Non-Profit Resources


Warm Body Recruitment

When you need a large number of volunteers for a short period time and the qualifications of the task are minimal, you might engage in "warm body recruitment." This involves a broad dissemination of information, including:

  • Distribution of brochures
  • Posters
  • Speaking to groups
  • Notices in appropriate media
  • Word of Mouth

Targeted Recruitment

The targeted campaign requires a carefully planned approach to a small audience. Use this method when you are trying to recruit volunteers that need to have specific skills or not commonly found characteristics.

A targeted campaign requires, at the outset, that you answer several questions:

  • What do we need?
  • Who could provide this?
  • How can we communicate with them?
  • What would motivate them?

Working through such questions will help you identify and locate the volunteers that you need. Once you locate a source of such volunteers, simply take your recruitment message directly to them.

Concentric Circles Recruitment

This type of recruitment requires you to identify populations who are already in direct or indirect contact with your organization and then to contact them with your recruiting message. Such populations include:

  • Your clients, their families and relatives.
  • Alumni of your program/s.
  • Friends of your current volunteers and staff.
  • People in your organization's neighborhood.
  • People who have been affected by the problem you are attempting to solve.

Concentric Circles recruitment involves people who are already familiar with your agency or the problem you address, or who are connected through friends or staff members. It is more likely that you will succeed in persuading them to volunteer than complete strangers. In sales terms, there is a big difference between a "cold" call to a stranger than a "warm" call to an acquaintance or a friend.

Time and the Volunteer

  1. Revisit volunteer position descriptions from a time perspective.  Ask why volunteer work is structured the way it is now.
  2. Identify time wasters and do something about them.  Every meeting requires commute time, so perhaps it would make sense to hold fewer but longer meetings, focusing time spent on what’s important (group discussion).
  3. Meet multiple needs.  Busy people make choices and gravitate to activities that accomplish more than one thing on their to-do list.
    • Meeting new friends (possibly single new friends!) – especially important for prospective volunteers new to a community or recently divorced or widowed.
    • Learning something new while volunteering that, in turn, will be helpful in the person’s paying job or look good on a resume for future job hunting.
    • Being able to volunteer with one’s children as a family activity, rather than having to make the choice of spending even less time parenting than now.
    • Simply having fun – time-deprived folks need a recreational outlet (by the way, it’s possible to do hard work and still have fun!).

4. Stop rewarding hours contributed and start honoring service provided.  One way we imply that we value loads of time is to give recognition for 100 hours,  2 years, or other intensive service or longevity.  By all means continue to thank such devotion.  But understand the message this sends to new volunteers:  give us more, more, more!  Instead, focus appreciation on tasks completed (reorganized the center’s library, ran 10 holiday parties, mentored 178 teenagers).  Create awards such as “Did the Most in the Least Amount of Time Medal” or “Most Effect Short-term Project Award” to celebrate those who accomplished something on your behalf even if episodically.


You will:

  • Feel good about yourself and others
  • Grow
  • Receive work experience
  • Connect with others who will help amplify your impact
  • Develop priorities
  • Learn
  • Develop personal growth & spiritual fulfillment
  • Produce


  • The individual needs of volunteers often need to be met with immediacy, and often in the midst of a myriad of other activities.
  • Effective time management is the key to not only finding the successful blend between the needs of the volunteers and the volunteer program, but more importantly to avoiding burn out of volunteer program managers.
  • The first thing we all need to do is ask ourselves questions about where our priorities lie in relation to the effective management of our time. For example, do you drop everything every time a volunteer knocks on your door with a problem, or do you have no time for volunteers and their concerns at all?
  • Secondly we need to develop ways in which we can manage our time effectively to achieve our organizational goals while at the same time meeting our own personal goals and the intrinsic needs of our volunteer workforce. A simple analysis of our work practices to determine what we spend the majority of our time doing, coupled with the question "Is this the best use of my time?", will help create a starting point for time management reform in your workplace.

Liability and Risk Management

Volunteer Protection Act

The new law (42 USCA Sec. 14501 et seq.) generally provides that volunteers will not be personally liable for their acts or omissions if they are acting within the scope of their responsibility for the organization and the harm is "not caused by willful or criminal misconduct, gross negligence, reckless misconduct, or a conscious, flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed."

How does the new Act work?

A volunteer is not personally liable for harm that he or she caused if the volunteer was (1) acting within the scope of his or her responsibilities, (2) was "properly licensed, certified, or authorized by the appropriate authorities" to act in such manner "if appropriate or required," (3) did not fall below the minimum standard of conduct described above, and (4) was not operating "a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other vehicle" for which the state requires an operators license or insurance.

The protection does not apply to misconduct that constitutes a crime of violence or terrorism (for which the volunteer is criminally convicted) or a hate crime (whether or not convicted). In addition, there is no protection for sexual offenses (for which the volunteer is criminally convicted), for civil rights violations, or for acts that occurred when the volunteer was under the influence of "intoxicating alcohol" or drugs.

Diversity Training

Responsibility of Agency

It does not matter if the senior manager is called a CEO, an ED, or something else. The primary responsibilities are the same.

  • Develop the workplan that will frame the implementation of the strategic plan. This includes the tasks to be done, lead staff person or unit, resources needed, timeline, and expected outcomes.
  • Recruit, train, and supervise senior management staff, supporting them all as a functioning leadership team.
  • Make sure that the organizational structure and staffing model is appropriate for the work to be done. For example, in a large community drop-in with many programs for low-income people, there might need to be a branch that oversees the direct client service and another branch that provides the administrative and property support services.
  • Oversee the development and delivery of client services to ensure that service outcomes are consistent with the mission and the strategic plan.
  • Oversee all human resources management to ensure that qualified staff are hired and supervised to provide both the client services and the administrative and property support services.
  • Oversee financial management, including budget preparation, ensuring all reports are submitted to government and funders, and accessing funding grants.
  • Liaise with, and support the board administration, providing it with regular progress reports on the strategic plan, emerging issues, and proposals for new initiatives.

These responsibilities are carried out using the four basic management functions of planning, organizing, directing, and controlling.

Responsibility of Volunteer

  • Be prompt and reliable in reporting for scheduled work. Keep accurate records of your hours worked.
  • Attend orientation and training sessions scheduled.
  • Be considerate, respect the ability of the staff, and work as a member of the team.
  • Notify your supervisor as early as possible if you are unable to work as scheduled.
  • Carry out assignments in good spirit and seek the assistance of your supervisor in any situation requiring special guidance.
  • Have the ability to work with a culturally diverse population of clients.
  • Accept the right of the agency to dismiss any volunteer for poor performance, including poor attendance.
  • If you have criticism about another person, convey it to your supervisor.
  • Decline work that is not acceptable to you and maintain an open mind with regard to other people's standards and values.
  • Communicate personal limitations — acceptable out-of-pocket costs, transportation needs, time constraints, etc.
  • Provide feedback, suggestions, and recommendations to your supervisor and staff if these might increase the effectiveness of the program.
  • Give written notice if you cannot continue in your volunteer position or if you are requesting a leave of absence from the program.
  • Respect current agency policies (i.e. Affirmative Action, Sexual Harassment, etc.)