So You’re Looking For A Volunteer?

27 09 2010

Every nonprofit organization needs a good core group of volunteers to succeed and animal rescue organizations are no different. If you are reading this, chances are you are one of the thousands of employees or directors of animal rescue groups around the country who are struggling to make ends meet and operating as a “one man/woman band.”  This may work for awhile, but eventually you’re going to burn out and this can only lead to epic failure.

People like to give back and get involved. What better way than with YOUR organization? Before you set out to find the volunteers who will best suit your needs you need to first decide what your needs are. Are you having a fundraising event? Do you need someone to help at the shelter? Or are you looking for someone to handle some of the administrative tasks like phone calls, mailing and such?

Now that you have your goals outlined, the volunteers are going to come running right? Wrong! You have to encourage them to come your way. Let’s face it, while it’s true that people do love to get involved, in this day and age it’s just not that simple. With the economy still in a slump and families relying on two incomes, it’s difficult for people to volunteer as much as they would like. Add that to busy family schedules and your piece of the pie just got that much smaller.

But never fear – hope is not lost! We have some tips to help you pull in the volunteers – even if it’s only for a few hours a week. Every little bit helps, right?

Tips For Finding Good Volunteers:

“Help Wanted” – This may seem silly but writing a “help wanted” ad can actually help find a good match for your organization. This will allow you to be specific about job descriptions and duties and time committment.

“Lots of Opportunity to Help” – It’s easy to get caught up in everything that needs to be done, so much so that you may tend to lean on your volunteers and expect that they will be there everytime you call. With some this may be the case, however, you want to be as specific as possible about the estimated time committment needed from your volunteers. One of the main reasons volunteers are lost is because they are brought in with the intention of helping out for one event or for a day or two a week, but get pulled in and end up being there indefinitely.

“Can You Help Us?” – Volunteers like to be approached about helping out. Yes, help wanted ads do the job, but don’t rely on just that approach. If you know someone who can do a specific job or task – don’t be afraid to come right out and ask.

“The More, The Merrier” – People will be more likely to help out if they can bring a friend or two, particularly if this is the first time they’ve volunteered for your organization. They may not know anyone else and would feel much more comfortable with a familiar face close by. Besides, you wouldn’t turn away an extra pair of hands would you?

Following just these few simple steps can help get you on the path to building a good, reliable core of volunteers.

~~~For more information on obtaining, training and maintaining volunteers, please subscribe to our blog or visit our website,

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