Thursday, January 9, 2020
Whether you need to fill vacant positions or are creating new committees in the new year, these tips will help you recruit and retain volunteers all year through.
Be Prepared: When asking for volunteers, the board should be prepared to provide a description of the opportunities available, the number of people you are looking for, and an estimated time commitment. If you need volunteers for an existing committee, there are likely already Committee Guidelines in place. If this will be a new committee or an ad-hoc committee, it’s a good idea to create the Guidelines or at least an outline that you can share with the potential candidates.
Be Personable: If you have a specific person in mind, knock on their door and ask them directly. Tell them what you are looking for and why you think they would be a good fit.
If you don’t have anyone in mind, extending an invitation at a meeting or community event may get better results than a mass mailout or an article in the newsletter.
Since you may not get an immediate answer, it’s helpful to have a simple handout about the role, as well as who to contact for more information or to get started.
Be Available: No matter who you recruit, they’re bound to have questions. Let them know who they should contact – a board liaison, the community manager – and make sure that person is available to answer their questions and coach them to success.
Be Respectful: If you ask volunteers to attend a board meeting, be respectful of their time and don’t leave them waiting around until the end. Bring them in, start on time, let them give their update or answer the board’s questions, and excuse them to leave.
Be Thankful: Don’t perpetuate the old adage of volunteering being a thankless job. Thank people personally. Have all board members sign a thank you note and mail it to their house. Add money to the budget next year for small, meaningful thank you gifts or for a volunteer appreciation dinner. Recognize them at the annual meeting and in the newsletter. Give the volunteers the praise they deserve for contributing to the community.
“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” -Author unknown