learning to read

3 tips for recruiting adult literacy volunteers

As a non-profit organization with a limited staffing budget, volunteers are one of your most valuable resources – and for good reason. Volunteers can provide specialized skillsets, help increase literacy program offerings in your community, and improve support to your learners.

Although there’s no doubt about the benefits that volunteers provide, recruiting them can be difficult. Here are three tips to recruit and retain the best adult literacy volunteers for your organization.

Get ready

To recruit quality volunteers, your organization should have a clear understanding of its volunteer needs. Meet with Board members, staff and current volunteers to identify skill shortages and overwhelming workloads.

Your volunteer job description should accurately describe the role so that you can attract the best-suited candidates. When you recruit volunteers, ensure your organization has an effective onboarding process. Whether it’s a volunteer handbook or a formal in-person training session, volunteer onboarding helps recruits efficiently begin their positions. Plus, it shows that you’re an organization that invests time into its training process.

Make volunteering enjoyable

In many cases, volunteers already work a job where they may face high levels of stress and job demands. They want to volunteer somewhere that offers enjoyment, an opportunity to learn new skills, and self-fulfillment.

Create a work environment where volunteers can have fun and develop personal, emotional and professional connections. Plan onboarding activities that encourage such relationships and instill a sense of belonging. To further create a positive atmosphere, consider investing in employee perks that volunteers can access, celebrate their birthdays, and hold team-building events.

Adopt technology

Use social media to promote your organization’s volunteer opportunities and communicate with interested candidates. Make applying to volunteer positions as easy as possible. Include the volunteer application on your website, make the application mobile-friendly, and promptly respond to any queries about the role.

Additionally, you can leverage free job boards on sites like Charity Village, which is the leading site for non-profit news and jobs.

Offer online volunteer opportunities to attract busy professionals who have limited time outside of their current work and family commitments. Besides being more cost-effective, offering online volunteer opportunities leads to a higher potential pool of volunteer candidates. Plus, the ability to complete certain duties remotely – such as literacy program research, special events planning or program facilitation – can make volunteering for your organization more appealing.

How to retain adult literacy volunteers

When you do attract volunteers and get them trained, your next challenge is to retain them. One of the best ways of doing so is to show appreciation for their work and reward their achievements. Highlighting accomplishments helps maintain high motivation levels amongst volunteers, instills a sense of pride in their volunteer work, and creates an environment that they will want to return to.

Examples of recognition initiatives range from personally thanking volunteers for their efforts to holding yearly appreciation events.

The bottom line

To attract and retain quality adult literacy volunteers, your organization needs to have a solid recruitment strategy in place. There are always countless volunteer opportunities competing for volunteers, so make your organization’s offerings stand out. Most importantly, ensure your volunteers’ efforts never go unnoticed.

For free literacy resources and training for volunteer facilitators, check out these valuable program offerings.