Recruiting board members or volunteers can be a challenging but important part of your volunteer responsibilities. And, as we all know, great board members/volunteers are important to the lifeblood and success of any non-profit organization. If you’re up for the challenge but not sure where to start, here are a few tips on successful recruitment.
It’s never too early to recruit
You should always be recruiting, or at the very least, on the lookout for people you believe would complement the needs of your organization.
If you’re looking for volunteers for an event, you should start asking for volunteer commitments as soon as you have a specific date. Start with your close friends and colleagues before working your way outside your circle. Whenever possible, it’s better to ask them face-to-face. People are more inclined to say yes to your request when you take the time to talk to them in person. Be specific about what you want them to do and be enthusiastic about your cause. And, don’t hesitate to ask your volunteers to recruit more volunteers. Having too many people is much better than having too few.
Assign tasks people will be passionate about
Often people will not agree to join a board or volunteer for an event before they know what assignments they‘ll be asked to handle. You don’t have to have responsibilities set in stone, but you should at least have a good idea of what you’d like them to do. And you’ll be most successful recruiting candidates if your needs coincide with their strengths or passions.
Appropriately matching people with their skills and passions will ensure they have a good time and truly contribute to your organization’s success. A positive experience also is important to ensure they’ll want to help out in the future — and perhaps become ongoing supporters of your organizations.
Keep your board members/volunteers informed
Whether it’s the day of the event or an ongoing board commitment, it’s important that everyone has the information they need to do their job effectively. Remind them of what the goal is of the organization and event — and the importance of the work they’ll be doing. It’s also important they understand the time commitment required as well as the simple details of your organization or event — whether it’s reviewing things like emergency exits, locations of restrooms to expected financial and meeting commitments for board members. The details matter!
When possible, give them a tour and introduce them to other members of the team.
Show your appreciation!
Lastly, but very importantly, make sure you thank volunteers frequently and individually. It’s best to send hand written notes within a few days of the event. For board members be sure to show your appreciation on a regular and ongoing basis both in writing and personal connection.
It’s also important to ask for feedback; and respond appropriately.
Lastly, actively work to keep them engaged and involved with your organization. It will make future “asks” that much easier.