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Essential Volunteer Recruitment Methods That Work

NGOs, corporations, universities, and other organizations may use different volunteer recruitment methods to initiate conversations with potential candidates for their social causes and events. Some are old-school, preferring printed media, posters, and fliers on bulletin boards, while others may count on technology to attract volunteers. Here are some of the main recruitment methods used today to let do-gooders know you need their help.

Printed Media for Volunteer Recruitment

Printed media is an ideal tool for volunteer recruitment. It may be an old-school method, but it can be highly effective when used right: an impactful design and a meaningful message will go a long way in recruiting volunteers.


  • Some local charities and organizations use posters strategically in waiting rooms or areas with good foot traffic.

  • Fliers are also effective when distributed in universities, schools, and other higher education institutions. Even fliers given in the street to passers-by can have a good impact.

  • Brochures can contain more information about your organization and the volunteering opportunity. Still, they are more expensive to print than fliers.

  • Ads in local newspapers probably reach many households. With the right message, they too can be successful volunteer recruitment tools.

If printed media is too costly, you can always count on technology to deliver your message.

Recruitment Emails and Newsletters

Recruitment emails and newsletters work best if you already have a subscriber or volunteer database. With emails, you can send instant, personalized messages in bulk. However, you must include all the necessary information about your organization and the volunteer opportunity to allow potentially interested parties to make an informed decision.


The message in newsletters and recruitment emails must be clear and concise. In addition to information, you must include appealing calls to action and links to the form where volunteers can apply for the opportunity or to the websites that offer all the information you could not fit in the email.

Volunteer Recruitment Websites

Emails may need links to volunteer recruitment websites like Idealist, Create the Good, Volunteer Match, tribu, and others that let you find volunteers worldwide. All you need is to create a volunteer opportunity and wait for applications.

Social Media as a Volunteer Recruitment Platform

You can do a lot with social media, from publishing posts on your organizational page to joining groups and advertising. Then, depending on your number of followers or the influencers you manage to reach, your messages can become viral, guaranteeing an impressive response from volunteers.


Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, are all excellent to post volunteering opportunities. However, Facebook gives you more tools to spread your message: personal profile, company pages, groups, and Facebook Ads for recruiting volunteers.


You could also check out Google Ad Grants, which give every qualifying nonprofit access to up to $10,000 per month in search ads shown on Google.com.

Volunteer Recruitment SMS

Instant text messages, also known as SMS, could be another effective volunteer recruitment method if you have access to a database of phone numbers.


You can use peer-to-peer SMS or a mass text messaging service that integrates with your CRMs to send messages to a larger group of people at once. And you may find SMSing a more effective method than others if you consider the statistics:


  • Compared to emails, SMSes have a 98% open rate.

  • Nine in ten people open their SMSes, according to Mobile Monkey.

  • Per Simple Texting, more than 60% of people read their SMSes within five minutes.

  • Statista predicts 7 billion mobile users in the world by 2024.

  • Last but not least, 88% of people use their phones primarily for texting, according to Slick Text.


These statistics should encourage nonprofits and other organizations to consider texting as a volunteer recruitment method. And many mass messaging tools serve the purpose: Twilio, CallHub, and RapidSMS are just some of them.


Whatever volunteer recruitment method you choose, always remember to use a clear message and all the information your targeted audiences need to apply for your volunteering opportunity.


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