There are few recruiting tools as effective as a well-written letter to potential volunteers. The expense of holding recruiting events, advertising in local newspapers and hiring marketing consultants makes letter writing the lifeblood of any charity. You need to learn how to write an effective letter asking for volunteers at the beginning of your nonprofit career.
- Skill level:
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Begin your letter asking for volunteers with a succinct message about the social problems your organization addresses. Use a pointed message about poverty, health problems and other community issues that would be reduced with the help of volunteers.
Explain the role of volunteers in your organization in the second paragraph of your letter. A written sketch of an active volunteer force that works on meaningful projects can catch the attention of skeptical community members.
Detail the specific steps a volunteer can take to help your organization when you write a letter requesting assistance. This section should feature phone numbers, websites and upcoming events a prospective volunteer can attend.
Target high-impact areas like universities and out-of-area organizations that share your causes. A simple website with mailing addresses and organization names like the National Consortium of Directors of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resources in Higher Education is ideal for focusing your letter-writing campaigns (see Resources below).
Reduce your mailing costs by following bulk business mailing rates for your letter. You can use the USPS business mail calculator to figure out the costs of sending sorted, unsorted and miscellaneous letters (see Resources below).
Increase the impact of your volunteer recruiting efforts by writing a letter to the editor. Adjust the content of your editorial letters to fit recent news in an effort to make your message relevant to the newspaper audience.
Insert staff testimonials into each letter you write asking for volunteers. These testimonials should be written to highlight the reasons why volunteers work with your organization, as well as major projects on which they have worked.
Organize an event to gather new volunteers who received your letter requesting assistance. This event should be designed with a question-and-answer session, as well as breakout groups with experienced volunteers to address applicant questions.
Tips and warnings
- Ease off of your regular request for financial assistance as you write letters asking for volunteers. A pledge insert into a volunteer letter allows the recipient to separate service requests from financial ones.
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