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Find the Right Volunteers with Targeted Recruitment

For many AAAs, recruiting and retaining volunteers can be a challenge. Whether your agency needs to provide older adults with a friendly visitor, deliver meals, offer educational programs or develop a marketing plan with the time and talents of volunteers, putting out the right message is key to ensuring that your agency finds the right volunteer for the job.

The first step is creating a specific volunteer role or project so you can recruit and select the most suitable candidates. What skills, experiences, or characteristics are needed to accomplish that role or project? Other factors to consider are things like time availability, location and language ability.

Many programs try to fit their volunteers into a role instead of recruiting and screening for the right volunteers. Targeting your recruitment efforts will help you attract successful volunteer candidates. Targeted recruitment involves tailoring your recruitment message towards a specific audience or demographic so you recruit the best qualified volunteers for the role or project.

Before beginning your targeted recruitment campaign, ask:
  • What are the organizational needs?
  • Who can provide this?
  • How do we communicate this need?
After identifying the ideal volunteer base, it is a best practice to develop strategies to determine where to find this audience, how to make a connection, and how to motivate them to serve. For example, if you are recruiting volunteer drivers with flexible schedules, in addition to retirees, your audience might be stay-at-home parents, first responders who work several days on then several days off, or people who work independently from home. Now you can begin to develop a message to get their attention and a strategy for reaching them.

Finding the right volunteer may require some extra homework and planning, but this focused approach can greatly impact your organization's outreach efforts. It will also save you time and effort in the long-run as these volunteers will be more likely to stick with your program.

To help you get started, n4a's Aging Network Volunteer Resource Center has developed an easy-to-use targeted recruitment worksheet.

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