Service projects and recruiting volunteers

Have you thought about using service projects for volunteer recruitment?

Many youth programs like 4-H, mentoring, and sports programs are dependent on volunteers to serve as volunteer leaders, mentors coaches and a variety of other roles. Having caring adults serving as volunteers to work with youth is a great treasure. However, just like searching for real treasures (gold, diamonds, rubies, etc.), this task can sometimes be difficult. Staff work to recruit volunteers using a variety of techniques. Many will put together a recruitment plan that could include establishing a recruitment pitch, creating visual aids or presentations, and obtaining giveaways for events. Some organizations get very creative when it comes to recruiting volunteers.

If you are looking for a new volunteer recruitment activity, Michigan State University Extension encourages you to consider organizing a service project. Choosing an activity that could lend itself to a broad-based recruitment effort can help you attract volunteers for the project and your program. Activities for broad-based recruiting don’t require any specific qualifications or characteristics and they can be done as a one-time event. An example of this is a clean-up at a park or community lot, or painting at a local community center. Volunteers in your organization can assist with recruitment by inviting family members, friends and associates who they feel would make a good volunteer to be part of the service project.

During the service activity, it is important to publicize your organization to make a good impression to potential volunteers. Wearing t-shirts, having brochures and other types of visual aids for marketing would be important to help remind the participants that your organization is facilitating the project. Also helpful would be to have information available on how people can volunteer in your programs. To assist in the recruitment efforts for the service activity, find ways to recognize the potential volunteers through different types of volunteer motivation. For example, have some certificates available for people who are identified as achievers, create a networking opportunity sometime before, after or during the service project for people who are affiliates, and invite a potential volunteer to serve on an advisory board or be an advocate to assist your organization.

Along with serving as a recruitment tool, creating a service opportunity can benefit your organization by reflecting the positive contributions to the community and assisting in the growth and development for the volunteers and youth participants in your program. Make sure to work with your volunteers and youth participants to help implement the activity. 

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