The key to recruiting volunteers

One motivated volunteer is worth 10 that aren’t.

People volunteer for personal reasons, not organizational reasons. — If you work in the nonprofit sector, you might want to read that again. — Successful recruiting efforts focus first on the motivations and talents of potential volunteers and then on organizational mission and vision.

First, talk to them about them, and then talk to them about you. Your goal is finding alignment between personal and organizational values, mission, and vision.

Begin by explaining what you give them not what they give you.

You provide opportunities to learn new skills, channels for giving back, and richness of life. You give them an opportunity to matter. If you don’t, close the doors because your organization doesn’t matter.

Before recruiting volunteers know the answer to this basic question. “Why do volunteers share their time, talent, and treasure with your organization?”

After you understanding potential volunteers, always lead with organizational mission and vision. Don’t focus on tasks, focus on vision. Don’t say, “I’d like you to man the front desk on Monday’s.” Do say, “I think you can help us change the lives of troubled teens in our community.”

If you can’t clearly articulate your mission and vision in compelling ways, you aren’t ready to recruit volunteers.

Compelling vision establishes your true North and fires passions to charge off in that direction.

Convincing people to perform tasks doesn’t create dedicated volunteers. Connecting values, mission and vision does.


How can nonprofits effectively recruit volunteers?