3.2 Recruitment of volunteers

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Figure 2 Many organisations use formal recruitment processes for volunteers

Some voluntary organisations are largely staffed by volunteers, others operate with a mixture of voluntary and paid staff, in which case the roles and jobs are usually distinct and different: it can be confusing for both paid and unpaid groups if they are doing the same or similar role, and can also lead to resentment. It is important for organisations to encourage interaction between the groups so that everyone feels part of the team. This means several factors have to be taken into consideration, such as:

  • which jobs volunteers are being asked to do, and how they are supported and trained for them
  • how volunteers work with paid staff and vice versa
  • the level of resources invested in volunteers
  • the relationship of volunteers with the decision-making processes of the organisation
  • how volunteers are recruited and selected.

There are a number of challenges to recruiting and retaining a volunteer, and there is often a gap between what people want from volunteering and what organisations are offering. Increasingly, organisations are struggling to compete against all the other pressures on people’s time and interests, which mean they have less time to offer as volunteers. Organisations need therefore to think about innovative ways to involve volunteers – perhaps micro-volunteering (offering small amounts of time for specific tasks), family volunteering, or involving school or college students.

Why people volunteer

How organisations benefit from volunteers