Recruiting Volunteers Now that your volunteer role description is ready and signed off, it’s time to advertise the opportunity. Alongside using CAN’s volunteer hub, you could use any or all of the following: Your website and social media channels Internal newsletters (perhaps one of your staff or volunteers knows someone who might be interested) Local bulletin boards and forums (online and print) – doctor surgeries, libraries, job centres, places of worship etc. Local residents’ forums Local community organisations: gardening clubs, libraries, social clubs, Scouts and Guides, organisations working with people with learning difficulties Job centres Schools Universities, Colleges and youth clubs Local news sites and radio stations e.g., Hot Radio, Hope FM and BBC Radio Solent Community Events and Fairs Word of mouth - get your team and service users to spread the word. Follow up Great news: you’ve received some interest in the role. Now act quickly. Don’t wait until next week or the week after! First impressions often mean that if a potential volunteer has left a message (email, phone, or letter) and they do not get a reply promptly, you will lose them. So, respond quickly, answer any questions they have raised in full and offer to speak over the phone to clarify any details about the role. Speaking over the phone or meeting in person will help you build a much stronger initial relationship than is possible over email. Use your website - upload your application pack for volunteers so that it can be downloaded by interested individuals Keep staff and volunteers informed about any recruitment campaigns - make sure that those who answer the phone and pick up the emails know what to do with a volunteer enquiry. Have some volunteer packs made up ready to send out Keep clear records and follow up initial enquiries - get into the habit of chasing up those interested parties that have requested information. They might just need a little nudge. If you receive enquiries and the enquirer is not suitable for the position, let them know straight away, along with the reasons why and signpost them to the Enable team at CAN Ensure you are only advertising current roles. This helps to manage volunteer expectations and prevents awkward conversations when they realise a role they were interested in no longer exists Top tips Allow volunteers to try the role out before they commit. Promoting taster sessions for volunteering roles can be more appealing for people who like to ‘try before they buy’. This can alleviate any fears people have about the role and making a longer-term commitment. Open yourself up to offers! You may be surprised what talents and experience people may bring and offer to do for you that don’t fit into a role but would be useful for your organisation. Make sure potential volunteers know you’re open to offers. Try and be as flexible as possible. Some people like to suggest what they could do but others like to see clearly what is on offer and what you are asking from them. For example, promoting specific tasks, skills required and time commitment up front. Providing a wide range of ways people can volunteer can increase your chances of attracting a wide range of volunteers. Can support from volunteers be given online? At one of events? Over the telephone? Short term? Can you accommodate teams or group opportunities? Make sure you promote this as these are often in demand and difficult to find. Promoting the opportunity to volunteer with friends and family can also attract people. Make sure your volunteering roles are interesting enough. Would you do them? If they are not motivating to you then they are unlikely to motivate others. You could mix up some of the less interesting tasks with others to make the roles more enjoyable. Promote the difference volunteers make. People are more likely to be motivated if they can see the impact they could make through volunteering. This could be for example reducing loneliness for older people or improving people’s quality of life. Promote the positive impact volunteering can have on volunteers! Share the great benefits such as making friends, increased confidence, learning new skills. What can volunteers expect from you? If you offer training or other opportunities promote these too. Can you offer micro-volunteering opportunities consisting of bite-size volunteering actions that are quick to start and complete and do not require long term commitment? Don’t forget to also regularly ask existing volunteers for what additional skills they would like to share, as sometimes people with the requisite skills and experience are right under your nose! Can you offer volunteering experiences that provide educational experiences for children and the chance to do something different together as a family. This provided an excellent opportunity for organisations to connect with entirely new audiences and enables children to develop an interest in volunteering from a young age and for it to become a lifetime habit. Remember, first contact is your first impression. Make sure it leaves the volunteer feeling welcomed and enthusiastic about your organisation.