Volunteer Recruitment That Rocks | Grassroots Campaigns
Rock Solid Volunteer Recruitment Tactics to Grow your Grassroots
Volunteer recruitment is never easy. It usually starts like this:
The campaign is just getting going, although your community seems enthusiastic, you are just not getting the massive volunteer support you expected. You keep getting all these excuses from your field director and team. You are now starting to get a little discouraged. But you tell yourself that you are just getting started. That you can knock on doors alone., that it's too early to knock on doors, you'll wait till Labor Day to find volunteers, or wait until your new staffer starts.
You name it I have heard every excuse, and yes there are days when you will need to knock on a door alone, but when done right volunteer recruitment can build on itself. It can create steady growth over time. When done badly, you can have a volunteer desert.
Here are 8 rock solid volunteer recruitment tips to get your grassroots campaign started:
1. Create a volunteer pledge from friends family or past co-workers. The best way to begin volunteer recruitment is by reconnecting with individuals who have volunteered for either your campaign or a similar campaign in the past.
2. Ask your donors to volunteer. A lot of times someone writes a check and is not asked to do anything else besides writing more checks. This is a mistake some of my best donors have become volunteers ( the reverse is also true) keep asking till folks say no.
3. Interns come in all varieties from college kids to high school programs. Interns have been the best volunteers I have ever had, even paying a small stipend and food can help.
4. Make sure you cultivate groups from key organizers, donors, and staff. Like minded groups agree with your issues and likely have some fired up folks. Give them special updates, make the group feel like they are apart of the team, and stop by member meetings find a group volunteer who can help keep the group up today. Ask for more help and keep your campaign at the top of their minds. Be the squeaky wheel, but be supportive and grateful as well.
5. Ask folks who are supporters at the door to do more and volunteer. The big secret to organizing is not being afraid to ask. I have found some of my best campaign volunteers by asking people to knock on doors with me, and it worked extremely well.
6. Find folks from the last good campaign in the area. When I was managing campaigns, I would find out who managed the last well-run campaign in town. I would call the managers and field organizers and ask them who their best volunteers were, then I would call them.
6. Pay a stipend to get more time from good volunteers. But be careful, paid staff can be great, but you need to make sure you have the budget to pay them.
7. Set real goals for canvassing and events. There is nothing like an ambitious goal and organizers competing to achieve it, to get campaigns moving.
8. Develop ways to draw out supporters for volunteer recruitment. Ask each of your regular volunteers to give you a list of 3 people they believe would make good volunteer recruitment prospects. Instruct your canvassers and phone bankers to slip in a “would you volunteer” question to the most enthusiastic people they encounter. Find ways to incorporate volunteer recruitment into the other aspects of your campaign.
Besides these tips, make sure you are staying organized and being clear with your volunteers. If you are not organized, you might be able to get volunteers to start, but you won't likely get them back.
Have questions about volunteer recruitment tactics? Ask them here.