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10 volunteer recruitment ideas to take your nonprofit to the next level!

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With the limited time and budget many nonprofits juggle, volunteers are often invaluable in extending a nonprofit’s capacity. Volunteers help build a sense of community, passion, and energy for a small nonprofit team. But where do you find them? And how do you recruit volunteers?!

In this blog, we’ll dive into understanding the role of volunteers for nonprofits and look at 10 volunteer recruitment ideas.

The impact of volunteers

Volunteers significantly amplify the organization's reach, enhance its resources, foster community engagement, fortify finances, and drive innovation. Their passionate commitment to a cause has transformative power, making them an invaluable asset to any nonprofit organization.

Let’s look at a few of the ways they could help your mission:

  • Community Engagement: Volunteers often act as ambassadors of the organization in their communities. They help spread the nonprofit's mission, share its impact, and generate public support, which can lead to increased fundraising and more community partnerships.
  • Expertise and Innovation: Volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and bring unique skills and perspectives. This diversity leads to innovative ideas, problem-solving abilities, and new approaches which can stimulate growth and bolster the organization's effectiveness.
  • Financial Leverage: Volunteer hours can be monetized and used to leverage additional funding. Some grants require matching contributions, which can be in-kind in the form of volunteer time. Hence, volunteers indirectly contribute to financial sustainability.
  • Donor Potential: Often volunteers become donors. Their intimate involvement with the organization's work can lead them to support it financially. Furthermore, they can influence others in their network to donate.

So, now you know the importance of having volunteers, but how do you recruit them to your cause?

Recruitment ideas

Before you start recruiting volunteers, it’s important to create clear volunteer job descriptions showcasing the roles, responsibilities, required skills, and estimated time commitment. Clarity helps prospective volunteers understand what they're signing up for and how they can contribute.

Once you’ve established exactly what you are expecting from volunteers, it is time to dive into recruiting volunteers to help your nonprofit!

1. Leverage Social Media

Social media can be a powerful tool for recruiting volunteers. Post regularly about your volunteer opportunities. Tell stories about the impact volunteers have. To broaden reach encourage your followers to share these posts, add alt image text, and use hashtags.

2. Host Open Houses

Hosting open houses or recruitment events is a great way to spark volunteer interest. Invite the community to your organization, so they get a better idea of your vision and available volunteer roles. Provide a platform for Q&A, so volunteers can get any questions they have answered before committing.

3. Build Partnerships

Partnerships with local businesses, schools, colleges, and other community-based organizations can connect you to individuals who are likely to be interested in volunteering. Collaborate with schools and universities to offer internships or service-learning credits to students who volunteer with your organization.

Build mutually beneficial relationships with businesses to encourage their employees to volunteer. Some companies even offer paid time off for employees to volunteer.

4. Offer Virtual Volunteering

Not everyone can be on-site. When possible, create remote volunteer opportunities. Remote opportunities attract a diverse group of volunteers, including those with limited mobility, tight schedules, or who don’t live locally.

5. Engage in Local Events

Set up a booth at local fairs, markets, or festivals to talk to community members about the impact of your work and how they can get involved. In-person conversations still build the best relationships.

6. Personalized Outreach

Personalized communication often resonates better and leads to a higher response rate. Segment your potential volunteers based on their interests, skills, and objectives. Then tailor your messages to align with those segments.

7. Use Your Current Volunteers

Your existing volunteers can be your best ambassadors. Encourage them to share their experiences and invite their peers to volunteer. Send them a promo kit to make sharing about your organization easier.

A promo kit should include:

  • your nonprofit’s logo;
  • mission statement;
  • images or image templates;
  • copy ideas for social media posts
  • hashtags, social tags, or alt text you’d like them to use.

8. Volunteer Recognition Programs

Implement a program to recognize your volunteers. Highlight their stories and contributions on your website or at an annual appreciation event.

9. Educational Workshops

Offer workshops or seminars that provide value to volunteers. Training such as leadership training or skills development can benefit them personally and professionally.

10. Use Your CRM

A donor management platform like DonorDock makes segmenting your contacts easier. Volunteer tracking gives you a clear picture of how each volunteer interacts with your nonprofit.

Plus, simplify volunteer outreach by sending targeted emails to different groups! Send specific messaging to groups such as recurring donors or event attendees, who might be interested in deepening their involvement through volunteering.


Make it simple for volunteers

Once you’ve generated interest in potential volunteers, it’s important to help them follow through! Don’t let your nonprofit stand in the way of volunteer recruitment. Simplify the process by following these basic steps:

  • Streamline the Application Process: Make it easy for people to apply to volunteer. A complicated or lengthy application process can deter potential volunteers.
  • Follow Up Promptly: When you receive an inquiry or application, follow up right away. A slow response might be interpreted as a lack of interest.
  • Inclusive Approach: Foster an inclusive volunteering environment. Celebrate diversity by inviting volunteers of all ages, races, genders, and abilities.
  • Volunteer Benefits: Illustrate the personal growth and development opportunities of volunteering with your organization - learning new skills, gaining work experience, meeting like-minded people, and fulfillment of contributing to a cause.


By diversifying your approach and making it easy for people to learn about and join your volunteer program, you'll be well on your way to building a robust volunteer base!

By using these strategies, nonprofit leaders can create a vibrant, engaged pool of volunteers, crucial to their organization's success. Remember, maintaining a positive, appreciative atmosphere is key to enhancing volunteer retention.

Elisha Ford
Content Writer
Written by
Elisha Ford
Content Writer

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