It is Small Charities Week in June, and it is this month that #TeamHerts Volunteering celebrates the work of Volunteer Managers and Coordinators. Anne Taylor is the Membership Support Co-ordinator for North Herts CVS, and she has been helping organisations with their recruitment methods and needs. She talks us through ‘a day in the life’ of a small charity.

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There are many ways organisation can find and recruit volunteers. However, recent research by the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) confirms that most volunteers found their opportunity from someone already involved with the charity.

This shows that word of mouth is one of the strongest marketing methods that charitable and voluntary organisations can utilise. This has important implications for your volunteer recruitment. Have you made all of your existing members aware of what you need? Have you asked them to spread the word around their own family, friends and other networks?

I have worked with North Herts CVS’s member groups for many years on many issues including volunteer recruitment. I talk to between 4 and 6 new volunteers every week, to help them to find opportunities that they will enjoy, and where they can really contribute something important. One of the things working well now is matching volunteers to member groups that I already know. Even if they aren’t actively promoting their volunteer roles, I often know just where a volunteer could fit in well, based on my existing knowledge of the sector in Hertfordshire. So, I guess for many people, I am that ‘someone else involved in the group’.

Volunteer Fairs can be a fantastic way to recruit via personal contact. For example, many of our member groups found new volunteers at the TeamHerts Volunteering Fair in Letchworth in January. I was introduced by one our trustees, to a friend of his who was a retired speech therapist looking for an opportunity to use her skills as a volunteer. I could tell her about the Hitchin Stroke Club and she is now happily volunteering with them, helping to devise and support activities to encourage post-stroke members to recover their social confidence and speech.

If you are struggling to find new volunteers and the online route hasn’t worked for you, don’t miss the often-untapped pool of people who already know your organisation via family and friends, or those who have benefitted from your services. Also, make sure you are there at the next TeamHerts Volunteering Fair!

If you have more questions for Anne, you can comment below or email annetaylor@nhcvs.org.uk.