How to Write Better Volunteer Recruitment Messaging
As a volunteer coordinator, chances are you didn’t get into your profession because you wanted to do marketing. And yet, as you scan your project and the volunteer needs your organization has, you find yourself recruiting, recruiting, recruiting.
We feel you. Volunteer recruitment can seem like a never-ending struggle. It’s one of those things that will always be a part of a volunteer coordinator’s role. But, with some basic marketing practice thrown it, volunteer recruitment doesn’t have to be all drudge – it can actually be fun!
This article will get you focused on assessing your message. There are two key components to writing great volunteer recruitment messages.
1. Focus on a single idea.
2. Answer what your volunteers need, not your organization.
Identify on One Big Idea for Each Volunteer Recruitment Ad
Start by identifying one big idea – your thesis – that will guide you as you write the copy for your recruitment ad. It should describe one compelling reason that joining your cause would make sense for volunteers and would solve a key issue in their community. Keep in mind, this is not the ad itself. It is the driving idea behind the ad.
Any [type of volunteer you seek] can [solve the community issue] by volunteering for your cause because [how it solves the issue].
“Anyone who cares about our neighborhood health can help keep it clean and green by volunteering for the West Town Greenway — we will show them how to educate kids on easy ways to reduce pollution.”
Leveraging Volunteer Motives in Volunteer Recruitment Messaging
Once you have your guiding thesis, you can start writing your volunteer recruitment message. Each message should address a volunteer motive that your organization can meet. Below are six well-researched motivations for volunteering and an associated volunteer “problem.”
As we’re working on recruiting volunteers, we aren’t usually thinking about the volunteers’ needs or “problems” they hope to solve. We’re more concerned with filling our open positions or the specific community issue.
Research has shown, however, that volunteering serves people’s specific functional needs. We humans are self-centered, but not necessarily selfish. We want our needs met (conscious or unconscious) and oftentimes those needs align with giving back to the community or helping others.
So, put yourself in the volunteer’s shoes when constructing your volunteer recruitment messages. Focus on only 1-2 motivations per campaign, and build your messaging around them. If possible, include volunteer quotes or testimonials that offer proof that the “problem” is “solved” or the need is met.
This approach allows your potential volunteers to know clearly and quickly who you need and for what purpose. From there, you can position your messaging to address their motivations.
Drawing upon the guiding thesis, your message could expand out like this:
“Are you concerned for your neighborhood health? Keep it clean and green by volunteering with West Town Greenway! We will show you how to educate kids on easy ways to reduce pollution. Serving with us will give you the opportunity to network with others who share interest in environmental health and explore leadership opportunities on our Weekend Green Teams.”
“Are you concerned for your neighborhood health? Keep it clean and green by volunteering with West Town Greenway! We will show you how to educate kids on easy ways to reduce pollution. No previous knowledge required. Just bring your interest in learning. Our trained experts will do the rest.”
Recruit the Right Volunteers for You
Thoughtful volunteer recruitment messaging isn’t going to automatically bring hundreds of volunteers knocking at your door. It is, however, going to connect you with the right volunteers for your mission.
Don’t waste your time or the volunteer’s time by sifting through applicants who, for whatever reason, aren’t right for your project or mission.
By focusing your volunteer recruitment messaging on a single idea and connecting it to potential volunteer needs, you stand out to those who are looking for a mission or project like yours. Others may pass, but they aren’t the applicants you want anyway.
At VolunteerPro, we know volunteer recruitment is one of your top challenges. So, we are committed to giving you practical ways you can improve your recruitment strategies so that you gain solid volunteers who stay committed to your work.
If this is a topic that challenges you and your organization, check out our other resources to help you design a recruitment system that keeps your organization full of high-quality volunteers: