Volunteers are vital because they provide time and skills to advance your organization’s goals. Though employees have similar roles, the key difference between employees and volunteers is that employees are paid while volunteers work without receiving compensation.
Although the employee and volunteer hiring processes differ, you need to find volunteers who share your organization’s values. When you can find and keep good volunteers, your organization can achieve more and leave a bigger impact on your beneficiaries.
What Qualities Should I Look for in a Volunteer?
Organizations can choose the right volunteers for roles by identifying the qualities they want. A volunteer’s character goes a long way in understanding what they’ll bring to your organization and mission. The values expected of volunteers include:
A genuine passion for your organization’s mission should be every volunteer’s motivation. Passionate volunteers see every task as valuable to keep your organization running smoothly. They believe they can make a difference and will inspire others to think the same. Their dedication to the mission will impact your organization and outreach and ensure they keep coming back, ready to work.
A good volunteer is dependable in their ability to fulfill a commitment. When you ask your volunteer to complete a task, they should see it through to get the job done. Reliability reflects on the volunteer’s work ethic and your organization.
Recruiting volunteers committed to helping your mission will improve your organization over time. Dedicated volunteers plan to work with your organization in the long term, making your volunteer program more valuable. These volunteers may be willing to fill multiple roles and are motivated by appreciation and incentives.
Your organization needs volunteers you can count on. A timely volunteer consistently arrives at the project site on time. They also communicate scheduling conflicts as soon as they can. Call-offs and no-shows can prevent your organization from completing vital projects.
You trust your volunteers with your organization’s beneficiaries, facilities, and resources. An honest volunteer will use these resources in the right way to further your mission. They understand their responsibilities are important for your mission, and their work reflects your organization.
Selfless volunteers know their work is about helping others. These volunteers understand your organization’s cause and see the impact your mission makes. This understanding allows them to empathize with those who benefit from your work. Volunteers should willingly give their time and effort toward your mission to advance your organization’s goals.
Many volunteer projects have roles at various skill levels and labor requirements. A flexible volunteer is willing to go with the flow and do whatever is needed. You can count on them to work hard regardless of the task. Flexibility is valuable in a volunteer because it helps them expand their experiences so that they can advance through the organization.
Some volunteer projects require a lot of work before seeing results or face challenges along the way. Volunteers need to remain positive no matter the circumstances. Positive thinking helps volunteers stay dedicated to the cause and work through the difficulties to bring about change.
Volunteering is about working toward a greater goal, and much of this work is in team settings. Good volunteers can collaborate and get along with others. These individuals understand every team member is valuable because they bring different skills. Team players are willing to share their ideas and are good listeners, so they can both lead and follow.
10 Steps to Finding and Keeping Good Volunteers
Knowing how to find a good volunteer is essential for saving money and supporting your beneficiaries better. A volunteer recruitment process can attract the best volunteers to carry out your mission. Follow these steps to bring and retain good volunteers:
1. Write a Recruitment Message
Once you have identified the positions to fill, write job descriptions for each. Share some information about:
- Your organization’s history and mission.
- Why your volunteer organization needs to fill this position.
- The skills and knowledge the ideal candidate should have.
- The benefits of volunteering for your organization.
2. Establish an Onboarding Process
Volunteers need certain knowledge and skills to do their roles well. The volunteer onboarding process matters because it integrates the volunteers into your organization, trains them in their responsibilities, and teaches them about your mission. As a result, the volunteers will feel prepared for their role.
3. Get the Word Out
Let potential volunteers know your organization needs them by publishing your recruitment message. Spread the word about your volunteer opportunities by:
- Posting the available positions on your website.
- Sharing the post on other volunteer websites.
- Distributing flyers throughout the community.
- Attending a volunteer fair.
- Encouraging your staff and volunteers to tell their friends.
- Advertising with a local news or radio station.
4. Find Your Volunteers
Once you start getting volunteer applications, decide which candidates you want to advance in the recruitment process. Besides your online applications, you can look at:
- Schools and universities for students needing community service hours for scholarships.
- Businesses and corporations that want to expand their community outreach.
- Clubs and community groups looking to give back to their community.
The role requirements will determine which recruitment technique you use. For example, if you need a lot of volunteers for a short-term project, you can be open to virtually any willing candidate. For roles requiring a specific group of individuals, you may use targeted recruitment to find candidates with the skillset needed.
5. Screen the Candidates
Screen your potential volunteers to figure out who will be a good fit for the position. Some roles may require more screening, especially if they will work with your beneficiaries. Screening options include:
- Background checks
6. Leverage One-on-One Interviews
Interviews are an opportunity for the volunteer to meet the staff and for you to get a feel for the candidate. They can help you understand the candidate’s motivations and personality beyond what you learned from their application.
Address these topics in the interview:
- Areas of interest
7. Place the Volunteer in a Fitting Role
If you decide to onboard the volunteer, use what you learned about them to fit them with the best role. Matching volunteers with the right assignments can help the volunteer feel welcome in your organization, be satisfied with their work, and decide to return.
8. Communicate Expectations
Your organization has expectations for the ideal candidate, and the volunteer has expectations for their volunteer experience. Let the volunteer know early on what the role requires, and listen to their expectations about their work. Balance the volunteer’s expectations with your organization’s goals to create positive outcomes for everyone involved.
9. Make the Volunteer Experience Fun
Volunteers feel engaged when they enjoy their work and have a positive experience. You can make volunteering with your organization fun by:
- Encouraging personal and professional connections between volunteers and staff.
- Planning social activities for volunteers and staff.
- Creating a mentorship program for new volunteers to shadow experienced volunteers.
10. Help Your Volunteers Grow
When volunteers feel their work is recognized and appreciated, they are more likely to stay with your organization, keeping volunteer retention rates high. Encourage volunteers to grow with your organization by:
- Placing them in roles appropriately challenging for their skill level.
- Giving volunteers a certain degree of autonomy.
- Thanking volunteers regularly.
- Recognizing volunteers through an award system.
Find the Right Volunteer for Your Organization With Volgistics
- Advertise volunteer roles through an online opportunity directory.
- Post online volunteer application forms with customizable fields.
- Streamline background screening.
- Manage volunteer schedules.
Take advantage of the recruitment software to bring good volunteers to your organization. Sign up for a free 30-day trial or request a live demo to see how it works. For more information, contact us online.