Recruiting volunteers

More than ever, people want to give back to their communities. The majority of people who want to volunteer are not adults who have lost their jobs. Baby Boomers make up 28% of the population, that’s 76 million world wide, and are the most likely to fill out volunteer applications.

From Microsoft to Malawi : learning on the front lines as a Peace Corps volunteer
Michael L. Buckler.
Lanham, Md. : Hamilton Books, c2011.
In this compelling narrative, Michael L. Buckler draws readers into the challenging, yet rewarding world of the Peace Corps. Inspired by his journals, the book recounts his life as a Peace Corps teacher after a heartbreaking divorce and a demanding legal career prompted him to make a change. Assigned to a village school in Malawi, Buckler opens his tiny home to three boys, embarking with them on a journey of cross-cultural discovery, personal sacrifice, and transformative growth. Determined to help his village, Buckler collaborates with community leaders to build a boarding school for girls. As momentum builds, a powerful bureaucrat tries to shut down the project and Buckler becomes discouraged. As he agonizes over whether to leave, the village takes matters into its own hands in a moving display of the persistent, courageous spirit of Malawi.
Acts of mercy
Mariah Stewart.
Grand Haven, MI : Brilliance Audio, p2010.
In the third suspenseful novel of the hot new Mercy Street series by a "New York Times"-bestselling author, a profiler-turned-private eye joins an FBI agent to hunt down a serial killer.
365 ideas for recruiting, retaining, motivating, and rewarding your volunteers : a complete guide for nonprofit organizations
by Sunny Fader.
Ocala, Fla. : Atlantic Pub. Group, c2010.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 26.7 percent of the population volunteered in 2006. Unfortunately, while the population is increasing, the percentage of Americans who volunteer is decreasing each year. What this means is that you must hang onto and keep your volunteers happy and coming back, perhaps bringing new volunteer recruits with them. This new book is packed with hundreds of simple and inexpensive ways to motivate, challenge, and reward your volunteers. Volunteers today need constant reinforcement and recognition, and here is how to do it. With real life, proven examples and case studies from actual nonprofit organizations, you can use this book daily to boost morale and productivity and find fundraising activities. This is your opportunity to build an organization that people love to volunteer, and you can do so by using these quick, effective, humorous, innovative, and simply fun solutions. Make your organization a happy place to volunteer, and reap the benefits.
Developing a learning culture in nonprofit organizations
Stephen J. Gill.
Los Angeles : SAGE, c2010.
Developing a Learning Culture in Nonprofit Organizations demonstrates how to create a culture of learning (intentional learning from reflection and feedback focused on successes and failures) that involves ongoing performance measurement and improvement. Because non profits rely heavily on volunteers and are focused on mission, not money, it is critical for non-profits to create a culture in which learning is a motivator for change. The book breaks down learning into four levels: 1) Individual; 2) Team; 3) Whole Organization; and 4) Community. Learning at each of these levels is described and then specific tools are presented. The tools are hands-on and practical, which facilitate reflection and feedback.
The complete idiot's guide to recruiting and managing volunteers
by John L. Lipp.
New York : Alpha, c2009.
You're no idiot, of course. You know volunteers provide much-needed assistance to countless groups and organizations. But the thought of finding and then managing such a diverse group of people has you overwhelmed.

 Many Boomers, retired from their jobs, want to give back to the community. These Boomers contain skills and abilities that they can contribute to a local organization. Stuffing envelopes is not what they consider contributing. However, they are not hard to please. But, there are things that they expect.

Volunteers want you to be ready for them.

  • Have a task or duty ready when they arrive

Volunteers want to feel welcome.

  • Act as though they are a guest in your home
  • Greet them when they arrive and thank them when they leave
  • Don’t let them feel uncomfortable for a minute
  • Check in on them, or assign a staff member as the “volunteer buddy”

Hiring Volunteers

"Interviewing candidates not only demonstrates that the organization views the volunteer in a professional light, but also gives both the organization and the candidate a chance to see if there is a good fit between the two"

Jill Friedman Fixler

Volunteers want good training.

  • Even if the task is a simple one, take time to explain it

Volunteers want interesting work.

  • Don’t give them tasks that even your staff doesn’t want to do
  • Take advantage of their experiences and skills

Volunteers want to be appreciated.

  • Tell them that they are doing a good job

Volunteers want open communication.

  • Lack of communication is one of the reasons they become dissatisfied
  • Listen to them and respond to concern immediately

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff