How To Recruit Volunteers
Volunteers are the cornerstone of school and group fundraising! Without trusty people to do the hard yards, no fundraiser would ever get off the ground. But unfortunately, volunteers can also be tricky to get a hold of. People are busy and often forget that many hands (and a little bit of time!) make light work.
If you’re struggling to find volunteers for your school or group fundraiser, you’re in the right place! Discover our tips and suggestions for recruiting new volunteers, and having them back on your team again and again!
Spread the net wide!
Many people turn straight to the parent community when in need of volunteers. Of course this is a fantastic idea, but there are also many other areas that might have trusty volunteers waiting to step up.
High Schools, TAFE and Universities
Many schools and tertiary education providers look for real-life opportunities for their students to apply their learning, especially if they offer an early childhood or primary education program. These students are likely to be more than happy to come and help out at your fundraising event, and experience what school-life is really like!
Local parliament members
Your local council or parliament members love getting involved in their electorate. Why not send your local member an email and see if they can man a BBQ or spray some colour powder at your next Colour Explosion School Run 4 Fun?
Other community groups
Other community groups in your area (especially those for older adults) might have the pool of volunteers you are looking for! Retirees and other community members with a Working With Children Check may be more than willing to help with some of the behind-the-scenes tasks. Why not get in touch with other local groups and see if any of their members could lend a hand?
People won’t know to put their hand up if you don’t spread the word! Advertising your need for volunteers is a big part of making sure people know where and how to volunteer! Try sharing your request for volunteers via:
- Social media,
- Your school newsletter,
- A letter home with students,
- Posters and signs around your school or group location,
- Word of mouth / in person, and
- School assembly.
As a fundraising coordinator, you will experience a much smoother fundraiser if the right people volunteer for the right jobs. You will also find many more stepping up to the plate when your request for volunteers is clear and specific.
For example, “We need four BBQ helpers to help run the sausage sizzle from 1-3pm on Friday June 5” is much more helpful than “We need volunteers on Friday.” When asking for volunteers make sure you include:
- The specific roles you need to fill, and how many people are required for each role
- How much time volunteers need to offer complete their responsibilities
- What each job will entail, if it’s not obvious
- Any limiting or restricting factors that may prevent someone from being a suitable volunteer.
Limiting or restricting factors may include the ability to swim or read, drive a manual car, or lift heavy boxes.
Be ready to be flexible
Sometimes we need to be flexible in how, when and what people can do to help! This means that we may need to change our plan, or accept that others may do things a little differently from how we had envisioned. That’s okay!
Being flexible means that you can make anything work – because doing things differently is better than not doing it at all! You may need to be flexible in:
- When volunteers arrive or leave your event.
- How many volunteers you have for a specific task.
- What each volunteer is able to do – they may not be able to carry the boxes from the hall to the oval, but they can unpack them. Splitting this job into two parts means you still have someone unpacking boxes!
- How volunteers complete a particular task. As long as the end result meets the need, then it’s fine for the team to complete the task however they feel best.
Always buddy up
Everything is better together 0 even volunteering! Volunteers will have a more enjoyable experience volunteering if they’re with someone else. This gives adults an opportunity to make friends and socialise, which is sometimes hard for parents! It also reduces volunteers feelings of stress and responsibility as they have someone to share the experience with. Ultimately, a better experience will bring volunteers back again and again.
Plus, having a buddy means that there is someone to man the fort if something goes wrong and one volunteer gets pulled away. Or, if they simply need to use the loo! It also means there are more people around to answer questions or lend a quick hand.
Many hands make light work
Many volunteer coordinators struggle with delegating. As a coordinator, you don’t have to do it all!
The more volunteers the better. People are more likely to sign up for a small commitment than a large one. Asking people to sign up for a small amount of time or simple task reduces barriers to signing up to help. It also means people are likely to return to volunteer year on year, as the experience was fun, simple and stress-free!
Celebrate your volunteers
At the end of the day, volunteers want to feel recognised! Make sure you create opportunities to thank and celebrate the volunteers who made your event a smashing success! A small card, end-of-year morning tea and shout-out on your event day goes a long way in saying thank you! You may even wish to provide them with lunch on the day of your event, or a free coffee during setup. Anything to show that you appreciate their time and effort will make the difference.
Use your account manager!
Looking to add some extra hands to your team? When you host a fundraiser with Australian Fundraising, you receive one on one support from your dedicated account manager! They will be there every step of the way, but can also help you with many of the behind-the-scenes tasks, like prize ordering, finances, event schedule, special competitions, newsletter inserts, presentation scripts and more! Discover how you can simplify your fundraiser with Australian Fundraising!