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How to recruit volunteers

This how-to gives you and your charity some practical ideas that you can easily employ to attract new volunteers and make sure they get off to a flying start.


What sort of volunteers do you need?

Think carefully about what kind of volunteers are needed. Where do you need them? What kind of skills and experience would be most beneficial?  Also think about how long you need volunteers for, and what kind of expenses you will want to pay. When the role description is ready, make it available from your website so you have somewhere to direct interested parties in the first instance. Be sure to ‘sell’ your charity – recruiting volunteers can be competitive business.


Recruiting the right people – Marketing

Once your role description is ready, the next step is to get your request out. There are many easy and free ways to do this. Ask people who are already connected to your charity in some way and see if they would like to volunteer e.g. staff, trustees, donors or even friends and family of employees. Using social media is also a great way to get the request for volunteers out. Other means such as advertising on your website or using corporate partners to recruit volunteers can also be very effective. If the previous methods are unavailable, then you might be better off advertising with a third party.

Whatever method you use to promote and market your opportunities, your local Volunteer Centre is a great source of support and will give you free access to the UK's largest online volunteering website, Find your local Volunteer Centre at 

If you are recruiting trustees or volunteers with specific professional skills, Reach Volunteering is a registered charity that connects people who want to give their time with charities that need them. 


Recruiting the right people – Selection

The responsibility of the role your volunteers will have shall depend on how harsh the selection process will be. In some cases a simple informal chat about the charity and work will be sufficient. In others, a formal interview and references will be needed. Working will children or vulnerable adults will also mean a method of safeguarding them will be needed. 


Getting your volunteers ready

It is important that the full potential of your volunteers should be used. They must be informed and motivated constantly for them to want to contribute towards your charity. Regardless of the role, each volunteer should have some type of induction – from a telephone call or training course, depending on the type of role. Take time to reinforce the message of the volunteers work and have some sort of written agreement which makes the volunteers duties very clear. Methods such as buddying up new volunteers with seasoned volunteers should include some additional support. 


Page last edited Apr 23, 2018 History

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