Christopher Hawthorne Moss
What's our Volunteer Recruitment Message?
A succinct, straightforward recruitment ad will draw more and better volunteers to your program. Let the ad do half your screening for you by anticipating and answering common questions!
This exercise will give you a great "10-second selling proposition" for posters, newspaper ads, radio spots or simply word of mouth.
Pattern for recruitment blurb:
Motivational appeal/goal by task for persons or goal for time required in/at location. Reward. Training provided. Any requirements/qualifications. For more information call recruiter's name at organization/program at phone number.
|Motivational appeal/goal||Your program has a mission, one that community members may want to share. Translate that into immediate, concrete terms and you are in business.|
|Task||Everyone wants to know what work they will be doing. Don't be mysterious. Don't "bait and switch". If this means you must recruit separately for different jobs, it will be worth your time to target people interested in doing the task described.|
|Persons or goal||This can be your client population, a cause, a candidate, an event or any other specific project.|
|Time required||This will either reassure people afraid of "commitment quicksand" or screen out people unable to give the time you request.|
|Location||This can be a specific location ("St. Matthew's Hospital"), a specific area ("downtown Duluth") or a general but relative area ("your neighborhood park").|
|Reward||If you haven't thought through what volunteers will get out of volunteering for you, you are not ready to recruit! Ask your happiest volunteers what they get out of being with you. Make sure you look outside the "fuzzies" box to find practical rewards as well, like job experience, exercise, meeting new people, or an opportunity to share a special interest.|
|"Training provided."||Don't provide any kind of training? Well, start! This part of the ad reassures prospective volunteers that you will not allow them to take this leap of faith unprepared.|
|Any requirements/qualifications||Driver's license, experience, lack of criminal background education, etc. But be sure your requirements do not violate any anti-discrimination laws.|
|Recruiter's name||Full name, first and last! Volunteers deserve at least that much respect from you. Giving only your first name sounds childish or informal. Volunteers wanting to give to their communities want to know you take them seriously enough to be a grownup about it.|
|Phone number and email address||Make it as easy as possible for volunteer prospects to contact you. There are people who will only use the phone and others who will only use email.|
|Web address||Your web site can sell your volunteer opportunities for you. Besides this message you can have everything from complete position descriptions, spotlights on current volunteers and your newsletter to an automated application form.|
Example 1. You can help seniors remain independent in their homes by delivering meals three days a week in your neighborhood. Here's a chance to put in a great day's work helping others! Training provided. Must have car. For more information call Jane Doe at Meals for Seniors at 555-1234 or [email protected] Web: www.mfs.org
Example 2. Brighten the day and share a meal! Help prepare and serve lunches at the Parkhurst Adult Day Care in Ballard one to three days a week! We're looking for "people" people who like to visit and have fun. Training provided. To receive more information abut joining the team, call John Smith at 555-5678 or [email protected] Web: www.parkhurstadultdaycare.org
Example 3. Do you want to help create a better life for our seniors? Community agency advocating for senior rights is looking for "just do it!" individual to spearhead public information campaign. We want your firm handshake, persuasive tongue and about ten hours of your time per month! Training provided. To learn more about this exciting opportunity, call Georgia Brown at Eldervoice at 555-9876 or email [email protected] Web: www.eldervoice.org
Example 4. Earn the smile and appreciation from a homebound neighbor simply by stopping by once a week with flowers, your child's school artwork and an hour of your time. Neighbor's Keeper is a program offered by The Old Stone Church in West Seattle. We value our volunteers and provide them with all the help they need to bring companionship into the lives of lonely seniors and disabled people. Training provided. Call Sara Sotta at 555-4321 or email [email protected] for information. Web: www.nbrskeepers.org
More Helpful Tips from a Champion Recruiter
- Don't tell them what you need. Tell them what they want.
- Start your ad with sentences that start with verbs like "Teach," "Help," "Save," "Read," or "Befriend" to serve as a motivator and/or task description.
- Never never never use the word "desperate".
- Recruit "wanna-be's" not "have-been's."
- Recruit via the Internet for motivated volunteers.
- Stay away from clichés like "Make a Difference."
- Look to underutilized groups such as qualified disabled people to boost your numbers and diversity.
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