“A different way of thinking about how you recruit.” Director of Useability, Penny York, drives a dynamic discussion on one of the core concerns for the sector.

At The Centre, we make it our mission to address the issues that matter to you. Like how volunteer recruitment strategies and retention isn’t what it used to be. Even without the pandemic, new technologies, a lack of time, and disrupted communities have made it difficult to find the support we need.

For us at The Centre, we’ve found that our collaborative approach allows us to support volunteer teams across the state. When we come together, we can come to solutions – which is we introduced our Volunteer Spotlight Sessions.

Facilitated discussions where you can bring questions, brainstorm and be heard amongst peers? We couldn’t ask for a better way to bring the sector together than that. But that’s not all…

The success of these sessions is everyone’s involvement

Last month, we invited subject matter expert and Director of Useability, Penny York, to lead a Spotlight Session on Volunteer Recruitment and Retention. In case you missed it, here’s what we learnt:

Your Challenges

  • Connecting with volunteers, especially Youth volunteers, is increasingly difficult.
    • “It’s scary, but it’s amazing,” says one peer, as they talk about the possibilities of Facebook ads. They offer “targeted and cheap” opportunities to reach out to your intended audiences.
    • You can learn how to develop a Social Media Strategy on our Knowlege Base.
  • Safety requirements and risk assessment checks make volunteer recruitment and flexibility harder.
    • “Sometimes there is room to challenge these,” says Penny York. “If it’s micro-volunteering, do you need to be as vigilant?”
    • One peer suggests checking the Office of the Children’s Guardian website for exemptions. “You might just find that there are ways you can engage people…and not break any of the regulations from the governing body.”
  • The decision on whether to use Police Checks or Working With Children Checks is not an easy one.

Our Takeaways

  • Virtual engagement is your best friend.
    • Using social media, targeted ads, QR codes, and options to work from home are great ways to connect with volunteers.
    • “In terms of communication and engagement,” says one peer, when discussing how to support retention in a digital set-up, “it needs to be more deliberate.”
  • Micro-volunteering and flexibility are in demand.
    • Wherever possible, being able to accommodate the individual needs of your volunteers is a key driver for recruitment and retention.
    • Some peers suggested reaching out to university students to provide support while full-time working adults aren’t available.
    • “That’s what the research shows,” says Penny York. “Autonomy is really valued by the virtual volunteers.”

Last Remarks

Volunteer recruitment may be challenging, but through collaboration and making the most of our available resources, it’s not impossible.

Ultimately, “it’s about thinking strategically,” says Penny York. “We’ve got to do something different.”

Dive deeper into what she can offer with her modules on how to Recruit and Retain Volunteers. They offer “a building process so that by the last module you are in the position…to develop a strategy,” according to Penny York, who recommends you start with the Retain modules.

We need to put our focus on retaining volunteers.

More Resources

Stay tuned for more workshops and Spotlight sessions on our Upcoming Events page – or better yet, subscribe to our Professional Development newsletter so you never miss an opportunity.

In the meantime, access industry-standard information, resources, templates and more on our Knowledge Base. Check it out today.

Director of Useability Penny York appears in a phone screen, smiling, next to her company logo.