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How to Use Community Partnerships as a Source for Volunteers

Posted by Sean LoBianco on Apr 4, 2018 12:21:07 PM

Community Volunteers

Finding volunteers is challenging, and the needs of your organization grow every day. Learning how to use community partnerships as a source for volunteers provides a pool of people already invested in your cause: the community.

Here are ways to use community partnerships as a source for volunteers.

Make Recruitment Simple

The simpler you make recruitment and enrollment, the less resistance there is between you and your goals. How can you streamline what you are currently doing?

Warm Body Recruitment: Casting a Wide Net Easily

When you want a lot of volunteers for a brief period, and they will not need prior qualifications, warm body recruitment can save the day. It is relatively easy to cast a wide net and reel in what sticks. Warm body recruitment centers around disseminating information.

Parts of your warm body recruitment strategy may include:
  • Distribution of brochures
  • Posters
  • Speaking to groups
  • Notices in appropriate media
  • Word of Mouth
In fact, why not ask current volunteers if they could bring a friend? People are more likely to try something new if a friend directly involves them. This is a different type of recruitment called concentric circles recruitment.

Concentric Circles Recruitment

This particular kind of recruitment involves finding new volunteers through people already associated with your organization. These affiliated people act on your organization’s behalf to engage their friends, family, and associates.

Affiliated people, you could ask to recruit include:
  • Members, their relatives, and families
  • Alumni or past volunteers
  • Friends of your current staff and volunteers
  • People in your organization's neighborhood
  • People who have been impacted by the problem you are trying to solve

Concentric Circles recruitment involves individuals who already know your organization or are aware of the problem you address and the people in their lives.

It is much more likely that you are going to succeed in persuading these ‘once removed’ people to volunteer than complete strangers. In sales terms, there's a huge difference between a "cold" call to a stranger than a "warm" call to a friend or perhaps an acquaintance.

Places to Consider Recruiting

Where should you hand out materials or approach people to become volunteers? There are places all over your community where people gather.


Churches are a great recruitment venue because everyone there is already service minded. They come together each week and share a strong sense of community. Also, they may know some of the people you help. 

Universities and Colleges

Colleges are another excellent recruitment spot. Students sometimes have community service requirements. Additionally, they could study in an area your organization dovetails with. For instance, a student could act as a senior volunteer to gain deeper insight into a medical, psychological, or teaching field. Don't count sororities and fraternities out either; they often do work in the community. 

Youth Groups

The same reasons churches and colleges are good recruitment areas apply to youth groups as well. These young people are motivated to help others and could benefit from the connection to older people in their community.

Professional Clubs and Fraternal Groups

Organizations like the Optimists can be wonderful resources. Members may like to volunteer themselves or be willing to help you find others to volunteer. A jointly promoted contest of some type can motivate other community members to put much effort toward your cause. 

Networking Social Events

If you hold a networking or fundraising event for your organization, don’t forget to do some recruitment! Make it easy for people to sign your mailing list while they are there and you are fresh in their minds. Then follow up and invite them later. 

Approach Businesses and Corporations

Partner with a business or corporation to get their employees involved. Teams can donate time on a rotating basis or the company can set a goal that employees work toward to gain some incentive. 

Targeted Community Recruitment

A targeted campaign requires a carefully planned approach to a small group of people. Use this method when you are attempting to recruit volunteers that must possess particular skills or perhaps unique characteristics.

In your community, targeted recruitment would seek out community members who possess a skill set you need. You would then focus your efforts on involving those people and finding out who in their network has the same skills to share.

A targeted campaign requires, at the outset, you answer a number of questions:
  •  What do we need?
  •  Who can provide this?
  •  How do we reach them?
  •  What would motivate them?
Working through such questions can help you identify and find the volunteers that you need. Once you discover a source of such volunteers, just take your recruitment message straight to them.

Community Partnerships Are An Excellent Source for Volunteers

Finding volunteers is easier when you have a plan, a structure, and some volunteer recruiting tips. If you decide to seek community volunteers, you can use this article to guide your efforts. The more you think about how to merge the needs of the community you serve and the service you do, the more integrated you become. In this way, community volunteering serves a dual purpose as functional and altruistic.

Download Volunteer Engagement Tips

Topics: Volunteers, how to recruit volunteers for seniors

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