10 Creative Ways for Nonprofits to Recruit Volunteers


The need for volunteer recruitment at nonprofits is ongoing because it is impossible to retain 100% of volunteers. Some will always move away, have life changes, or simply lose interest. The ebb and flow of volunteers is natural, but that doesn’t mean nonprofits should give up on recruitment. In fact, many nonprofits struggle to find volunteers because they aren’t being creative enough in their recruitment efforts. 

Here are ten creative ways that nonprofits can start recruiting volunteers:

1. Create a Volunteer Position Wish List

One way to be more creative in your volunteer recruitment is to develop a wish list of sorts for the types of positions you’d like to fill. This helps you get specific about the skills and traits you are looking for in volunteers. When you share this list with potential recruits, they can get a better sense of whether or not they would be a good fit for your organization. You can also use this list to target your volunteer recruitment efforts; for example, if you’re looking for someone with specific social media skills, you could target your social media channels or run ads targeting people with those skills.

2. Get Personalized Volunteer Recommendations from others in your Network  

 If you know someone who might be interested in volunteering with your nonprofit, ask them for personalized recommendations of other people in their network who might be a good fit. This is an effective way to get targeted recommendations and it doesn’t require much effort on your part. Simply reach out to people in your network and ask if they know anyone who would be interested in volunteering with your nonprofit. When you get recommendations, reach out to those individuals directly and invite them to apply or come to an upcoming event. 

3. Develop an Online Volunteer Portal 

Another way to be more creative in your volunteer recruitment is to develop an online volunteer portal where potential volunteers can learn more about opportunities at your nonprofit and apply for positions online. This makes it easy for potential volunteers to learn about opportunities and express their interest in specific roles. Plus, it can help you keep track of all your volunteer applications in one place. To get started, create a simple website or landing page where you can list available volunteer positions and provide information about how to apply.

4. Create a Volunteer Recruitment Video 

A great way to engage potential volunteers is to create a recruitment video that gives an inside look at your nonprofit and the different ways that volunteers can get involved. This video should be high-quality and professional, but it doesn’t need to be overdone or too polished. The goal is to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at your nonprofit so they can see the positive impact you’re having and the difference that volunteers make. Once you’ve created your video, share it on your website, social media channels, and with people in your network who might be interested in volunteering.

5. Reach out to Local Businesses 

Another way to recruit volunteers is to reach out to local businesses and ask if they would be interested in sponsoring a volunteer day or donating supplies for a project. This is a great way to get businesses involved in your community outreach efforts while also providing them with some good publicity. When you reach out to businesses, be sure to explain how their donation will benefit your nonprofit and the community.

6. Host a Volunteer Open House 

An effective way to recruit volunteers is to host an open house where potential volunteers can come learn more about your organization and the different ways they can get involved. This event should be well-organized and include informational materials about your nonprofit, such as fact sheets, brochures, and website information. You should also have staff on hand who can answer questions about volunteering opportunities. Be sure to publicize your event through social media, flyers, and word-of-mouth so people know when and where it’s happening. 

7. Speak at Local Events 

If you’re looking for new ways to engage potential volunteers, consider speaking at local events, such as school assemblies, community meetings, and career fairs. When you speak at these events, be sure to mention your volunteer opportunities and how people can get involved. This is a great way to raise awareness about your nonprofit and the important work that you do. Plus, it’s an opportunity to connect with potential volunteers in person.


Volunteer Tools Bundle

Build volunteer relationships, create new opportunities for existing supporters, and develop a donor pipeline. 

8. Develop a Social Media Strategy 

Social media is a great way to reach out to potential volunteers and promote your volunteer opportunities. To get started, develop a social media strategy that includes goals, target audience, and key messages. Once you have a plan in place, start creating content that will engage potential volunteers and encourage them to get involved. Be sure to post regularly and interact with people who express interest in volunteering.

9. Run a Volunteer Promotion 

A fun way to engage potential volunteers is to run a promotion where people can enter to win prizes for volunteering their time or services. This is a great way to drum up interest in volunteering and get people excited about getting involved with your nonprofit. To get started, identify some prizes that would be appealing to your target audience and then promote the contest through social media, flyers, and word-of-mouth. Be sure to include clear instructions on how people can enter the contest and what they need to do to win.

10. Get Creative in your volunteer posts

There are many places to post for volunteers online, but how you differentiate your opportunities can matter a lot. Don’t be afraid to get creative in your approach to volunteer recruitment. There are endless possibilities when it comes to promoting volunteering opportunities so think outside the box and come up with an idea that will really resonate. Also, make sure you show the nonprofit’s personality in the post. 

There are many ways for nonprofits to be creative in their volunteer recruitment efforts. Some of these include creating a volunteer position wish list, getting personalized volunteer recommendations, developing an online volunteer portal, and reaching out to local businesses. By being creative in their recruitment efforts, nonprofits can increase their chances of finding volunteers who are a good fit for their organization.

How to write a good Volunteer Post

All good volunteer postings have these 7 key elements:

  1. A clear reason of WHY the work the volunteer work matters.
  2. A clear and concise description of the volunteer opportunity.
  3. A specific list of skills or qualifications that are required for the role.
  4. A detailed explanation of the time commitment required for the position.
  5. An overview of the organization and its mission, vision, and values.
  6. A link to a website or other online resource where interested individuals can learn more about the organization and the opportunity.
  7. WIFM – the volunteer is donating their time, however it is still important to note “what’s in it for me (the volunteer)” (WIFM). Meet new people? Work on a great cause that needs support? Lunches? Learning a new skill?