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How to recruit new volunteers as a nonprofit

Ready to recruit more volunteers for your growing nonprofit org? Check out our 6 simple tips to scale your supporter base with ease.

Spend a few hours in your volunteers’ shoes

Put a few hours on your calendar to identify your audience and dive into their mindset. Are you trying to attract college-aged students for one-off opportunities? Or retired adults with a lot of time to give? Once you’ve settled on basic demographics, determine how they discover volunteer opportunities.

Get your organization’s name in as many of those places as possible. Contact local universities and have your organization included in their community service page. Add your opportunities to VolunteerMatch. Create an Idealist page. Check for local volunteer fairs in your area where you can set up a booth or websites that aggregate lists of local nonprofits.

Nonprofits on Mobilize are included in the events feed, a go-to source for volunteer opportunities nationwide, and are able to cross promote other organizations they’re aligned with. These features make it easy for prospective supporters to sign up for volunteer opportunities with your organization.

Run informational or community events

Consider running a few events per year that simply educate or create community, with no direct asks for donations or volunteer hours. This could be a documentary screening or a panel interviewing people who have benefited from your services.

Long term, these events have the potential to create lasting buy-in from community members, making them more likely to volunteer and spread the word to friends. Try calling around to local breweries and cafes to see if they’d be willing to host; many are even willing to offer discounts on their food and drinks to nonprofits. 

Make volunteer recruitment a board commitment

Your board members have the potential to be the best advocates of your organization’s work. Create opportunities to involve them in volunteer recruitment, either by asking them to represent you at volunteer fairs, to recruit a certain amount of volunteers each year, or to host an event focused on volunteer recruitment. 

Get out of your comfort zone

If you’re struggling to recruit volunteers, it’s time to try something new! Maybe this means revamping your social media content to reach new volunteers or pitching your story to local media for a press piece. Maybe it’s offering pizza at volunteer trainings to create more excitement or adding more humor to your volunteer emails. If you take risks and create a unique volunteer experience, people will notice and feel more connected to your work. 

Empower volunteers to recruit for you

Enable your all-star volunteers to host events on your behalf, introducing their networks to your organization’s work. Mobilize’s distributed organizing feature lets you do this with customizable event campaigns, streamlined communication, and straightforward approval processes.

Make it easy for your volunteers to invite their friends. Perhaps you provide them with suggested copy and imagery to share a campaign on social media. Or you enable them to host online fundraisers and invite their personal networks. Organizations on Mobilize benefit from 38% more volunteers through the Mobilize network. The platform makes it easy for volunteers to sign up, show up, bring their friends, and come back.

Think through your toolset

What tools are you currently using to recruit and manage your volunteers, and is the process as seamless as it could be? Are you collecting the right volunteer data to streamline the process in the future? When setting your nonprofit’s budget, talk through the different ways your team could save time and money with an investment in more efficient tools. Mobilize can help you scale an impactful volunteer organizing program with your specific needs in mind. Let’s talk!  

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