businesswoman-2817567_640Without volunteers, it would be impossible for nonprofits to accomplish all of the good things that they do to make things better in their communities. Recruiting enough people, with just the right skills and talents is not an easy feat, so we’ve created a list of strategies to help your NFP be able to get the right people on board with your organisation.

Be Specific about What, and Who, You Want

While some volunteer opportunities don’t require a lot of experience and training, others demand highly trained folks with specific backgrounds. Before you publicly post a list of volunteer opportunities that are available at your NFP take the time to think about your organisation’s true needs. What types of qualities and experiences will your ideal candidates have?  Use this information to create your listings, and post openings on your internal and external websites.

For positions that require highly specialised skills, such as project development, I.T. Director or general manager, consider placing ads. You might also consider listing the job description, along with a list of duties and qualifications with any professional nonprofit associations and career networking sites that you belong to. Your local employment agency is also a good option to help you get the word out about your opening so that you can reach a broad range of potential candidates.

Get Creative

Many people want to volunteer to help others, but lead very busy lives so they are uncertain about committing to projects that will require set hours or a commitment for a long period of time. Increase the diversity and flexibility within your organisation by creating new, micro-volunteering opportunities for others to “try out” volunteer service by completing a single task that only takes a few minutes or hours.

This approach works best when you need to bring on a large group of volunteers for only a very limited time, but, it also increases the chance that at least some of your short-term volunteers will want to return and possibly commit to longer terms of service.

Reach Out to Your Contacts

Don’t forget to leverage your network of connections when you are looking for volunteers. Share your list of openings with your friends and family, post them online on your social media channels and encourage everyone connected to your organisation to do the same. The chances are good that you or someone that you know has a connection to someone who would be perfect for the position!

You’ve Just Recruited Some Volunteers – Great! Now What?

Once you have recruited suitable candidates to fill your positions, you will want to take steps to make their volunteer experience a positive one. Doing so will encourage them to remain with your organisation, which decreases turnover. Volunteers who enjoy their work, and, feel engaged with their nonprofits are also more likely to share their stories with others, raising interest in your organisation’s work and increasing your pool of future recruits!

Create a Formal Volunteer Policy

No one knows what is expected of them when they first join an organisation. This is true whether the entity is in the for-profit or not-for-profit sector. Help your volunteers learn more about their roles, and what is expected of them by creating a formal volunteer policy and giving it to them in writing to help with the onboarding process. Make sure that you’ve given your recruits the right expectations of how you want them to perform, as well as provide them with a list of their rights and responsibilities as a volunteer with your NFP.

Offer Training

Make sure that your volunteers know how to complete the tasks that you’ve set for them, and how to perform their work well, by offering training sessions. Help them to acquire additional knowledge and keep their new skills sharp by offering additional training throughout their career with your NFP.

Enlist the Help of a Volunteer Coordinator

Having a designated guide to direct and manage your volunteers can help keep everyone on track and engaged within your nonprofit. A coordinator provides oversight of our volunteer program.

Common tasks that your coordinator should be able to perform include acting as a liaison when volunteers have questions about policies, processes and procedures and guiding volunteers through specific operations such as how to file a grievance with your NFP. They should also coordinate schedules, make assignments, and otherwise follow up with your volunteers, keeping everyone focused on the same goals and running smoothly.