How Volunteer Recruitment Works

Know Before You Recruit

Volunteers attend the Teen Choice 2007 Beach Clean-Up in Santa Monica, Calif.
Volunteers attend the Teen Choice 2007 Beach Clean-Up in Santa Monica, Calif.
Michael Buckner/Staff/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Recruitment methods are merely tools. To properly use them, you have to know exactly what your volunteer needs are. This means clearly defining the goals, demands, risks and challenges of a given endeavor and defining the various volunteer roles required to carry it out. Again, organization separates armies from rabble and volunteer efforts from mere mobs of like-minded individuals.

Often, volunteer organizations will use several different recruitment efforts. For instance, a community clean-up volunteer group may collaborate with a local church to take advantage of ambient recruitment. Meanwhile, the organizers may turn to their friends for some key duties (concentric circle recruitment), target individuals with essential desirable skill sets and turn to warm-body recruitment for the rest of their volunteer needs.

According to the U.S. Corporation for National and Community Service, 26.2 percent of Americans aged 16 and older volunteered through organizations in 2007. This followed a 6 percent decline in total volunteers between 2005 and 2006. These statistics underline the regular fluctuations in volunteerism. Recruitment is vital not only to bring in new volunteers, but also to maintain the involvement of current volunteers.

Once established, a volunteering pool can prove a vital resource for future initiatives, especially if organizers maintain volunteer trust, interest and overall involvement through continued communication.

Explore the links below to learn even more about volunteerism.

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  • Rehnborg, Sarah Jane and Betsy Clubine. "Volunteer Recruitment: Tips from the Field." Charles A. Dana Center at U.T. Austin. (June 11, 2009)
  • McCurley, Steve. "Volunteer Recruitment Campaigns." CASAnet. 1995. (June 11, 2009)
  • "Volunteering 61 Million Strong; Need and Momentum Grow." Cooperation for National and Community Service. July 28, 2008. (June 11, 2009)