To help Chapters grow and to bring in new support, it is important that all Chapter Leaders play a role in recruiting new volunteers. The best way to ensure a new volunteer stays active and engaged is to get them immediately involved on a personal level. It is important to remember that recruiting new volunteers is an ongoing challenge that must be dealt with continuously in order for a Chapter to remain sustainable.
Suggestions for Volunteer Recruitment
Prepare volunteer job descriptions
Create job descriptions identifying the responsibilities of each volunteer role within the Chapter. Remember to appeal to the
potential volunteer's interests by highlighting the skill set, not just the job. For example, when recruiting for volunteers to help write articles for the Chapter newsletter, highlight that fact that people who enjoy writing or keeping up with current events in suicide prevention are a perfect fit for the position.
Publicize opportunities online
Attract new volunteers by posting volunteer job descriptions online with popular volunteer matching sites such as:
- Craigslist: http://www.craigslist.org post in the Community Section)
- Do Something: http://www.dosomething.org (to recruit teenage volunteers)
- Hands On Network: http://www.handsonnetwork.org
- Action Without Borders/Idealist: http://www.idealist.org
- VolunteerMatch: http://www.volunteermatch.org
- Social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
Get the word out
Make announcements at Chapter meetings of the specific types of volunteers that are needed to support the Chapter. Ask Board Members to refer
colleagues, friends, and community members they know. Also visit community groups focused on volunteerism, activism, mental health, and/or suicide prevention. Ask the director or leader of those groups if you can give a brief speech or distribute information.
Hold a volunteer open house
Invite potential volunteers to an informational session hosted by the Chapter. Publicize the event by posting a Volunteer Recruitment Flyer in
public places in the community such as libraries, community centers, and coffee shops, and sending a flyers to local schools at least two weeks prior to the event. At the event, have the Chairs of each Chapter Committee set up a table with information about volunteer positions. Make it festive with balloons, candy, and perhaps offer some kind of door prize.
Keep the momentum going
When volunteers come forward, have them complete a Volunteer Application. Follow through with placement on a Committee or referral to the
appropriate Committee Chair. The key to recruitment is to not lose the momentum by placing the burden of contact on the volunteer. Have the Committee Chair talk with the volunteer immediately or have him or her follow up as soon as possible.