pexels-photo-1083619Getting enough talented, skilled people to help your NFP accomplish its objectives is a more complicated process than simply posting a notice that you’re accepting applicants. The following five recruiting tips can help your nonprofit create a sustainable volunteer program that matches the best people to the right volunteer opportunities.

Audit Your Current Volunteer Program

To make it easier to recruit qualified prospects, evaluate your current recruiting, training and retention practice and policies to discover areas that need to be improved. As you uncover shortcomings, think about the steps that you can take to improve your program and make the volunteer experience more enjoyable for participants and service beneficiaries.

Generally, the more that your current volunteers enjoy their assignments, the more likely it is that they will continue to give to your organisation. They are also more likely to refer others to your volunteer program when they feel that the work that they do is meaningful. Your program is also more likely to be successful when you work to meet the needs of others, such as offering volunteers public recognition for their work or creating opportunities for your team to network.

Make a List of Volunteer Needs

Everyone likes to know what to expect before they begin a new assignment or start a new position. Don’t take a haphazard approach to managing your volunteer program. Take the time to assess your organisation’s true needs, and decide what types of tasks, duties and roles can be filled in your organisation by volunteers.

Create a specific title and offer a thorough description of each role that individual volunteers will play in your organisation. Include this information when you post the position. List any training, certification, or qualifications that volunteers should meet for specialised roles. Don’t forget to include an estimate of the time and schedule that volunteers should be available each day and week.

Offer some variety in the types of tasks, and, length of commitment that you offer prospective volunteers. This one step encourages greater diversity in your potential volunteer pool and increases participation from candidates from different backgrounds and interests.

Accept Applications Online

Using an online application process not only reduces your organisation’s use of physical paper, it saves time, allowing you to quickly search for candidates by keywords, skills and other demographics. While you could create an application and host it on your nonprofit’s website, it is easier and more cost-effective to list your opportunities with one or more of the online portals that help prospective supporters find organisations that need volunteers.

As part of the application process, include a basic questionnaire to inventory each candidate’s preferences, ability to volunteer, and specific talents to make it easier to pair prospects with the right opportunities.

Get the Word Out that Your NFP Needs Volunteers

There are several ways you can let individuals know that your organisation needs volunteers. To get started, ask your current staff and volunteers to encourage their friends and family to give their time to your NFP. Posting the positions on your NFP’s website is another good idea.

If you need to recruit large numbers of volunteers in a short amount of time, you might consider placing some targeted ads on Facebook and other social media channels. If the position requires candidates to have specific skills or qualifications, such as that of a volunteer treasurer, consider listing the position, along with your requirements, on LinkedIn.

Screen and Interview Your Applicants

Often your organisation’s volunteers will be the literal “face” of your nonprofit, and your recruiting processes should reflect the seriousness and significance of the role that volunteers play in your NFP. Establish a formal, written policy for your evaluation process to reduce unintentional bias and increase inclusiveness, diversity and gender balance.

Screen your applicants, conduct background checks and interview them at least  once before you narrow down your list and make a formal offer. This will protect your volunteers and the community that you serve, as well as safeguard the reputation of your organisation.