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"If only we had more volunteers" is a familiar refrain for chapters of the Huntington Society and probably every other voluntary group in the world! You'll find effective practices in this section that you can use for finding and keeping volunteers.
Finding the Right People
Part of the trick to recruiting volunteers is reaching the right people and letting them know what they'll get out of the experience. For each position you're trying to fill, answer the following questions. To show you how it works, we'll use the example of a fundraising chairperson for a typical chapter.
What is the job to be done?
What characteristics are required for this job?
• experience or interest in raising funds
• creative thinking skills
• contacts in community
Where am I likely to find these people?
• From your HD community
• Past event participants or volunteers
• service clubs: Kiwanis, Lions, Kinsmen
• junior chamber of commerce
• any groups that helped organize a major event in the past few years
What contacts do I have to reach these people (key contacts)?
Think about people in your neighbourhood, work colleagues, friends or other family members. The personal web is a great tool for this. National Office can also work with you to identify other contacts:
• Uncle Steve is a member of Kiwanis
• Brian - support group member owns local department store
• Evelyn helped with bake sale last year
How will I approach them?
National Office can help you plan this process and even help you identify some initial contacts. The sample scripts are an excellent starting point:
• Explain my connection to HSC (3 seconds)
• Explain HD (30 seconds)
• Explain how HSC makes a unique difference (1 minute)
• Explain the positions that are available and ask if they think it is feasible to find individuals in the community with these kinds of qualifications
• Ask if they would feel comfortable attending a meeting to help establish a team
• Set up the meeting
Reaching Beyond the HD Community
People with no connection to HD are often willing to volunteer for events because it's an opportunity to do a lot for a worthy cause and use their expertise without a huge investment of time.
Once you've decided on an event and know what roles you need to fill, here's how to get volunteers on board:
• Identify the skills needed for each position
• Approach the people you know. Creating a personal web is a great way to think of possible volunteers. Have your executive or fundraising committee create personal webs too.
• Ask potential volunteers for a specific, short-term commitment and explain exactly what's involved.
• Once you have recruited your volunteers, have a member of your chapter executive be part of the event team to encourage and offer advice, but let the committee chair run the event.
• When the event is over, be sure to celebrate your success and make notes for next year.
• Follow up with a thank you to all your volunteers.
Matching Tasks and Talents
Different people get involved with HSC for different reasons. They will stay involved if you match their responsibilities with their interests and skills. Ivan Schier, an expert in volunteer management, says that the best way to find out what people are looking for is to ask them.
National Office can help you determine the skills and qualifications for the volunteer positions your chapter needs. We can also help you to identify potential volunteers with the talents to fill these positions.
At the same time, be prepared to create new positions to match the skills of any volunteers who come forward. (Everyone has some special skill that can be useful, whether it's accounting, baking, hosting, organizing or canvassing.)