Tips to Recruit Volunteers

  • December 19, 2023

    Posted by: Corinne Napper

    Our Top Volunteer Recruitment Tips!

    At Volunteer Manitoba, we know that volunteer recruitment lies at the heart of your endeavours. If your focus is to expand your community of passionate individuals who share your vision and commitment to making a difference, we're excited to share some strategies that will not only attract fresh faces but will also ensure a fulfilling and impactful experience for each volunteer.

    Read on for some of our top Volunteer Recruitment Tips!

    1. Clearly define your volunteer role - ensure to include the skills required, the time commitment, location, hours, and any other details that are relevant to the role. This will help the applicant understand what is expected of them, and if they're able to meet the expectations. Download this guide for creating a good Volunteer Job Description.
    2. Have an engaging online presence - ensure your website is up to date and user friendly (most users are surfing from their phones these days - is your site mobile compatible?). Increase your social media presence!
    3. Develop a streamlined registration process - make it easy for individuals to express interest and sign up to volunteer with your organization! A simple and straightforward registration process, possibly through your website, ensures a positive first interaction.
      • Be sure to have a plan in place for when you receive an application: Craft a welcome email template with pertinent details that can be sent out easily. If the email address attached to the volunteer opportunity is not monitored regularly be sure to make that clear in your auto-reply, give them a time-frame as to what the wait might be. Consider adding another way for the applicant to contact you.
    4. Advertise!!! Get the word out there about your amazing organization! Whether this be through social media, email marketing or word of mouth, advertising is key to recruiting new volunteers.

    Volunteer Manitoba can help!

    3 Ways VM Can Help Recruit Volunteers:

    As a volunteer centre, we're here to support your volunteer recruitment efforts. We offer a number of options to get the word out:

    • 1. Post your position on our website! The Volunteer Opportunities section of our website allows you to recruit experienced and dedicated volunteers from across Manitoba. In the past year alone, this page had 40,017 visitors with over 205,034 views looking for their next volunteer role!
      Register your organization for free, and start posting today!
    • 2. We can post your volunteer opportunity in our weekly article with the Winnipeg Free Press, free of charge! Simply reach out to us with 3-5 sentences (written in the third person - they, their, them) describing your volunteer opportunity, including how the interested applicant can contact you, and the closing date.
    • 3. Tag us on social media! If you post your volunteer call-out (unpaid) on your social media, we will re-post in our stories. Be sure to tag us @volunteermanitoba or use the hash tags #volunteermanitoba, and #VolunteersNeededMB.

    Contact Corinne to find out more:

    Best Practices to Follow When Creating a Volunteer Opportunity Post

    Be sure to cover these points when creating a volunteer opportunity post on our website:

    • Provide organizational information. In the profile section, provide details about your organization. Including a website link and a description helps create buy-in and trust.
    • Why are you hosting this event? Provide the reason for hosting this event to give volunteers a clear purpose for donating their time to your cause.
    • Who will be at the event? Are children, older adults, newcomers, or the entire community expected? Which community specifically - all of Winnipeg, or just St. James? This also helps with buy-in and a better sense to what they are signing up for and how they can apply their skill set to your role.
    • What type of event is it? Some people need to see what kind of an event it is for them to envision them being there or how they can assist.
    • Shift length: Best practices suggest that shift lengths should be, ideally, 3 hours long, particularly if your event is not easily accessible by public transportation. Shorter shifts may deter volunteers from traveling longer distances and create more work for staff.


    Responding to Applicants: How to Determine Genuine Interest and Qualifications

    Ever had an apparently eager applicant respond to your volunteer opportunity post on Volunteer Manitoba's website, only to receive no response after you send them a carefully crafted email with all the details? Or, receive an application from someone with seemingly no relevant skills or experience, leaving you wondering if they even read the advertisement?

    We've got a tip for you!

    • When responding to potential volunteers, have a template email response ready that includes generic questions such as 'What interests you about our organization?' and 'What qualifications do you bring to the position?'

      If they answer those questions, you know they aren't just 'tire kickers' and ensure that they are truly invested in volunteering with your organization.

    Advice from Experienced Volunteers

    What do volunteers want? We got advice from volunteers with extensive volunteer experience:

    • Keep your volunteer shifts short and sweet. Sometimes, three hours is the sweet spot for how long someone's energy lasts. Also, people are busy, and that may be all the time they have to spare.
    • If you find that you've overbooked your event and don't need as many volunteers as you thought, please let them know as soon as possible - give them the option to stay home or take another time slot. Nothing is worse than expecting to volunteer but instead, just standing around.

    Be sure to ask YOUR volunteers what they want!

    The Importance of Selecting an Area When Creating Your Volunteer Opportunity

    When posting a volunteer opportunity, please make sure to include the location. This is important for two types of volunteers:

    The first type are those who may not have transportation and therefore search based on area. Applicants without vehicles are focused on how to get to the organization and are generally more open to the type of volunteering they do. With over 200 opportunities on our website, your listing could be overlooked if it doesn't have an area selected and you may miss out on potential volunteers.

    The second type of volunteer are those for whom transportation is not a barrier. These volunteers are not concerned with location and will be filtering by a particular organization, passion they are interested in or skill they are looking to enhance and will be sorting based on keywords. Including keywords like 'animals', 'theatre', or 'children' in your description will help them find your opportunity.

    Having the 'area' selected in your post will increase the chances that your opportunity will be found!

    How to find your location?

    Not sure where the location of your opportunity is in relation to the choices in the drop down menu on the website? As there are SO many subdivisions in Winnipeg and areas in Manitoba - we've used government designations to make it simpler.

    Important Note When Naming a Volunteer Opportunity Post:

    Please do not artificially adjust the name of your volunteer opportunity to push it to the top of the list - for example by adding the year or a number to your post titles. This can cause confusion to potential applicants and creates inconsistencies on the page. While we appreciate your efforts to ensure that your content is visible to our users, we feel that this practice is unfair and will cause clutter on the page if multiple organizations start doing the same thing - we can't have a whole page of '2024' listings!

    Ask Us to Feature Your Post!

    If you're within one or two weeks of your deadline, we offer the opportunity to be featured on our Volunteer Opportunities website page, which will give your opportunity greater visibility. Please note that VM reserves the right to have final say on what is featured and how often. Contact us if you're interested!

    Looking for more tools and resources to support your volunteer recruitment efforts?

    Visit the Resources section of Volunteer Manitoba's website, where you'll find Volunteer Screening Tools, Orientation and Training Resources, as well as a guide to support the Design and Position Description for your Volunteer Roles (including a bonus virtual volunteer tip sheet!)

    Check out our Capacity Building Resources!


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