Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

How do you stand on volunteers?

How do you stand on volunteers?

I meet or communicate with charities and voluntary organisations on a daily basis and there never seems to be a clear picture of how difficult or not it is to recruit volunteers.

There does seem to be quite some disparity according to the cause!

One day I’ll be speaking with someone that has a surfeit of volunteers and not enough roles for them, then next day someone with the exact opposite position.

Now I see that there are doubts over the future of the DWP scheme to get job seekers for charities. I always thought they were stretching the meaning of the word ‘’ in that situation, but hey, who am I to criticise if it works! But then they seem to have shot themselves in the foot by declaring incorrect figures for the take up in the first place (unbelievably they were BELOW the actual numbers) and then allowing the uptake to slow this year.

A number of prominent people have criticised the process. I cannot comment on that.

But I can comment on the fact that earlier in the year I was approached by an organisation that had the chance of bidding for some of this work. They contacted me because of my charity connections and my extensive network of business and other contacts.

Together we agreed on a number of the unemployed youngsters in Essex that we could realistically commit to getting in to voluntary placements. The paperwork was submitted and the organisation was promised an answer within a certain period of time. Nothing came. Calls were made and no response given. We are now approximately 4 months down the line from when the decision was due and still no answer!

So, all I can say is that there does seem to have been some mismanagement there somewhere. This organisation was set to roll and help charities and job seekers in the area but has frustratingly been unable to do either.

Anyway, back to the issue of whether you have enough volunteers or not!

There are obviously cause-related differences, there are geographical differences, and there are demographics! But, it is all about communication. Communicating with existing volunteers, communicating with prospective volunteers, going out of your way to develop, and I’ll use a sales word here, a pipeline of volunteers. Too many organisations assume their existing volunteers are going to be there forever.

I have found that the organisations with volunteers ‘coming out of their ears’ tend to be those that get out to local events, engage with local employers, attend local networking events and are generally very active in their community.

I even get them coming along to the coffee mornings I run, and well-appreciated they are.

Remember, you have to use every tool in your tool-kit to get people aware of your cause, passionate about your cause, and motivated enough to do something about it.

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