Join the Volunteer Smithville community

All non-profit organizations and volunteer organizations are welcome.  Just click on the registration form, fill it out and send it back in to us.  Click to download the Organization Registration Form - PDF format

Federally recognized non-profit organizations will be entered into the merchant's Adopt-A-Cause fundraisers, in which the merchants donate a portion of their proceeds on a specific day to the organization chosen in quarterly drawings.


Before You Recruit Volunteers

You would never hire paid employees until you had actual jobs for them and knew what they needed to be doing. Yet sometimes nonprofits start recruiting volunteers before the organization is ready. This is not a good move, as it could create bad experiences for the volunteer and for your organization.

Culture. Make sure that you understand your organizations culture and work environment. Each organization has a personality, which may be, for example, formal or more open and creative. Your organization's culture will determine the type of volunteer you recruit. Analyze your workplace before you recruit volunteers so you will be able to make a better match between volunteers and organization.

Prepare the staff. They need to be welcoming and value the volunteer for the skills that person brings to the organization. They also need to be prepared to help the new volunteer understand the structure and culture. If your organization is actively recruiting people, make sure you staff understands what you are seeking when a candidate calls about volunteering. Never ask a volunteer to call back. They won’t.

Resolve legal issues. Are you ready for a non-paid employee at your office? Does there need to be a background check? Does your insurance protect them and you from accidents?


Writing a Position Description

The volunteer position description creates the basis for your volunteer recruitment efforts. It explains the assignment, skills, abilities and interests necessary to perform the volunteer task successfully. Position descriptions can and should be written for both individuals and volunteer committees.

Here's how to write one:

Position Title.   A specific, descriptive title gives the volunteer a sense of identity. It also helps others in the organization know where the volunteer fits.

Work Location.  Where will the individual be working? Can the work be done at home, only on site or a combination of the two. Make sure the volunteer has transportation.

Purpose.  Let the volunteer know the importance of the task they are doing. If it’s not important, then why do it?

Responsibilities.  Be specific and clear about the tasks you want the volunteer to perform.

Qualifications.   Also be very clear and concrete in listing qualifications for the volunteer position, ie., education, personal characteristics, skills, abilities and experience.

Commitment Expected.  What do you expect of the volunteer? Include length of service, hours per week, hours per day. Include any special requirements such as evening or weekend work.

Training.   List what training the volunteer will receive, and the timeframe for them to get it.

Supervision. Let the volunteer know who will be supervising them and how to reach that supervisor quickly.


Three approaches to recruitment

The types of volunteers needed and your circumstances will determine your approach to recruitement. An organization may use different approaches for different activities.

Warm Body Recruitment. When you need a large number of volunteers for a short period time and the qualifications of the task are minimal, you might engage in "warm body recruitment."

This involves a broad dissemination of information, including:

Distribution of brochures, posters

Emails to friends and family

Notices in newspapers, radio, church bulletins

Word of Mouth

Targeted Recruitment. The targeted campaign is planned approach to a small audience. Use this when trying to recruit volunteers with specific skills or not commonly found characteristics. 

A targeted campaign requires that you answer the following questions.

What do we need?

Who could provide this?

How can we communicate with them?

What would motivate them?

Working through such questions will help you identify and locate the volunteers that you need. Once you locate a source of such volunteers, take your recruitment message directly to them.

Group Recruitment.  This type of recruitment requires you to identify populations who are already in direct or indirect contact with your organization and then to contact them with your recruiting message. Such populations include:

Your clients, their families and relatives.

Alumni of your organization

Friends of your current volunteers and staff.

People in your organization's neighborhood.

People who have been affected by the problem you are attempting to solve.

Group recruitment involves people who are already familiar with your agency or the problem you address, or who are connected through friends or staff members. Your success rate in getting volunteers will be higher than trying to persuade complete strangers.


Your Recruitment Message

No matter which recruitment method you use, you must have a compelling message. Your message, explaining why your agency is worthy of a potential volunteer's time, must beshort, simple, and direct, communicating the need for the volunteer's service and the good he/she can do. Stress the need of the community for the service, but also do outline the benefits the volunteer will receive.

Ask.  Be sure to directly ask people to volunteer. The most effective way to do this is to have your staff or volunteers ask their friends and acquaintances to volunteer. Be sure to provide them with the information they need to make an effective "ask."


Keeping Volunteers

To successfully lead volunteers takes a twist on what might work in a corporation. You have to be sensitive to people's needs and adjust your leadership activities accordingly to satisfy those needs.

Be prepared for them.  Have their job description and training ready. And have their task ready to start. Volunteer won’t feel their job is worth doing if they are sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

Welcome them.   No one wants to work in a hostile or lukewarm environment.

Train them.  Make them comfortable with their tasks, and they will be happier performing that service.

Interesting work.  While the work may not always be interesting, let the volunteer have some challenge that they are ready to accept. However, if the volunteer wants to be a warm body, following specific instructions with no brain work, assign them those tasks.

A better place.  The volunteer wants to know that they are doing something important that will make a difference in the world. Let them see the bigger picture.

Socially connected.  Volunteers like to be connected to the community. Introduce volunteers with like minds, and set up mini socials during the work process. Volunteers will feel both appreciated and connected.

Evolving.  Volunteers want to learn something new. Help each person grow. Mentoring from experience volunteers or organization leaders to new recruits is a good way to improve the quality of your volunteer base.

Importance of recognition.  Anyone performing volunteer work does so at least in part for personal reasons. But everyone likes the attention received after performing a task well. Do publically give the volunteer credit for making the project a success.

Most importantly.  Don't take dedication for granted.  Be genuinely thankful to the people donating their time and talents. Thank you goes a long way, and may be the volunteer’s only reward at the end of the day. Remember, every volunteer has options, and they can walk away at any time.


MARKETING and FUNDRAISING sections are coming soon.