Recruitment of volunteers: communication channels

Recruitment of volunteers: communication channels

In the second part of the series It’s a match! Volunteer recruitment” in collaboration with Twin City Lab is about the communication channels in volunteer work. If you haven’t read or watched the first part of the series yet, you can find it here. You are also cordially invited to watch the video with the contents of this article!

Volunteering is like dating. There is a right person for you and you are the right person for someone. The difficult thing is when you can’t meet. There are many volunteers who don’t know what their options are, and others who aren’t even looking for opportunities. They don’t know that you could be good volunteers. It is important to differentiate and address both groups!

We have prepared an online course on the topic of recruiting volunteers in Kollaboration bit betterplace Academy. If you want to know more about it, you can find the course here!

Be where your target group is!

There are different communication channels that can be used. But it makes no sense to be in all channels! You should focus on the channel your target audience is on. Then you are stronger in fewer communication channels instead of weaker in many. But the question is: how to choose the right channel?

First you have to consider: how established is your organization? How big is your network? If your network is still small, then it’s better to find channels where you can reach more people with less effort. Facebook or similar social media channels might be good examples here.

Second, you have to ask yourself: who are you trying to address? Is it young or old people who should be your volunteers? There are different target groups in the different channels. For example, if you run an Instagram campaign, you would probably be more likely to reach younger people. If you’re looking for support at an agency, you’ll likely reach older volunteers. Therefore, your target group is the basis for the selection of your communication channels.

Third, you need to decide if you want to diversify your team. How do you want to form your team? Want more variety? If you try new channels, you’ll find people you wouldn’t reach with your regular channels. How to find new people If you always use the same channels, you will always reach the same people who are in the channels.

To better illustrate the channels of communication related to volunteer recruitment, I’ll introduce you to a few friends of mine.

Be where your target group is

Cedric the expert in organizing the event

Cedric is part of a medium-sized local organization, with a team of a few dedicated members. He is very good at networking and knows a lot of people but wants to expand his team. He then came up with the idea of doing a virtual cooking night for his team. All members must bring someone with them, whether friends, partners or family.

His cooking evening was a success! Everyone had a lot of fun cooking. Cedric took this opportunity to present the activities of his organization. At the end he also said that he needed more volunteers and that anyone interested can contact him. The roommates of one of the participants were immediately interested, they had a lot of fun and found his activities very classy. They liked the team and the atmosphere , they wanted to join and contacted Cedric the next day.

Cedric recruited new volunteers that easily! The people who felt addressed at the cooking evening already know the mission and the team. You feel connected and a part of the team. This makes it easier for them to start volunteering. You can therefore organize events where your contributors can bring people. These people can become new volunteers!

In this strategy you are looking for people in the same peer group that your volunteers are in. So you’ll likely find similar people without diversifying much. But if you want to diversify your team, you should look for another strategy.

Organize events

Clara uses its own communication channels

Clara is in an organization that is growing. You have a strong PR team, are active on social media and regularly send out a newsletter. They also have a website where you can find all the information about the organization. Her wish is to make the team younger. That’s why Clara decides to run a campaign on Instagram.

Every week she posts an introduction by a member of the organization. This shows that the team is diverse and approachable. They’re people like you and me who get involved. In this way, the potential volunteers can identify with the team and possibly decide to take part. People love to see other participants. That draws a lot of attention.

Here’s how Clara found new contributors for her organization! They know the mission of the organization and are interested in the topic because they already follow you on Instagram. Now they identify with your job and your team. She did this through her own, already established communication channels. This way you can reach more people!

Use your own communication channels

Janet contacts her external partners

Janet recently started an organization. She has no team and no network, only her friends. She needs motivated people who can support her. Janet heard from a friend about a local agency that supports young NGOs like hers. She sees an opportunity in it and decides to go there. There she gets help to develop her strategy for finding volunteers and assigning tasks. It is assigned to various contacts via a database. With the help of the agency, Janet found her volunteers!

There are also online platforms that accomplish the same task. There you will find thousands of volunteers looking for opportunities for themselves. If you are starting from 0, don’t have a networkand contacts yet, you can use this strategy. If you are looking for people in your community, you can contact local agencies. If you also want to offer remote options or are in larger cities, you should also look at online platforms. There are people who are looking for you and who are very motivated.

Having such agencies and online platforms by your side can be very beneficial as they can support you in all steps of the process. The online platforms allow you to quickly get in touch with volunteers and the local agencies know your community. If you have neither the communication channels nor the network, you should turn to external partners.

You also have to ask yourself whether you would rather find digitized people or not. If you use an online platform, you will mostly find younger people. In the local agency you will probably find people who do not use online platforms and are therefore less digitized.

Examples of such online platforms are Vostel or GoVolunteer in Germany, or the Good Deeds Platform from Russia. You can also find volunteers at VolunteerMatch.

Find external partners

Mika forms collaborations

Mika has an organization that helps young people start entrepreneurs. Therefore he needs specific skills for his workshops. He is looking for a lawyer or a team of lawyers for his next workshop. That’s why he contacts universities and law firms and presents the opportunities for volunteering.

When law students and ex-lawyers contacted him back, he explained how they could collaborate and why it would be a win-win situation. This would be advantageous for university students, for example, because they can gain practical experience. Through collaborations, Mika has found his specific volunteers! These special volunteers would be difficult to reach through the other communication channels. They probably wouldn’t even know that their skills are needed somewhere else.

This does n’t just apply to academic volunteers. Very often other skills are required, such as those of cooks, for example. When you know you need them, you go right where they are! Then you will find exactly the people who have the right skills and are motivated to share their knowledge. The tip here is to always make the win-win situation clear. This makes people more likely to collaborate. Collaborations are very important when you need very specific skills.

Make collaborations


Now you know four different volunteer recruitment strategies! To decide which one suits you best, you need to think about the following questions: How established are we? What possibilities do we have? Who are we looking for and where can we find them? How important is diversity to us?

Which of my friends do you identify with the most? Good luck with your recruitment!

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