Know Your Volunteers To Drive Better Volunteers


According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, approximately 25.4% of Americans over the age of 16 volunteered in some capacity between 2009, and 2013. And nonprofits everywhere are looking for ways to make this number go up.

Whether it’s through public out reach, word of mouth, or online recruitment, finding the best and brightest volunteers is difficult. Getting them in the door initially is one thing, while getting them to stay seems to be even more difficult.

Whatever volunteer problem your nonprofit might be tasked with solving, bringing in more volunteers, with better resumes is always (or at least should always) be at the top of your list.


Because, according to the Independent Sector, on average, an hour of a volunteer’s time is equivalent to paying an employee $22.55 in wages. And that number only goes up when the qualifications of the volunteer goes up.

So how do you find better volunteers? And how do you keep those same outstanding volunteers coming back to give their time to your nonprofit time and time again?

Here are a few ideas to get you started, but let us know how your nonprofit manages to retain its volunteers.

  • Define your target audience

    Chances are good there is a specific type of person who’s typically spending their time volunteering for your nonprofit. Whether it’s their gender, age, or income level, there is almost definitely a consistent theme that runs among the majority of your volunteers. Identify that consistency, then define who your ideal volunteer is.

  • Create user profiles

    When defining your ideal volunteer, you’ll want to create a user persona, or profile. What a user persona does is takes who you’re looking to target and humanizes them. It represents your target audience more concretely and helps you better understand ways to relate to that person.

    You need to get specific. Nothing is off limits when developing these profiles. Try coming up with what this persona looks like, their occupation, salary, education, their job title, even what their fears are. All of this information and more will help your nonprofit target and obtain better volunteers.

  • Target your recruiting messaging

    Now that you know exactly which volunteers you’re trying to attract to your nonprofit, target the call-to-action copy on your email blasts, website copy, and social media feeds that will appeal to that demographic. Ensure that copy is catering to the emotions, needs, and desires of the persona profile you created.

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