Recruiting and Selecting Volunteers

The recruitment and selection of volunteers not only involves choosing the most suitable recruitment methods. It also involves meeting legal responsbilities in relation to ensuring that the volunteers you recruit are suitable for the roles they will fulfil within your group or organisation - particularly if they will be working with children or other vulnerable people. Planning for the recruitment of volunteers is a necessary requirement in finding the right volunteers for your group. 


There is no one magic solution or guaranteed answer, however taking the time to plan will hugely increase your chances of a successful recruitment. As well as looking at different recruitment methods

Before you start recruiting, ask yourselves:-

  • what do you need your volunteers to do?

  • who is going to deal with any enquiries about volunteers in your organisation and how will this be done?

  • what information are you going to give potential volunteers?

  • consider what you need to tell them about your organisation

  • what policies do you think volunteers need to know about before they apply, for example, do they require to be disclosure checked because this post involves working with vulnerable people?

  • do you have a budget for volunteer recruitment?

  • revisit your Equal Opportunities policy and seek to meet the same objectives as you would for the recruitment of staff

  • have you considered the timing of your recruitment?

  • have you thought about how you will manage and evaluate demand?

Drawing up a Job Description and Person Specification

What are you going to ask your volunteers to do?  If you have a volunteer role that you wish to recruit for, as a first step, look at how that role would match with the motivation of a volunteer.  

Consider this example:

You have designed a volunteer task description for a volunteer to fill envelopes, so if a potential volunteer hears about this role, what do you want them to know about it?

  • that they are doing a job that no-one else wants to do, but it does help the organisation

  • that they are sending out a nice newsletter to a long list of people

  • that they understand they are sending a newsletter to the community supported by the organisation and that this small contact is just enough to reduce people’s sense of isolation and make a real impact on their lives

Which of these do you think is most likely to appeal to a volunteers’ motivation?

A good exercise to do before you start any recruitment for a particular post is to jot down what you believe will motivate your volunteers and think about using the key words in an opening statement for your advert.