Giving Compass' Take:

• Meridian Swift, writing for VolunteerMatch, discusses how to structure volunteer recruitment in a way that promotes the idea that volunteers are advocates. 

• Why is structuring recruitment this way helpful for volunteer managers and organizations?

• Read the first part of this series in exploring how to hire volunteers.

A lot of well-intentioned people advise volunteer managers to treat “hiring” volunteers in the same manner staff is hired. It’s not that simple, and Part One of this two-part series explored why.

Now let’s say Organization X needs a volunteer to man the reception desk 20 hours per week. The volunteer manager will interview candidates but that’s where the similarities end. To fill that position, the volunteer manager must “hire” multiple part-time volunteers along with back-ups for the days volunteers are absent. A volunteer manager’s process is exponentially more complex and fluid and requires a much larger amount of human capital to fill a position involving fewer hours worked.

But we must find the best people for each volunteer role. This doesn’t mean we have to reject potential volunteers from our organizations. And it doesn’t mean all those recruitment hours should go to waste. Instead, we can first classify every potential volunteer as advocates by structuring our recruitment to lay out advocacy and expectations from the start.

Begin at the very beginning. Start by introducing service to your organization as, “We need more advocates for our mission.” Volunteering for our organizations, as we are told by volunteers, is a privilege. Set up the expectation that volunteers are elevated advocates. Make orientation and open houses about advocacy. Welcome the attendees and tell them what actions they can do to help. Give them an advocacy sheet outlining your mission, your work and verbiage to use when advocating. Equip them with pamphlets to pass out. Show them your interactive website.

Introduce volunteering and donating as forms of elevated advocacy or the next step. Explain that potential volunteers will go through an interview and background check process. Show examples of volunteer roles but stress required qualifications and skills.

Read the full article about making volunteers advocates by Meridian Swift at VolunteerMatch.