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How to create a volunteer role description that brings in more applications

We all know that volunteers are essential to the day-to-day running of not-for-profit organisations. But, despite how much they are valued, it can be difficult to generate interest in volunteer roles and get candidates excited about offering their expertise, experience and time.

The role description is your chance to capture their attention, so here are a few tweaks that you can make so that candidates will be keener to get in touch. 


Make them feel valued

Everyone in your organisation wants to feel like they are contributing and making a difference. In this respect, volunteers are no different to paid staff. They want to know that they are as valued as any other member of the team. If someone is offering their time and talent for no remuneration, they deserve to feel appreciated. So it’s clear that all volunteers, no matter how much time they spend within the organisation, are held in high esteem.

Tip: Make sure that all volunteers feel included and part of the culture. Invite them to the next team outing and give them a warm welcome. You should also reply to all applicants (including those who aren’t selected). A reply can go a very long way and will allow you to maintain a good long term relationship with all candidates. 


Give them responsibility

Your volunteers are hugely capable, and more than willing, of going above and beyond their role description. They don’t just want to be offered the small mundane tasks that keep the organisation ticking (not that these aren’t important). Create a set of tasks that they can take ownership of and give them the opportunity to truly put their abilities to the test. Use the role description as a chance to emphasise just how much they will be involved in the project and that their work is vital to making it a success.

Tip: It’s a well-known fact that what gets measured gets done. So, while outlining the tasks that volunteers will be responsible for, let them know how this will contribute to overall objectives and set targets that they can aim for. Give the volunteer team their own KPIs so that results can be measured – and think about how they can be rewarded for hitting targets.


Change the tone

A lot of role descriptions are written in a very passive and mundane tone of voice that isn’t at all in line with the organisation’s. If you start off by speaking to candidates in a dull and flat tone then you will find it difficult to hold their attention long enough for them to complete the application. Make sure, from beginning to end, that your tone is full of personality and reflects the energy of the people within your organization.

Tip: Get your current volunteers involved in the recruitment process by adding their testimonials to your website and role description. Potential candidates will want to know what it means to be a volunteer and hear from people who are already a part of your organisation.  


Share your mission and vision

If candidates are going to volunteer in their free time, it will be with organisations that strike a chord with them personally. Sharing your mission and vision statement will allow you to connect with, and draw the right volunteers in. These individuals may want to contribute to your organisation more often than average – and who knows, they may even want to try and make their role a permanent one.

Tip: If you can, create a visual space on your website with images and videos explaining exactly what it is that volunteers will get up to. Add a link to this in your role description so that candidates can get a better insight into your organisation.

It is possible to find incredibly talented volunteers but, to do so, you have to clearly explain why your organisation differs from the rest and what they can gain from working with you. Consider the role description as an opportunity to have a lasting impression on potential candidates – so make it count.


Page last edited Apr 03, 2018 History

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