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Energise your Volunteer Program – Recruitment

This article in our series on Energising your Volunteer Program focuses on recruitment, which is considered by many as the hardest component of a successful volunteer program.

Here’s our top tips, ideas and suggestions for a successful recruitment process:

Create a Volunteer Position Description

Before you start recruiting volunteers it’s a good idea to prepare a volunteer position description. A volunteer position description is a way of clarifying a volunteer’s role to ensure the volunteer’s understanding of the tasks and requirements match yours. It also allows the volunteer to consider if the tasks and requirements are what they are looking for in a volunteer role.

A position description should include:

  • A brief outline of the role.
  • Days and times of shifts.
  • Who the volunteer reports to.
  • Key responsibilities (It’s important not to give your volunteers the jobs no one else wants to do. You don’t want to discourage them before they start).
  • Skills, experience and qualities required for this role.
  • What the volunteer can expect to gain from the role.
  • Requirements of the role (what you expect from the volunteer).
  • Some information about the working environment.
  • Support and appraisal.

Don’t forget to take Statutory and Legislative requirements into consideration when preparing your Position Description.

Take a look at our  sample Position Description to help get you started.

How to find volunteers

Recruiting volunteers is essentially a marketing exercise. You need to “sell” your tuckshop to potential volunteers.

School communities are made up of people from many walks of life with differing motivations and needs. To target all of them successfully you’ll need to consider different recruitment strategies and messages.

When preparing your recruitment message outline the features, advantages and benefits of volunteering in your tuckshop.

  • Features are about what you’re offering. For example, flexible shifts and a supportive workplace where training is provided.
  • Advantages are about feelings; how will your volunteers feel when they see dozens of smiling faces when servicing students? We would hope they get a warm fuzzy feeling.
  • Benefits are about what people might be able to gain from working in your tuckshop.

Once your recruitment message has been prepared it’s time to get it out to as many people as possible through channels like:

  • The school newsletter is a great place to start.
  • Facebook – your tuckshop might already have a Facebook page. Other Facebook pages to consider are the school and parent body pages. And don’t forget most suburbs have a community page.
  • Orientation and information sessions for new families.
  • Weekly school assembly.
  • Posters outside the tuckshop and in the school’s reception area. And anywhere else parents and guardians frequent within the school.
  • Local coffee shops are often a socialising spot for parents.
  • Local businesses , like dance and sporting venues.

The possibilities are endless.

Take a look at our sample Volunteer Opportunities flyer to get you started.

Information and Contact Form

Now that your recruitment message has been a huge success, you’ll start to receive requests for more information from parents, grandparents and guardians. It is essential at this point to be able to deal promptly with any enquiries and requests you get.

It’s not always possible to stop and speak to potential volunteers when they pop into the tuckshop for a chat, so prepare an information flyer they can take away with them.

Here’s some useful information you can include:

  • The goals of your tuckshop.
  • The various jobs available for volunteers.
  • What orientation and training they will receive.
  • Your contact details.
  • Space for them to leave their name, contact number and the best time for you to contact them.

Take a look at our sample Volunteer Contact form as a starting point.

Volunteer Screening Process

Why do we need to interview our volunteers, I hear you ask? Interviews give you the opportunity to collect information and determine if the potential volunteer is suitable for the roles you have available. For the potential volunteer an interview gives them the opportunity to gather more information about the role and to decide if working in your tuckshop is the right fit for them.

Interviews don’t have to be formal, daunting or time consuming. They can be an informal chat over a cup of coffee. Remember that not everyone is suited for a role in the tuckshop and if there is a legitimate reason that you believe a person is not suited don’t be afraid to say no. There may be other areas in the school that they would be better suited to. Discuss this with them and assist them to contact the appropriate person.

In the meantime, good luck with your volunteer recruitment.

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