Six Volunteer Recruitment Techniques That Will Make You Shine

If your phone’s not ringing off the hook (or your email inbox isn’t full) with inquiries about your volunteer openings, maybe it’s time to take another look at your volunteer recruitment techniques. I  mean a good, hard, honest look.  Are they boring or do they inspire you?  Would you answer your own volunteer posting?  If not, it’s time to renovate!

Here are six ways to transform a lifeless recruitment ad into a compelling inspiration to join the crowd that is making a BIG difference.

Pump Up Your Volunteer Recruitment Techniques With Engaging Ads

1) Include Inspired Testimonials —  Drop in a couple of short and sweet quotes from current volunteers about why volunteering is so valuable to them.  Better yet, include testimonials from the people who have benefited from your program about how it has changed their life.  To protect their privacy, include just their first name and last initial.  To make them more personable include the city or neighborhood where they live.

2) Use Eye-Catching Photos — Spice it up with a couple of photos of your volunteers in action.  You don’t need to show a lot of detail.  Close-ups of a group of diverse people smiling up at the camera are all you need.  Do not use stock photos, rather include real folks in all their glory.

If you are trying to cultivate a specific group of people, make absolutely sure they are pictured.  If you haven’t reached that community yet, include a photo with a cut-out and ask “who’s missing from this picture?” and then make a pitch for their inclusion.  Also, include a testimonial from someone from that community who can vouch for you.

3) Watch Your Words — Remove all jargon, acronyms, taboo words, and complicated language from your appeals — this includes your mission statement if it is lackluster.  You make the call.  When you use jargon, nobody knows what you’re talking about, and they get turned off fast.  Your appeals should be written to a 6th-grade reading level, regardless of who you are trying to reach.  You can check the reading level using your word processing software.

4) Always Use a Call to Action — A call to action specifically describes what you would like the reader to do.  “Volunteer today!” is not a compelling call to action.  “Call Jennifer at (206) 756-1234 to get an application packet today!” gives more specific info.

5) Connect with Real People — Put the names, phone numbers, and emails of the person in charge of recruiting in each ad.  Prospective volunteers will be more attracted to you if they see they’ll be able to connect with a real human being, versus a nameless, faceless switchboard or inbox.

6) Leverage Your Organization’s Web Page — Use your agency’s web page to provide more in-depth information that you can’t include in a short ad, and provide the link in your appeal.  Also, make sure your agency’s home page has a highly-visible link to volunteer info.  Post volunteer applications, training program information, and recent successes, team photos, and videos of your volunteers in action.  Update this content often (a great job for volunteers!); this will demonstrate to applicants that you are a group that’s on the move and making a difference.