Tips and tools for recruiting volunteers: Crafting your recruitment pitch

Making the ask for recruiting volunteers can be intimidating. Become familiar with things you can do to craft your message to be more successful in your approach.

There are many acceptable ways of generating a recruitment pitch. Choose a general recruitment strategy, either broad-based or targeted. No matter which method is used, it is important to include the motivational principles of the volunteer position, the desired qualifications, the proposed task, benefits and information regarding where a person can get more information. Additionally, where appropriate, a recruitment message should quickly address and identify fears and barriers potential volunteers may anticipate by using phrases such as “training will be provided” or “no experience necessary.”

Whether you are creating a brochure or flyer, providing a script for people to use in one-on-one or group recruitment, sending a news release to targeted media outlets or creating a broadcast public service announcement, the information you’ve generated should be the basis of your messages. You need to tell people what you need and why they should help meet that need. Most importantly, you need to communicate what you will offer them, should they choose to help the organization.

Each recruitment message should have the specific information necessary for a volunteer to make an informed decision to inquire about the position. Research says that most people are oriented towards one of three motivation styles when it comes to volunteering: achievement, affiliation and power. Achievers like tangible rewards that specifically mark accomplishments. Affiliators like to establish relationships and build connections. Power-motivated volunteers like to inspire people to join the cause and bring recognition to the program. It’s important to keep these motivations in mind as you craft your recruitment message because your audience will likely be comprised of people from all three motivations. You will want to make sure that each person feels that there is some kind of draw by highlighting what they’ll get out of the experience if they choose to volunteer with your program.

Many recruitment opportuntiies require a presentation of some sort. When crafting your pitch, ask your contact ahead of time for information regarding the audience, including who they are, what their experience is with volunteering and what their motivating factors are for volunteering. Also become familiar with the different aspects of the venue in which the activity will be in, including the context of the presentation, access to technology and how the room will be set up. Planning for these crucial elements while preparing for the recruitment activity will help envision the situation and imagine yourself being successful. A confident recruiter is more likely to inspire people to get involved than an anxious recruiter.

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