Recruit a Volunteer on Your Own

Recruit a Volunteer on Your Own

Post a job description in your community

May 3, 2000

Are you having trouble finding a volunteer matching program or a volunteer listing service in your community? Do you prefer to use your own method to search for a volunteer? A good option is to write a volunteer job description and post it in your community. See "Write a Volunteer Job Description " for details on crafting your posting.

Post Your Call for Volunteers

When you have written your volunteer job description, the trick is to get it out into the community to places where people with both technical skills and a social conscience will look. Below is a partial list of places to try.

  • Corporate Volunteer Programs:

    Many corporations have bulletin boards to post volunteer o pportunities. You can find tech-savvy volunteers in most companies, not just in companies that specialize in technology. The Human Relations department is the first place to contact.

  • Schools and Community Colleges:

    Many vocational schools and community colleges will post your volunteer job description for you in a career center or a departmental bulletin board. Some professors may announce the opportunity in their classes. Try contacting departments related to technology, such as engineering and computer science.

  • Ask your colleagues:

    Where do other nonprofits in your community go for technical volunteers?

  • Ask other volunteers:

    Many times current volunteers will be the best source for new volunteers. They may know of someone, or they can tell you where to post a job description.

  • Listservs:

    More and more, people are using listservs to communicate about community needs and events. Ask around about the listservs people in your community belong to, especially listservs that people with computer skills might be on. Find a person who belongs to the list to post your job description for you. See the article on listservs in the Using the Internet section.

  • User groups:

    User groups are groups that meet either in person or online to discuss different types of hardware and software. Look for them in your local computer newspaper if you have one, or online. Yahoo's Internet User groups is good places to start.

  • Newspapers and Newsletters:

    You can list your volunteer job description free of charge in many local newspapers, P.T.A newsletters or other community publications.

If you are stuck, you might want to go through the questions in Your Circle of Resources, a guided exploration of volunteer resources in your community. For a list of many more places to post job descriptions, see the Nonprofit FAQ's "Where should we place our volunteer ads? ".

Screen Potential Volunteers

You may be tempted to welcome with open arms the first volunteer who shows up. Remember that you are going to invest time and energy managing them, and you are going to entrust them with care of your computer systems. It is crucial to screen potential volunteers by interviewing them first. You will even want to check their references as you would with a consultant. Think seriously about whether they will be a good match for your organization's needs. Some questions to consider when interviewing volunteers include:

  • What skills will the volunteer need to accomplish the task?

    Ask about the volunteer's previous experience with the technology you want them to work on. Bear in mind that some volunteers can learn skills as they go, especially if they have other technical expertise or are taking a class. It may be worth risking if the volunteer is serious about learning.

  • Is the volunteer willing to work in a nonprofit context?

    Many volunteers may be coming from a corporate environment. Ask if the volunteer has any experience working in a nonprofit. How was it? If they have not worked in a nonprofit, explain some of your ways of working, including your budget, staff skill level and office atmosphere. Ask if they would be comfortable working in an environment with fewer resources. Are they willing to help you reach technology compromises that work, and not necessarily recommend the latest, most expensive system?

  • Will the volunteer communicate clearly about the work they do?

    Can they explain technical issues in a way that you understand? If they use a word you don't know, will they define it clearly? Are they willing to report back regularly on their progress, and document their work?

  • Is the volunteer reliable?

    Make sure they are willing to make a specific time commitment and finish the project before the deadline you give. Checking their references is the best way to see if they are likely to follow through.


Copyright © 2000 CompuMentor. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.


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