However there is no one magic solution or guaranteed answer but taking the time to plan will hugely increase your chances of a successful recruitment. This good practice guide will help you to form a plan.
A Checklist Before You Start Recruitment
- What are your volunteers going to do?
- How and who is going to deal with any enquiries about volunteers in your organisation?
- What information are you going to give potential volunteers? Consider what you need to tell them about your organisation
- What policies do you think volunteers need to know about before they apply?
- Do you have a budget for volunteer recruitment?
- Revisit your equal opportunities policy and seek to meet the same objectives as you would for the recruitment of staff.
- Have you considered the timing of your recruitment?
- Have you thought about how you will manage and evaluate demand?
It is possible to recruit all year round, however it is worth noting that there key times throughout the year when there are more volunteers looking for opportunities.
A very popular time, lots of people looking for a fresh start or making a positive change for the upcoming year.
In the first week of June, a very high profile time often when there are lots of news stories about volunteering, a good time to approach the media with some good news stories!
Although for some this is a time for holidays and taking care of the kids, there are many other types of people looking for volunteer opportunities, including students and people travelling through.
A word of caution on timing: remember to leave yourselves enough time to complete a selection process and in particular enough time to complete disclosure checks for your volunteers if you require your volunteers to begin around a certain date.
Where to Advertise
If you have recruited for volunteers before, it is a good idea to perhaps revisit what worked and what didn’t for example, how many interested volunteers did that advert in local newspaper produce?
Consider the following recruitment tools for your next strategy:
Use this website to advertise volunteer opportunities and you can also access numerous resources to guide and inform you.
Putting up posters/distributing flyers
Libraries, Doctor Surgeries, Public Buildings, Schools/colleges, Leisure Centres, Places of Worship, Arts Venues, Supermarkets, and Cafes.
Offer to do talks or presentations
This is a great method if you are looking to target a particular client group e.g. young people, business specialists, retired professionals.
Print media is normally quite costly but don't be afraid to haggle for a deal if you feel a particular printed medium would help you to target. Look into online/web based tools such as Facebook, Gumtree, Twitter, these are all free and if kept up to date, can be a great way to publicise vacancies for your organisation.
Community Events and Fairs
Keep an eye on events in your community, where you can hold a stall that will help publicise your organisation and meet potential volunteers.
Finally, one of the most common complaints we have from volunteers is when they have enquired about an opportunity and an organisation has not got back to them. First impressions often mean that if a volunteer has left a message (email, phone or letter) and they do not get a reply promptly, you will lose them. One of the best preparatory things you can do in a recruitment strategy is to ensure your organisation knows what to do with an enquiry:
- Use your website, upload your application pack for volunteers so that it can be downloaded by interested individuals
- Keep staff and volunteers informed – make sure that those who answer the phone and pick up the emails know what to do with a volunteer enquiry. Have some volunteer packs made up ready to send out.
- Situation filled/not suitable – if you receive enquiries and your opportunities are filled or the enquirer is not suitable for the position, let them know and signpost them to www.stocktonvolunteers.co.uk
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”
-H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Further Support Available
Stockton Volunteers is dedicated to supporting volunteer involved organisations in Stockton-on-Tees. Further support is available through our website, where you can:
- Download more Good Practice Guides
- Find out more about the Stockton Volunteers Good Practice Kite Mark
- Place volunteer advertisements
- Get information about our latest Stockton Volunteers Partnership Meeting
- Contact us for advice and support on your volunteering programmes
- Get advice on policies and procedures for volunteering.
The Stockton Volunteers Good Practice Kite Mark is awarded to organisations who demonstrate commitment to supporting and nurturing their volunteers.
Recognised across County Durham and Stockton-on-Tees, the Stockton Volunteers Good Practice Kite Mark follows the ethos of Volunteer England and National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
Other Good Practice Guides:
- Volunteer Expenses
- Writing Volunteer Agreements
- Involving Young Volunteers
- Supporting Volunteers
- Volunteer Induction
- Volunteer Task Description
- Volunteer Policy
- Volunteer Complaints
- Dealing with Difficult Behaviour
- Volunteer Health and Safety
For more information contact, Karen Grundy – Community Programme Manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org