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Targeted Volunteer Recruitment for Employment Programs

This blog post was written by Higher Employment Services Technical Assistance and is included as an archived post on the Switchboard blog.

Phones ringing constantly? Volunteer applications piling up?

Many offices have seen a massive increase in the number of people reaching out to volunteer.

But is your agency able to find the right volunteers that actually help employment programs? Depending on the needs of your employment team, the right volunteer might mean someone who is available during office hours or people with specific skills and experience that can mentor higher skilled refugees. In order to find the best possible volunteers to support your employment program, you may want to consider targeted volunteer recruitment.

It might sound counter-intuitive, but strategically narrowing your recruitment effort to a small audience of potential volunteers may be more effective than broader outreach. In addition to benefiting your program, people are more likely to say “yes” when asked to volunteer if your request is personalized and specific. If you are recruiting volunteers and trying to leverage their skills strategically you need to learn enough about each applicant to know what motivates them to volunteer, and what makes them especially qualified for the job.

To get started on your targeted recruitment campaign, answer these 4 questions:

QuestionExample 1: Career MentorsExample 2: Teacher
1) What do you need?Civil engineer employment mentorTeacher for 10 AM Job Development Class
2) Who could provide this?Current or retired civil engineersRetired teachers, education grad students, current teachers off during the summer
3) How can we communicate with them?Ask staff & current volunteers if they know any civil engineers they could recruit. Post on job recruitment sites like Call engineering companies.Call local school administers (Hint: End of the school year is best, right before summer break). Reach out to staff/volunteer personal contacts. Call local grad schools.
4) What would motivate these people to volunteer?Personal experience with career mentors in their own life. A desire to see the results of mentoring in refugee lives.Learning more about the culture of the students they teach, adding cross-cultural skills for their resume

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re on your way to recruiting the right volunteer for the job!

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