Youth Volunteer Recruiting Program
Recruiting volunteers is definitely a year-round activity, but August, September and October are the best months as high school and university students and others who are considering new volunteer opportunities usually do so in the fall, after summer holidays.
For these reasons, and because we are lucky to have International Literacy Day to celebrate on September 8th - it's important to take advantage of the day to promote your organization and to tie-in volunteer recruiting with your activities.
A relatively low cost and simple way to recruit volunteers is to set up a display in a prominent location in your community. This could be at an outdoor event such as a powwow or a community BBQ, or indoors at a shopping mall, bookstore, library or community centre.
Make sure you have friendly, knowledgeable people at your display. Also make sure that your display prominently features the name of your group and its services, and that you have a good supply of program brochures, volunteer job descriptions and volunteer application forms handy for passers-by.
Even if there aren't a great many youth at the event, you may reach them indirectly by talking to their parents, teachers, counselors, or employers!
Another approach is to host an Open House on September 8th, and send letters of invitation to high school teachers, youth group leaders, your local HRDC office and so on.
Posters announcing your Open House (and your volunteer opportunities) could also be designed and distributed a few weeks before, so that those who are looking for volunteer opportunities can make a note to drop by for some information.
Recruiting Volunteers for Special Events
Successful recruiting for special events volunteers takes time, careful planning, resourcefulness and strong organizational skills.
1. Give yourself time! The longer lead time you have to recruit volunteers the better. In fact, a minimum of one month's lead time is highly recommended. This will allow you time to determine how many volunteers you need, develop or adapt the necessary job descriptions, develop a poster, letter or notice and have it sent to your most appropriate community contacts, and time to interview and screen those who apply.
2. Make lists! If possible, develop a list of volunteers who are specifically interested in short-term special events volunteer opportunities. Organize this list in terms of their availability (such as Wednesday evenings or weekends only), or by previous volunteer positions they have enjoyed. (You should have this information from their special event volunteer evaluation forms.) By organizing volunteers in different categories (such as child care providers, face painters, fund raisers or Bingo helpers) you can contact these people as soon as you have a date for the event, and quickly determine how many of them can work at your event.
3. Don't be afraid to ask! Spread the word to everyone you know tutors, learners, community partners, schools etc. As volunteers (new and old) to recruit a few friends or family members to volunteer with them at your next special event. Most people who have connections with your program are happy to help out for a few hours, given enough notice.
4. Be organized and have fun! Make sure your event is well-organized and that volunteers are treated well this will almost guarantee that they will be back to help you at your next special event.