Some quick tips from research and experience:


VolTipTalk Use mild “loss aversion” marketing to keep recruitment from seeming like volunteer opportunities will be there forever, so why bother. see Volunteer or You’ll Lose Everything

VolTipTalk Leave volunteering information at local physicians’ offices.

#VolTipTalk host volunteering sessions for home schooled children and parents. Contact local home school associations

#VolTipTalk leave info at travel agencies who book voluntourism trips. That feeling of wanting to help might just carry over when the trip takers get back

#VolTipTalk org a positive protest create signs promoting volunteering and pick a street corner-good for small groups of episodic vols

#VolTipTalk set the tone in reply emails-phrases like welcome to an experience you’ll cherish, you’re about to begin a journ like no other

#VolTipTalk Save compliments about vols, use as recruitment testimonials, keep in book for vols to read, share at meetings, trainings etc.

#VolTipTalk recruit by cross referencing-pets work with seniors, retirees work with children etc to appeal to new audiences of prosp vols

#VolTipTalk reach more prospective vols by a presentation on volunteering in general, partner with other non profits

#VolTipTalk recruiting? Advertise perks of volunteering-our vols enjoy monthly yoga classes, quarterly relevant education, networking, etc

#VolTipTalk recruiting students to vol? Sponsor an essay contest about your mission, involve media.

#VolTipTalk Hold regular brainstorming sessions with vols to recruit new vols keep their interest up in helping find new vols

#VolTipTalk create vol recruit ads from current popular books, movies-Ex: Eat, Pray, Vol or Transformers: Age of Volunteers

#VolTipTalk send thank you letter to potential vol after meeting/interview. Outline various jobs, use testimonials to engage

#VolTipTalk Experiment and create 3 ads for 1 vol job make 1 about actual task 2 about how it helps the client 3 about the benefit for vol see which one works

#VolTipTalk create template of recommendation letter for vol. Advertise “this can be yours” to students, folks looking for job exp.

#VolTipTalk Host “bring a buddy” open houses where your vols recruit a friend. They know who will make a great vol and can motivate too!

#VolTipTalk Get staff involved in recruiting vols. Offer prize at end of year for most vols recruited, referred, for certain positions etc.

#VolTipTalk send thank you notes to vols’ family for sharing volunteer with you. Might just recruit them too!

Corporate and Episodic Volunteering:

VolTipTalk: Learn some facts about the group: see Hey Corporate Volunteers, Where Are You From Again?

VolTipTalk: Send a follow-up survey to hone future projects: see  Hey Corporate Volunteers, Where Are You From Again?

VolTipTalk: Thank the group for any input: see  Hey Corporate Volunteers, Where Are You From Again?

VolTipTalk: Create a plan before accepting groups: see Hey Corporate Volunteers How Great is Weeding?

VolTipTalk: Create an application process to manage and discover: see Hey Corporate Volunteers How Great is Weeding?

VolTipTalk: Develop a narrative for each project-include testimonials, pictures, storytelling to reinforce the impact on clients and organization. see Hey Corporate Volunteers How Great is Weeding?

#VolTipTalk offer to host an onsite corporate vol event-limit it to only as many vols as you can handle at a time. Ask mrktng to help

#VolTipTalk advertise event as a team building experience

#VolTipTalk prepare thank you letter to CEO

#VolTipTalk it’s the little things, give packet of welcome info on parking, food, what to bring etc.

Volunteer Fresh:  see Volunteer Fresh

VolTipTalk create a monthly “sit down” between volunteers and community engagement staff for feedback potential

VolTipTalk engage volunteers in word of mouth marketing 

Explaining Volunteer Management:

VolTipTalk Redefine volunteer manager as volunteer account manager by showcasing responsibilities and necessary skill sets see key volunteer account manager

VolTipTalk Redefine volunteer management in terms of volunteer account management by using terms such as: volunteer centric, volunteer benchmarking, volunteer expectations see Captains of Our Destiny: Captain Obvious 2

VolTipTalk Replace phrases such as “spent time with” or “chatted with” volunteers. Instead use phrases such as volunteer engagement, targeted recruitment, role defining, corrective action, gathering feedback etc. Professional terms define the work. see Not So Fast Captain Obvious

Onboarding Volunteers:

VolTipTalk Balance Induction and Orientation to obtain maximum results see Induction Vs Orientation

VolTipTalk Flip the one year commitment agreement and have staff sign it instead of volunteers see Induction vs Orientation The One Year Volunteer Commitment


#VolTipTalk Elevate vol job status in eyes of vols and org by professional treat – job descrps, attire requirem, skills needed etc.

#VolTipTalk Save compliments about vols, use as recruitment testimonials, keep in book for vols to read, share at meetings, trainings etc.

#VolTipTalk Beyond vol weeks-create your own vol day at your org so that your vols know they are appreciated all year

#VolTipTalk Hold regular brainstorming sessions with vols to rework job descriptions, tasks etc.

#VolTipTalk Conduct informal “stay” interview to keep vols from leaving-ask what might cause you to leave

#VolTipTalk Create welcome committee of vols to welcome new vols at trainings, open houses etc

#VolTipTalk start an inspire newsletter-share articles that inspire you with vols and tell them how they inspire you too.

#VolTipTalk Reporting on Vols? Use strong words like enhance, enrich, strengthen, develop, amplify, boost, magnify, betterment, growth

#VolTipTalk Create checklist for new vols-use calendar reminders to follow up on obtaining paperwork, background check etc.

#VolTipTalk create chart for prosp vols with followup schedule-phone at 1 week, letter at 1 month etc. see patterns of success

#VolTipTalk Keep stories you hear of amazing volunteer work. Keep journal, notes – refer back often and read for your own inspiration

#VolTipTalk Tired of Vol of the Year Awards that single out just one? Give month or week awards-cute, serious, let vols give you award too!

#VolTipTalk in addition to yearly vol perform eval, conduct engagement eval-their perf and org’s perf in engaging them-promote team

#VolTipTalk conduct survey with clients on vols- record positive statements as testimonials- use in reports, recruiting etc

#VolTipTalk Create book of vols-photos, quotes on volunteering-display where staff and esp clients can see all the support

#VolTipTalk Learn 1 fact about each vol -kid’s names, fav hobby- write down and refer to -makes it easy to build on to know vols better

#VolTipTalk create student led projects such as own fundraiser or survey their peers- its a great skill on resume for college

#VolTipTalk Mini education for vols-create distribution lists and email educational articles; encourage them to find more and share.

#VolTipTalk Too many volunteers with creative ideas? Create a volunteer think tank for those volunteers with improvement ideas. Task them to pick one idea and create a pilot program. Give them ownership.

Staff and Volunteer Relations:

#VolTipTalk create a spa day for vols to host, giving staff some pampering and appreciation, hopefully create more appreciation for vols

#VolTipTalk Create survey for staff: How do you view vol services? Make it funny, serious, but look for ways to correct misconceptions.

#VolTipTalk Staff stops u in hall with vol request? Always email a synopsis of your understanding of discussion. Avoid miscommunication.

#VolTipTalk Create awards for staff who excel at engaging and recognizing volunteers. Give award at annual volunteer event.

#VolTipTalk Keep birthday cards for volunteers on hand. Bring the cards to staff meetings and pass around to get staff signatures. Nice recognition on volunteer’s birthday.

#VolTipTalk Gather staff testimonials on volunteers. Share with the volunteers via email blast, newsletter, etc.


VolTipTalk Chart hours spent one on one with volunteers against volunteer output. Show how many hours of your time equals hundreds of hours from each volunteer. see Not So Fast Captain Obvious

#VolTipTalk Creating categories of volunteers explains numbers available vs. one broad number. Categories can include active, temporarily out, episodic, event only, emeritus, etc.

#VolTipTalk Create a centralized location to post volunteer stats such as how many vols are currently active, inactive, temporarily on leave, etc.


#VolTipTalk send a letter to a new vols’ former vol manager letting them know how much the vol appreciates all the guidance and thanking them for helping shape vol

#VolTipTalk create a library of publications you endorse to lend to your volunteers – ask them to help make the library grow

#VolTipTalk create a mantra/goals board-keep in plain sight for vols, staff, clients and administration. Show what YOU work to accomplish

#VolTipTalk want a kitschy fun way to talk about a vol at a meeting? Print out vols’ pic and attach to a craft stick-hold up so folks can see him or her

#VolTipTalk send holiday cards to former volunteers and thank them for their service-it just feels right

#VolTipTalk want to involve school kids? Host poster contest about your org. Give trophy and enlist media. Recruit parent/child vols.

#VolTipTalk need to speak at civic groups? Bring vols who sing, play music etc to break ice & keep talk from being too dry

#VolTipTalk Make vol name badges special by adding icons to indicate level of expertise-mentor, ambassador etc. Visually helpful too

#VolTipTalk Long time vol has to retire? Invite them to help orient new vols, give in-services, write manuals, handbooks. Call them sages.

#VolTipTalk We walk fine line when vols step up into a leadership role. Do not relinquish control-encourage but have final say.

#VolTipTalk At events, spend time with each volunteer and do informal survey on event success, etc. Report findings back to event mgr

Skilled or Pro Bono Volunteers:

#VolTipTalk when a request for a skilled volunteer comes in, ask what policy exists for this volunteer’s license (if they posses one) and if that license is on the line for any potential mishap. see

#VolTipTalk Lucky to have a skilled volunteer but don’t like the term skilled? Try pro bono or volunteer consultant instead. Both terms imply episodic and elevated involvement.

Volunteer Manager Development:

VolTipTalk: Host a peer group meeting of volunteer managers in your area. Brainstorm challenges you face.