Recruiting and Motivating Volunteers
Most BIAs find that they have more success recruiting volunteers when they define exactly what needs to be done and how much time is required.
For instance, potential volunteers often envision themselves staffing booths or blowing up balloons — but they don’t realize that their computer skills might be needed in the BIA office, their design skills could help in creating attractive promotional materials, or that they can assist in recruiting other volunteers or researching additional funding sources.
Volunteer Toronto has been helpful in providing materials for this section.
Please use the sample volunteer recruitment form as a template. It can be distributed throughout your BIA to help with volunteer recruitment.
Guide for Developing Volunteers
Title of the position
This will be the volunteer’s identification. Give this as much prestige as possible.
Major objective of the position
A short, concise statement, reflecting the ultimate goal of the service to be performed.
Include all things necessary for the effective performance of duties, listing requirements from physical to human qualities desired. Be careful not to over qualify the position because you could lose some excellent volunteers due to stringent educational requirements. Specific requirements such as a car, and insurance should be noted.
List each duty and responsibility of the job as specifically as possible.
Orientation and training
Include the specific content of the orientation and training, as well as the approximate number of hours required. Identify and contact the individuals who will conduct the training.
Time and place
Include the exact duty hours and days of the week, and the location where the volunteer is to perform the services. Be specific.
The minimum number of months you need from the volunteer based on your investment in training and supervision becomes the minimum length of commitment for the volunteer. A maximum time commitment should also be specified for the volunteer.
Name the supervisor and the position. In most cases this will be the staff person with direct responsibility for the service. Include a schedule of supervisory sessions.
List any available benefits to the volunteer such as free parking, coffee, mileage reimbursement and insurance.
What attracts volunteers?
A BIA might consider:
- creating a vision or an attractive mission statement
- being professional in promoting your cause
- offering meaningful work
- recognizing the changes in people’s expectations
- supporting volunteers through effective management practices
- being flexible
- coaching a volunteer’s personal growth and development
- advocating for enabling funds for volunteers.
As a volunteer recruiter, you need to:
- Be clear as to the purpose of the program and the particular volunteer jobs you have to offer
- Determine what skills are needed and when
- Design a recruitment approach based on the motivations of the potential volunteer
- Be flexible and open to modifying the volunteer job to suit the time availability and location of a potential volunteer.
Do specific rather than general recruitment whenever possible:
- Choose appropriate audiences whose interests and priorities match your needs
- Determine where to find the skills sets you need and actively seek out candidates
- Be as specific and honest in your appeal as possible
- Recruit by inviting people to respond to the opportunity to volunteer, not by telling them they ought to be concerned and involved
- Have a year-round recruitment plan
- Utilize a variety of recruitment techniques.
Remember, an effective recruitment message has three parts: the need, the job description and the benefits.
Recruiting and Motivating Volunteers
This section provides important information about a key component of your BIA: the volunteer board of management. It provides essential tips to assist you with recruiting, interviewing and retaining board members as well as volunteers involved in special events and other projects.
Volunteer program development checklist
- What are the mandate, goals and objectives of the volunteer program?
- Who will be responsible for the management of volunteers?
- What is the role of the co-coordinator of volunteers?
- Will staff accept the sharing of tasks/more volunteers?
- What staff/volunteers need to be consulted? Do you need to consult with union personnel?
- Will sufficient staff time/dollars be allocated to support the program?
What is the budget?
- Do you have clear job descriptions for all positions?
- How many volunteers will be needed to do the various types of assignments?
- Are your volunteer opportunities flexible (evenings, weekends, short term)?
- What are the liability and insurance ramifications of using volunteers?
- What kind of orientation, training and support will be offered to volunteers?
- How will volunteers be recognized?
Volunteer coordinator role
- Overall management
- Development of program goals/objects
- Selling the program
- Identifying programs/areas
- Designing the volunteer jobs
- Determining/defending the budget
- Record keeping
- Recruitment, interviewing, placement
- Orientation, training, supervision, evaluation
- Motivation, counseling, recognition
Before the interview, you may wish to:
- Review all material related to the volunteer position
- Review any information you already have about the volunteer
- Define your objectives for the interview
- Develop a list of questions you plan to ask
- Set a time limit for the interview
- Choose an appropriate place to conduct the interview
- Arrange for uninterrupted time.
Beginning the interview
- Introduce yourself
- Put the volunteer at ease (call him/her by name)
- Clarify your and the volunteer’s purpose and goals for the interview.
During the interview
- Listen to what the volunteer is saying
- Observe body posture and movement, tone of voice and pace of speech
- Use open, non-directive questions rather than closed questions where possible.
Ending the interview
- Summarize any decision/actions that have been agreed upon
- Before thanking the prospective volunteer, ask if there are any other questions or information required.
After the interview
- Write up any notes and follow-up tasks such as reference checks
- Make the required arrangements for placement