Management » Volunteer Management

Volunteer Recruitment and Volunteer Management - Converting More People into Becoming Volunteers

Ever thought of volunteers as your customers? Volunteer recruitment, volunteer management and volunteer retention is all about selling the volunteering experience. Question is...what is the volunteering experience that you and your organization are selling your volunteers? Is it a positive experience or a negative one?

5 Types of Customers. Let's look deeper at that volunteer base. Do you think of your volunteer base as being only those volunteers already on board? It's much more than this. People in sales and marketing understand that their customer base goes beyond those who are existing customers. It also includes people to whom they've yet to make a sale. They "grade" customers according to their relationship to the business into categories termed suspects, prospects, new, repeat or raving fans.

Suspects are people you don't even know - yet. You don't know if they are interested in volunteering, so you need to begin by attracting their attention. To make contact with suspects, you can use a broad-based approach (such as direct bulk-mail or newspaper advertising) or a more selective approach (such as advertising in trade journals or professional publications).

Prospects are people who have shown an interest in volunteering but have not yet signed on. Maintain regular contact with prospects to encourage them to take the next step and volunteer. Send them your newsletter, invite them to your functions and call periodically to see if they're now ready to make a commitment.

Newbies or new volunteers are like new customers to a business. First impressions are vital if you are to retain their custom and keep them coming back. Devote part of your recruitment plan to ensuring that all new volunteers immediately feel like they belong.

Repeat and long-term volunteers are as valuable as repeat customers in a business. Look after them and never take them for granted. Recognize them publicly in your recruitment campaign, as people are inspired by stories of such dedication.

Raving fans are satisfied volunteers who are so impressed with your organization that they tell everyone they meet how great you are. They blow your trumpet for you and actively recruit others to volunteer. Encourage raving fans by providing satisfying volunteer work, ongoing support and regular recognition.

Here is the mission for your highly successful volunteer management, volunteer recruitment and volunteer recognition program. Aim to convert - your suspects into prospects; your prospects into new volunteers; your new volunteers into repeat volunteers; and your repeat volunteers into raving fans!

This article is adapted from the book Count Me In! 501 Ideas on Recruiting Volunteers by Dr Judy Esmond

This article may be reprinted for non-commercial purposes as long it is reprinted in full with the author's biographical details included and the link back to the website

Dr Judy Esmond is the leading international expert on how to recruit and retain more volunteers and members. Judy is the author of the best-selling books Count Me In! 501 Ideas on Recruiting Volunteers and Count On Me! 501 Ideas on Retaining, Recognizing and Rewarding Volunteers and numerous major research reports on Baby Boomers and Volunteering and Volunteer Motivation. You can read all these and get her great FREE E-Book and newsletter full of 100s more ideas on volunteer management, volunteer recruitment and volunteer recognition today at