Tap into partner
organizationsí volunteers and/or membership lists.
volunteers for referrals.
volunteer agencies like the National Youth Service Affiliates Program,
the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Volunteer Talent
Bank, local Girl Scout or Boy Scout troops, church groups, and schools
including colleges and universities.
the yellow pages or professional directories to find people with
specialized training such as landscape architects, planners, transportation
engineers, park and recreation managers, and other natural and cultural
There are two
approaches to follow: one is to broadly recruit through signup sheets
at public meetings, festivals, and locations where there is a display
about the project. Broaden the effort even more widely by advertising
in newsletters, web sites, and newspapers and running public service
announcements on the radio or cable TV.
The second approach
is to define specific skills and talents that are needed for a particular
task and then search for the people who have those skills and talents.
is followed, be sure to answer the volunteer's unspoken question:
"Why should I volunteer for you?" Respond to this by including in
your recruitment materials the groupís vision, history or background
information, potential roles for volunteers, time commitments, and
how to get more information. The number one reason why people do
not volunteer is they are not asked.
will be ambassadors
for the organization or project, so they need to be familiar with
goals, philosophies, objectives, etc. Plan to share this information
through a formal orientation. It can range from a multi-day session
to a short meeting. Orientations give volunteers the opportunities
to get excited about the group or project, to meet other volunteers,
to get questions answered, and to address specific skill areas.
This is also a great time to show volunteers how much their contributions
Any task that
a volunteer is asked to perform should be integral to achieving
the goals of the project. Try to match up a personís skills with
available jobs. In the volunteer application form ask if there are
specific interests the person has or skills to share. Also try to
match the task with the amount of time the volunteer has available.
To clarify expectations,
provide volunteers with written job descriptions and any other appropriate
information such as deadlines, contact numbers, references, supplies,
etc. Review the job and answer questions. Be careful of assuming
everything is clear and okay.
seek new ways
of managing the volunteer program. The best way to do this is to
get feedback from the volunteers themselves. Get their suggestions
for changing procedures, altering job descriptions, improving communication,
acknowledging service, and avoiding burnout. If it seems only a
handful of people are doing all of the work, figure out why. Rotate
people among jobs so that multiple volunteers know how to do the
same task in order to avoid individuals from becoming too territorial,
to encourage continuous learning of new skills, and to get fresh
As part of the
management program, create volunteer records and reports that show
progress such as how many hours worked, tasks completed, people
reached, etc. Share these reports with administrators, volunteers,
and other stakeholders. Issue a press release when volunteers have
donated 100 hours or achieved an important objective.
Praise, and reward
volunteer and their contribution. This should be done publicly and
until the end to show your appreciation, especially if it is a multi-year
project. Send personal notes; write a reference letter and/or letter
to a boss or family; give printed shirts or hats; pass out awards;
offer full credits in printed, electronic, or film productions;
throw a party; issue certificates; or any other tribute that says
how much their efforts mean.