Hinton Connects

Your non-profit resource team

For more information visit our webpage at

View All Posts

Apr 07

Things that Help People to Decide to Volunteer

Posted on April 7, 2017 at 2:59 PM by Josh Yaworski

volunteer-recruitment-2 (1)


The decision to volunteer for a non-profit organization is a big one. Many people are more mindful about how they give their time and what it will be used for. Therefore, it is proactive to think of how your organization will seek volunteer help and what message it will convey to the prospective volunteer.

A volunteer ought to be well-informed before they make their decision, especially if they are considering serving on a board of directors. They wonder, “what is the nature of the commitment?”. To facilitate their thought process, you could develop a recruitment package to portray your organization in a positive way.

Volunteers help to keep an organization alive and invigorated. They are critical to its longevity. Therefore, define what the organization truly needs. Drafting role descriptions for volunteers is an important part of recruiting. What does the volunteer role entail? Write it down. What core values exist within your organization? Recruit with these in mind. Prospective volunteers will appreciate this information.

Where will you look for new people? Some of the greatest untapped volunteers are right under our noses. Consider asking people who you already have a relationship with – some people call this “friend-raising”. It means that you might ask someone you know to accompany you during your volunteering excursion. You could expose them to something that they never experienced before! Other places to look could be outside of your personal sphere. Recruit within different demographics, such as: retirees, recent graduates, youth, professionals, newcomers to Canada, new to Hinton, stay-at-home parent, shift worker, person with a stake in your organization like a member or user.

Publicize your volunteer vacancies in multiple mediums. Perhaps, a newspaper advertisement, posting on your website, or sharing on the organization’s social media accounts are good options? Think about leaving flyers in doctor’s offices, coffee shops, or churches. How about a presentation to a service club or other public meeting? Is your organization listed in the local community directory?

There is no harm in asking, but how you ask someone matters. Rather than saying, “we need volunteers or this event won’t happen”! Rephrase and say, “would you like to join us during our event? You enjoy the outdoors and this volunteer role is to distribute water bottles to the participants. Your commitment would greatly help this event to go smoothly”. Then add, “Will you help?”, because a direct ask involves a level of assertiveness.

Screening and placement is another important consideration. Screen the volunteer to recognize if they are a good fit for the volunteer role. For example, determine the candidate’s suitability in terms of behavioural style, record of reliability, and cultural fit with the organization. If the role involves vulnerable populations, like senior citizens, youth, or persons with disabilities, then request a police information check and apply other screening measures that are relevant (see link below). Pursue the type of people who wish to have involved in your volunteer opportunities.
Before any recruiting happens, make sure your organization is ready for the volunteer influx. Be prepared for their involvement with written role descriptions that make them feel welcome. Good
orientation and training, clear communication methods, and a sincere thank you when they complete the task are also components of solid volunteer management.

In summary, a volunteer needs to be asked, know what to do, how to do it, agree to the task, be supported, and appreciated. Try to offer meaningful work, but there will always be mundane tasks that need doing. Be professional, yet fun is encouraged. If these tips are considered, you just may be able to influence a person’s decision to volunteer. Happy recruiting.

Volunteer Screening Best Practices
Canada's 150th Birthday Volunteer Challenge
National Volunteer Week (April 2017)
Volunteer Management Handbook