Now that we know where to focus our marketing efforts, you might be thinking that you are ready to roll with that volunteer recruitment plan. Before proceeding, however, please note that any plan worth its salt includes measures. If you are new to this practice, setting strategic measures may seem rather daunting. The good news is that you have already been tracking some key measures on your referral sources spreadsheet. We are simply going to take that data and use a few simple calculations to set some goals. This post will walk you through something so simple and quick to do you will wonder what took you so long to do it.
First, plot three measures on your volunteer recruitment plan:
- Number of inquiries needed.
- Number of applicants needed.
- Number of volunteers needed.
Next, review your data from the referrals tracking sheet and note two percentages:
- Percent who inquire who then apply to volunteer. Let’s say that percentage is 40%.
- Percent of those who apply who actually become volunteers. Let’s say that figure is 80%
Now take the number of volunteers that you actually need. To make things easy, let’s say you that you need 200 volunteers. You are…
In my last blog post we talked about identifying the common characteristics of your most successful volunteers. We then discussed how a deeper understanding of those commonalities informs your volunteer recruitment plan. Hopefully, besides your DNA analysis, you are also tracking referrals. How do volunteers hear about your program? Taking a close look at your referral sources can be just as illuminating as a DNA study.
Tracking referral sources is a best practice in volunteer recruitment and many readers are no doubt already doing so. The luckiest of us have sophisticated volunteer management software that runs reports and takes all the hard work out of the process.
Even if your program operates on a shoestring budget, this is a simple process. Set up a spreadsheet with three columns: name of the inquirer, the referral category (Internet, newspaper, personal referral, etc.), and the specific source of the referral (which website, newspaper, or person). Measuring this data now will help you get more sophisticated later.
After several months of tracking, you will start to see patterns. Some of these patterns will confirm what you already know anecdotally. Your local volunteer center might be doing…
Check your volunteers’ DNA
To the uninitiated, it might seem that a volunteer manager’s job is 90% done when there are enough volunteers in place to get things done. That is, until we start to suspect that perhaps we spend way too much time and effort in keeping those positions filled. We start to wonder if we really need to advertise in all those different places. We start to wonder if we could retain more volunteers longer and recruit less. We start to wonder if there is a way to make our lives easier and run our programs more efficiently.
If you are wondering any of these things, the answer is to find out what makes your most loyal volunteers tick.
So perhaps the first important skill that a volunteer manager needs to master is basic data crunching. Uncover the profile of a successful volunteer in your program by running a ‘DNA analysis.’
Not literally, of course. What you are really doing is gathering some essential demographic information.
I asked the staff members who supervise volunteers to give me the names of their ten most successful volunteers. Our program manages approximately 150 volunteers at any given time,…