Targeted volunteer recruitment – Part 1: Why do it?

So often volunteer managers use a one-size-fits-all approach with recruitment. Learn how a tailored approach might be more productive at getting the right volunteers in place.

Experienced volunteer managers know that recruiting the right volunteer is important. There is a temptation to prioritize the quantity of volunteers over the quality or skills. Many of us have learned the hard way that volunteers who are not the right fit for the program take up a lot of time – time that could be used to recruit other volunteers and support programming. We certainly need to have enough volunteers to do the work we are charged with, otherwise we aren’t helping the youth we serve and the organization will eventually lose funding.

So how do we find a balance between quantity and quality? The answer, in part, is targeted recruitment. This is the first article in a series that will explore targeted volunteer recruitment and how you can use it to your advantage.

Targeted recruitment involves focusing your recruitment efforts to populations that are most likely to succeed in your program. This is different than the approach we often take: getting the word out to anyone and everyone. By targeting your message, you may get your message out to fewer people, but those who receive the message are more likely to consider the opportunity because they are likely to have the skills and other qualities needed for the position.

Targeted recruitment requires some serious thought and planning. Prior to engaging in targeted recruitment, you should think about the specific attributes of the volunteer position, what existing audiences might possess those characteristics, and who you know who could help you directly connect with that audience.

For instance, if you need a volunteer who is reliable, tech-savvy, and interested in working with youth, you might consider approaching your local young professionals or Jaycees group. If you’re looking for an individual who is willing to commit to service and looking for a long term commitment, you might connect with religious groups looking to put their faith into action.

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