How to write a volunteer letter of recommendation

Updated March 23, 2017

A letter of recommendation offers an organisation a glimpse into the life, personality and qualifications of its perspective volunteers. When your friend or co-worker asks you to write them a volunteer letter of recommendation, they give you the chance to showcase their skills and abilities in the best possible light. Clarify what organisation your friend is volunteering for before you begin writing your letter, so you can focus on your friend's skills that best relate to the organisation.

Open your letter with a brief greeting and identify your relationship to the volunteer. For example, if you are writing a letter of recommendation for a close friend, state how long you have known each other. If the letter is for a co-worker, explain what work you do together. You could say, "I have been close friends with Sally for eight years" or "I have worked with John as a consultant for six months."

Share why you believe the candidate would be a qualified volunteer for the organisation. Offer a brief overview of why your friend is perfect for the volunteer position. For example, if he has previous volunteer experience, state what work he has done and with what organisation. If your friend does not have volunteer experience, list a few of his positive characteristics. You could say, "Eric is very loyal and hardworking" or "Ashley is a fast learner with a positive attitude."

List a specific example where your friend made a difference. This demonstrates that your friend not only has strong personality characteristics that would benefit an organisation, but also that she knows how to use these skills in different situations. For example, you could discuss a time your friend helped an elderly neighbour chop firewood for the winter, an afternoon your friend ran errands for a mother with small children or an instance at work your friend made a quick decision that made a difference.

Avoid exaggeration in your note. While it may be easy to try to flaunt your friend as the best candidate for the volunteer job, realise that lying benefits no one. Keep your facts simple and to-the-point. If your friend has no previous volunteer experience, that is fine, but don't make something up in hopes of bettering her chances for the position.

Close your letter with gratitude and grace. Thank the readers for their time and for considering your friend for the position. Sign your name.

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