Volunteer recruitment: How to increase volunteer applications

Any Volunteer Manager will tell you, it’s no mean feat to recruit volunteers – whatever the size, scale or budget of your organisation. There are so many variables in play, especially when it comes to people who are fitting a volunteering role in to an already busy schedule. These can range from the circumstances, availability or commitment of the volunteer themselves to the ever-changing programme and needs of the organisation.

Having access to a reliable recruitment or data gathering tool is one very important part of the jigsaw. If the volunteer pool is down for whatever reason, then a drive to boost the number of applicants is inevitably the first course of action. But once engaged, what can be done to ensure the success rate of these applicants is at its highest? 

Let’s look at it this way…the hard bit is done. The volunteer has found and connected with your organisation and is now browsing your website. An opportunity they have seen appeals to them and they are just about to apply for the role, when they are faced with ‘download PDF’!

Now this might seem like an incredibly useful application form, with two pages full of important information you wish to learn about your volunteer, but let’s look at it from the volunteer’s perspective. The form is long and generic, I have to download it, print it out, handwrite my application, scan it, then upload or email it…..and did I mention that I’m browsing this opportunity on my mobile phone?

It’s easy to see why people stumble at the first hurdle and with the best intentions, applications can fail or get postponed. Unfortunately, our busy, multitasking selves don’t seem to allow for ‘later’. We prefer – and have come to expect – simplicity and efficiency; anything less that than insta-immediate is so yesterday and can be quickly forgotten.

Yes, this is such a small part of the process and it’s also a small part of what we do at Assemble, but let’s remember, for some, this could be their first real engagement with your organisation. We know volunteers take their roles seriously, with the hope that they can truly make an impact, so if the experience is pleasant and personal, then there’s no better foot to get off on.

Assemble have worked with some of the UK’s leading charities to remove barriers to entry for volunteer applications and devise a signup process that is simple, intuitive and successful. We work seamlessly with organisations to initially capture only the data you need immediately via an embedded contact form on your website, that is both on-brand and mobile-friendly. With legislation like GDPR putting increasing pressure on how you collect information – we’ve worked hard to develop functionality that will make compliance easier for you. 

From entering just a few simple details into the capture form, a volunteer profile is created and an initial connection is made. Further information and specific details – such as skills, availability and personal information – can be gathered along the journey and the applicant can monitor their own progress.