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3 ways to attract more volunteers

“To help people be altruistic, we need to help them be selfish.

The selfish volunteer is not a bad person, or part of an unwelcome trend –it is at the heart of the future of volunteering.” (The 21st Century Volunteer)

Have you noticed that it’s getting harder to attract volunteers?

Gone are the days of sticking a card in the newsagent’s window and being inundated with willing workers.  Volunteer recruitment has become a full-time slog, presenting almost as much pain as the dreaded funding search.

So, what’s going on? 

Do people have less free time now? Is there too much competition for volunteers (there are 2500 registered charities in Bucks alone)?  Or is the world just getting more selfish?

In reality, the answer is probably ‘yes’ to all of these questions.

According to researchers, we are now in the age of self-interest,where altruism takes a backseat and experience-seeking is king.

We might be a Not-for-Profit and we might be changing the world, but that will only take us so far. No matter how worthy our cause, at some point we need to accept that not everybody cares as much as we do and what people actually want to know is what volunteering will do for them.

People really don’t want to be seen as do-gooders, anymore.  In fact, this is now the number 1 turn-off for those considering volunteering.

So, how DO we attract volunteers?

  • Sell your Story

You know you need somebody to spend 3 hours a week entering data in your back room, but how appealing does that sound?  Think bigger than that – what does your organisation do? How many lives are benefited as a result of the data entry and what would happen if that person wasn’t there? Volunteers want to experience the spirit and mission of an organisation and feel like part of the solution.

  • Think ‘Intrinsic’

Not all volunteers are the same. Some people volunteer for extrinsic reasons e.g. they need the experience to get into uni, or they want the time credits, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Yet, according to motivational expert Daniel Pink, ‘people who are internally driven to succeed are significantly more effective in the long run than those who are motivated by some carrot or stick’.  So, before you post your latest volunteer role, take a moment to think how it might also benefit their life.

  • Inspire your Volunteers!

If you want to know how to put all of this into practice and set your organisation up for the next-generation of volunteers, then come along to one of our free Volunteering Advice Surgeries held every month throughout Buckinghamshire.

Here you’ll receive 45 mins of personalised, guidance on how to inject some magic into your volunteering team.

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