at the moment. When you’re recruiting and managing volunteers, always take into consideration that today’s “no” can become tomorrow’s “yes”. Ask again and again. Maybe the person you’ve asked the previous month was too busy but is now available and eager to join your organization.

4. Whatever the price, whatever the cost…

This phrase can get you far in life, but don’t take it for granted when recruiting volunteers! Filling the volunteer position at any price can seem like a perfect solution, but it can also cost you a lot later. Find the right person for the position you’re offering in your organization. Don’t mess the puzzle just because you need someone. Patiently choose and the right volunteer will come.

Thoughtfully going through the process of recruiting and managing volunteers, being persistent and determined, reaching out to people and using a software for volunteer management will prevent you from making the common mistakes when looking for new volunteers.

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