You can reach potential volunteers in a number of ways- through speaking engagements, press coverage, online ads, PSAs, recruitment fairs, community groups and organizations, and religious groups or organizations. The more times someone sees your message, the more likely they are to act on it.
Identify populations who are already in direct or indirect contact with your service and contact them with your recruiting message; even if they are not able to drive, they may have friends who are able. Such populations can include:
· Your members, their families, and other relatives
· Friends of your current volunteers and staff
· People in your service’s neighborhood
· People who have been affected by the problem you are attempting to solve (such as family of past members)
Be sure that your message is clear, and focus on the benefits of volunteering over your need for volunteers. Ensure that your recruiting materials outline that the organization screens all applicants thoroughly. Communicate that your service carefully selects its volunteers: “We’re seeking mature and reliable volunteer drivers to join with us in making a difference in the lives of seniors.”
Be able to list the benefits of being a volunteer driver:
· You get to meet people
· You make a significant difference in the lives of people who need it
· You get to know how to get around your community better
· You can enjoy time outside
· You earn credits for your own or a loved one’s use
· You learn about the history of your area and beyond
· You get to know many facilities and organizations in your community
Public speaking engagements and community outreach events of any type represent excellent opportunities to recruit volunteer candidates. You need to get the message out to the community on a consistent and continuous basis from a variety of different directions. It takes a certain number of messages to make people act (typically from three to seven messages), from more than one place, in more than one way, from more than one source. That is why it is important to spread the word using every medium possible: print, brochures, radio, TV, posters, displays, free notice on community announcements, local free papers, etc.
If one person sees your ad seeking volunteers in one place and mentions it to a friend, who is looking to volunteer, that person in turn hears about your service from another source, he/she is more likely to act on it. Word of mouth/personal referral is the number one source of volunteers, which is another reason why good customer service is critical. Constant messages do work!
Some creative ideas:
· Refresh the language of your volunteer advertisement on a regular basis, so it sounds current and new
· Create volunteer events, where your volunteers can come and share their experiences
· Put yourself on some community calendar of announcements
· Get PSA’s as radio ads
· Develop a relationship with a media source who hits your market (e.g., oldies radio station; those people listening are your drivers)
· TV stations will film & broadcast your PSA’s: just ask; and be sure to be consistent with their timelines
· Participate in a job fair, or hold your own volunteer recruitment fair
· Get a spot on local community websites
· Hold community teas, speaking engagements at Lion’s Clubs, Rotary, etc.
· Publicize a “Look Who’s Driving Now” campaign
· Hold a “Bake sale” type of vigil outside a large department store on a Saturday
· Post volunteer driver testimonials on your website, bulletin boards, etc.
· Distribute brochures and posters