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Tips for Recruiting Volunteers

Your neighborhood association depends on volunteers, but how do you get them involved?

Volunteers are the vitality of any neighborhood association: new leadership, new membership, and a more connected community all stem from volunteers. Volunteers can either be dues-paying members or residents of your neighborhood who aren’t yet dues-paying members.

Even when people are dues-paying members, it’s often difficult to encourage them to volunteer their time outside of attending the annual meeting.

To commit their time, the value of the result has to be very important to the potential volunteer. That’s one example of why it is important to stay connected with the interests and needs of your neighborhood.

Community Image

How do I Get People to Volunteer?

  • Ask them! Few people will volunteer their services. This does not mean that they don’t want to be active. People wait to be asked, so make sure to invite them to volunteer personally.
  • Have in person communication. Do not rely on printed circulars, letters, phone calls or email. There is no substitute for talking face-to-face. It lets the person know that you consider the discussion important, and it gives you a chance to get acquainted with them.

Who Should Ask Them?

If possible, someone they know, trust, and respect: a friend, a neighbor, or someone they share an affinity with. If you cannot arrange that, do it yourself. Remember that it is the very act of asking that is important.

How do I Ask Them?

Hands holding a house
  • Ask about their interests, skill-sets, and goals. People will be more committed to work they see value in and are passionate about. Think through how they specifically could fit into your association. Have an open mind - perhaps their specific skill set can fill a need you haven’t thought of yet.
  • Provide as much detail as possible about the available opportunities. Give the position a title so people know what they are signing up for. If applicable, write a job description. Make sure there is a clear beginning and ending so they don’t feel like they are over-committing themselves. Make it clear how their role fits into the big picture.
  • Make it clear that their help is needed. What they bring to the table is unique and specifically needed to make your neighborhood successful. Tell people how the project will benefit them and the entire community. People will be more committed to work when they know others are depending on them
  • Help them keep their expectations realistic. If their expectations of the neighborhood association can’t be met, your group will become a source of disappointment rather than fulfillment.
  • Give them an opportunity to ask questions. They might have questions about the type of help you need. This is also a great opportunity for them to ask more about the goals and purpose of your neighborhood association.
Front of History Museum with Dinosaur

How do I Keep Them Around?

  • Show your appreciation for your volunteers. Recognize their service and how they have made your neighborhood successful. Everyone has different motivations and the more you get to know your volunteers the better you can show your appreciation.
  • Create a volunteer community. Plan a gathering in a nearby park for the volunteers and their family. Have a special “happy hour” just for the volunteers before or after each meeting. Create opportunities to build relationships and make the work fun.
  • Share success stories. Brag on your volunteers. Share stories with the rest of your membership about the difference made, the fun had, or the accomplishments of your association’s volunteers.
  • Have your volunteers recruit more volunteers. Encourage them to share their stories and get their friends from the neighborhood involved. You’ll grow your volunteer base and make volunteering more fun.
  • Have an organized system to track volunteers. Create a database for volunteers that includes contact information, interests, skills, where they have already volunteered, what their time limitations might look like, etc. Any information that will help you track and utilize neighbors who are interested in getting involved.