Five ideas for recruiting volunteers at the start of a New Year

The turning of the year is an important time for volunteering.  December is an ideal time to appreciate the efforts of your volunteers.  January offers a perfect opportunity to recruit new people to support your organisation.
In the second of two blogs we share five ideas for recruiting volunteers at the start of a New Year. 

1. Open event
Host an informal event, open to everyone to showcase your organisation.  Tell stories of how you make a difference to people’s lives.  Ask positive current volunteers to share the benefits of being involved for both them and the organisation.  Prepare a range of volunteering opportunities, making sure they are meaningful.  Think about fitting the different commitment levels that volunteers might be able to make.  Capture contact details whilst conveying that if the role isn’t a fit for the volunteer, there will be no hard feelings!  Plan the first three sessions with new volunteers so they get a positive first impression. 

2. Gift of time
 At the New Year people often think about making changes to how they invest their time.  List of opportunities by the time they take.  Include activities that happen weekly, monthly and on a one-off basis.  Pick a range of times 1 hour, 5 hours, 1 day etc. Briefly explain what is involved and what the benefits are for the volunteer and the people the organisation helps. Always include how to find out more, having planned to respond speedily to people who are interested.  One option might be to contrast a typical leisure activity with a voluntary activity.  For example “In less than the time it takes to watch a movie, you could help a child to read.” 
3. New skill
Many New Year’s Resolutions involve learning a new skill.  Show how being involved with your organisation can help new volunteers achieve their goal.  For example you might: Subsides a course that means they can coach a sport; ask an existing volunteer to teach a new volunteer to create a video story promoting your cause. 

4. Wellbeing
At the start of a New Year people evaluate their wellbeing.  Think about the ways volunteering with your organisation helps the wellbeing of your volunteers through: making friends; building self-esteem; keeping fit; staying mentally active.  Consider opportunities for groups of friends or families to volunteer with you.
5. Challenge
The New Year is a great time to creatively engage people in your fundraising.  For example if they are trying to lose weight, quit smoking or drink less they might find it motivating to ask for sponsorship linked to their goals and your cause.  You might have a fundraising goal for the year or for a specific project.  Invite new volunteers to set themselves a challenge.  There are lots of ideas from Comic Relief,  Macmillan or BBC Children in Need.  People often like to combine a really memorable experience with doing good.  So you could even offer places to volunteers to run a half marathon, complete an obstacle course or sky dive.

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