Today's post is part of my blog series of sharing chapter four of my book, A Day of Hope: Leading Volunteers to Make a Difference in Your Community. I hope you find reading the book over the next couple weeks to be enjoyable and beneficial to you as a leader.
Today's section is part two about recruiting volunteers. You can read part 1 of RECRUIT VOLUNTEERS here.
You can also utilize the many social networking tools out there to recruit volunteers.
You can utilize MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to recruit people. The only two that I’ve used are Facebook and Twitter. On Twitter I simply make a tweet saying, “We need volunteers to help feed families on Sun in Turlock. Msg me if you want to volunteer.” That’s all I do and sometimes I’ll get a response. On Facebook I’ll post a similar message as my status update and see if anyone wants to help. Sometimes I will create an event on Facebook for our A Day of Hope event inviting all my friends to attend.
Many local junior high schools, high schools, and colleges have specific clubs that focus on volunteering in the community. I still remember when I was able to connect with a junior high school teacher named Mr. Singh who brought almost 50 kids to help with A Day of Hope’s Charity Food Bag Drop event. I couldn’t believe it. It felt like a small army took over! Fraternities and sororities at colleges usually have community service requirements they have to fill each semester, so that can be a resource for you too.
I’m sure you’ve heard of local Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, and Lions Clubs. I haven’t had as much luck with recruiting volunteers from these groups (but they have been very generous financially). But that doesn’t mean you won’t or can’t; it’s just our experience. Some clubs can be quite large and have some great potential to help support your work. One Rotary Club here in Modesto, California has over 150 members. If you were able to make a good connection there and have them support your work with volunteers, you’d be able to feed a lot of people.
When you recruit volunteers, it’s important to gather certain information from them. Every time you recruit a volunteer, you want to collect four things:
- Mailing address
- E-mail address
Why would you need this info?
Because the best place to recruit volunteers for events in the future is to ask volunteers who have already helped in the past. It will save you time, energy, and money and allow you to do a great job of focusing on serving people. When you collect their name, mailing address, phone number, and email address, you are able to contact them with upcoming events.
In my cell phone I used to keep over 100 people in a list that I would send text messages to about upcoming events. In addition, every time we do an event that has volunteers I create a contact list in my email database for that event with the information from the volunteers who helped. When we prepare to do the event again a couple months later or get ready to do the same event again the next year, I simply contact those same volunteers. This will help you create a reservoir of volunteers you can draw from when you need them.
Recruiting volunteers is a critical element of A Day of Hope. If you work hard to contact people who can help and if you keep track of their information, you shouldn’t have any problems recruiting enough volunteers for your project.
Question: How do you recruit volunteers for projects you are leading?