Let’s face it, most nonprofit organizations are downright desperate for volunteer help. It is the rare organization or agency that has plenty of outstanding volunteers. In reality, we can let that desperation cloud our judgment when it comes to selecting quality and appropriate volunteers to help us do the work we need to do. It is a good idea to include interviewing as part of the volunteer recruitment process to make sure that you not only get a beginning understanding of the individual volunteer, but also to ensure for finding the right fit for each person.
Consider developing a volunteer recruitment process that mirrors a typical hiring procedure. Starting with a job description for the volunteer positions or work you need filled. It is also a good idea to have some sort of a volunteer application where you collect data and information about an individual’s skills and interests as this will further help find the right fit within the organization. Actually sitting down and doing an interview or a “chat” or whatever you want to call it is also an important part of the volunteer recruitment process.
Whether you want to have set questions or approach the discussion in a more casual way is up to you but it is a good idea to be very clear about the expectations, skill set, and other requirements you are looking for in a specific volunteer. It will be different depending on what the task is. For example, someone to volunteer to take tickets may not need to be as carefully selected as someone who is going to fill in as a volunteer office manager. In addition to looking for someone with the right skill set, consider other important elements such as temperament, understanding and passion for the organization’s mission, and whether or not the volunteer is a cultural “fit” for the work environment of the nonprofit agency or organization.