How to Recruit Volunteers

how to volunteer in austin

We all know that volunteering for a charitable or worthy cause is its own reward. However, what you might not know about is that volunteerism actually comes with certain positive and scientifically proven effects. A Carnegie Melon University study points to how adults over the age of 50 are less likely to develop high blood pressure if they regularly engaged in volunteer activities.  While the folks you’re trying to recruit may not be aware of the physiological benefits of  volunteering, knowing this can help you attract and retain more volunteers.

Talk About the Health Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteerism could be the free and healthy activity that your would-be recruits are looking for. Joint research efforts by the UnitedHealth Group and the Optum Institute found that 78 percent of people who devoted significant time to volunteering for a particular cause or organization, self-reported lower stress levels. Stress has long been known in the medical community as a “silent killer,” as a stressed state of mind will inevitably have negative effects on your body as well as your emotional health. Becoming a regular volunteer is a viable way to manage this. Discussing these facts with potential recruits is a good way to coax people to volunteer, as many will be unaware of the positive benefits of volunteering outside of giving back to the world.

Corner Your Recruits’ Interests

Who are you aiming to recruit and what can you do to pique their interests alongside volunteering? You can already see this recruitment technique work wonders in causes that launch concerts and other musical events. Apart from recruiting musicians, such events are also useful in attracting sound engineers and other possible volunteers with highly useful technical skills to contribute to your future efforts. This is just one of the many creative ways to attract a wide range of talents and skills to your cause. For example, The Collective of Lady Wrestlers specialize in holding women-only arm wrestling events, and have raised over $175,000 to help other organizations like the Center for Anti-Violence Education. Meanwhile, Code for America has earned the reputation of being the “Peace Corps for Geeks” for its efforts in mobilizing techies who want to give back to local communities by working with the government. They’re responsible for developing apps like GetCalFresh, which delivers food to needy families, and ClearMyRecord, which helps clear people’s past convictions to make them more eligible for new jobs and housing options. What are your local community’s needs, and how can you tap the highly skilled and talented members of the community to address them? It’s time to get creative.

Social Media is a Free and Effective Recruitment Tool

The global popularity of social media – especially among the youth – has drastically changed the face of volunteerism in terms of recruitment work. Startups now consider online exposure to be an essential part of expansion, and the same can be said for charities. In fact, Maryville University suggests that the rise in technology has led to a “growing demand for training specialists.” Drafting volunteers with extensive online experience is now vital for volunteer recruitment. The better your charity organization is at creating and maintaining a lively, relatable, and ultimately shareable online presence, the more you can recruit volunteers as well as educate people about your causes in the process.

Learn the Skills and Techniques for Leading Volunteers

There are many more resources for recruiting and leading volunteers in Austin than you might think. Organizations like DOVIA and Leadership Austin can teach you the skills you need to become an effective organizer. See our post listing organizations and other resources for honing your volunteer-leadership skills.

Other Tools for Recruiting

Aside from social media, consider posting volunteer opportunities on the following platforms and resources:

Meetup groups. Meetup is a platform that helps people organize into groups that meet to network, learn, and share activities. There are many Meetup groups in Austin looking for volunteer opportunities. Consider reaching out to a group with your opportunity. See our list of local Meetup volunteer groups here.

VolunteerMatch. More than 120,000 nonprofits across the country use this platform to post volunteer opportunities, including more than 400 in Austin. Consider joining VolunteerMatch to post yours and check out their blog with lots of useful information.

Signup is more of a volunteer-organizing tool than a recruiting tool, but in our experience, it’s invaluable for assigning and tracking roles. Plus, it’s free!


Recruitment is the toughest test that charities and organizations face. In today’s fast moving society convincing people to make time to help others can feel like an uphill struggle. Yet by leveraging the above tips, you will ensure you have the best chance of recruiting volunteers with valuable skills.

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