Good Reads You Might Have Missed: Volunteer Recruitment

Trying to figure out how to recruit new volunteers … and keep them around? This roundup of research-forged advice from association pros is more than enough to get you started.

Bringing on new volunteers can always be a challenge during normal times, but when the volunteer work increasingly takes place across laptops and in remote settings, the tenor can change significantly.

But there’s still plenty of room to get things right. Check out these selections from the Associations Now and archives to get your volunteer recruiting efforts on track:

Create a More Engaging Volunteer System. This piece, highlighting an ASAE Research Foundation study, discusses how volunteering is a gateway to deeper engagement. “Once a member becomes a volunteer, they are likely to stay engaged as a volunteer,” the piece explained. “Seventy percent of current volunteers said they were very likely to volunteer again in the next several years, and another 20 percent said they were somewhat likely to do so. Only 1 percent of current volunteers said they were not at all likely to volunteer in the next several years.”

Optimize Your Volunteer Program. With volunteering being a labor-intensive process both from the perspective of the volunteer and the staff who recruit volunteers, getting a handle on ways to streamline processes could be an effective way to improve how the program works for everyone. “Current and former volunteers generally agreed that volunteers need a better sense of how their activities fit within the association’s big picture, that they need clearer guidelines around expectations for their volunteer work, and that they need more training and guidance to fulfill their roles,” the article stated.

Successful Volunteer Relationships Start With Creating the Right Fit. With volunteers representing as much as a quarter of the work hours that associations put in, ensuring that volunteers are well-matched to their skill sets is an effective way to make the most of them, notes this resource, citing insights from the ASAE Research Foundation. “Having enough volunteers was an issue for some associations, but finding volunteers who were well suited to their roles was a challenge for even more,” the piece stated.

What Makes Members Volunteer and Keeps Them Coming Back. This 2015 blog post highlights a pair of research studies around volunteer retention, a challenge many associations struggle with. The secret? Make a strong first impression. “Feeling a sense of satisfaction with and enjoyment of the first experience of [episodic volunteering] is critical; without this, volunteers are unlikely to return,” researcher Melissa Hyde, Ph.D., said of the research.

5 Ways to Keep Your Volunteer Pipeline Full. In this piece, Charlotte Muylaert, a former marketing leader for Billhighway, suggests that starting small and creating opportunities for deeper involvement will help build a stronger volunteer base over time—as will rewarding volunteers for their hard work. “While most volunteers continue to contribute because they want to make a difference, it is still important to recognize and reward them,” she wrote. “This makes them feel appreciated and provides greater visibility for your volunteer programs.”

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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