<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-6PVX" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"></iframe> Ask the Right Questions to Recruit the Right Volunteers

Ask the Right Questions to Recruit the Right Volunteers

123ContactForm Officially Supports #GivingTuesday
November 14, 2013
Google Checkout discontinued
Google Checkout is Now Shut Down: Best Alternative Payment Processors for Your Web Forms
November 20, 2013

Ask the Right Questions to Recruit the Right Volunteers

puzzle volunteers

This is a guest post by:

Shari Ilsen is Senior Online Communications Manager at VolunteerMatch, the Web’s largest volunteer engagement network. She uses online technology to help almost 100,000 nonprofits across the country connect with millions of volunteers every day. Catch up with Shari on Twitter @silsen.

123ContactForm is supporting #GivingTuesday! To honor this great initiative happening across the world, we are hosting a series of articles dedicated to nonprofits everywhere. Thank you, Shari for writing this!

At VolunteerMatch, we’re all about helping nonprofit organizations find the right volunteers. We focus on the quality of the match being made, so the connection between volunteer and nonprofit will last a lifetime even if the event itself only lasts one day.

You want your questions to be friendly yet thorough, so you present a welcoming face to your prospective volunteers, but also glean enough information to determine if it will be a good fit. I consulted with the experts on the VolunteerMatch Community Support team, who manage our Community-Powered Support page (thanks Shannon and Adam!) Here’s some advice they provided:This kind of meaningful, comfortable connection doesn’t happen automatically, however. It takes some magic on our end, and also some strategy and intention on the part of the nonprofit organization. We’ve learned that open and direct communication is critical at the beginning of a nonprofit-volunteer relationship, and the questions nonprofits ask can set the tone moving forward.

To streamline the logistics of your volunteer program:

  • What is your phone number?
  • What days/times are you available?
  • Do you have a driver’s license?
  • Are you willing to complete a drug test, TB test, get fingerprinted, etc.? (This is necessary when working with vulnerable populations.)
  • Can you attend a volunteer orientation/training on one of the following dates (…)?
  • What is your T-shirt size? (So you don’t have to ask later…)

To learn more about the volunteer’s background or inform future recruitment efforts:

  • Why do you want to volunteer with us? What are your own goals for your involvement? (Be careful not to discriminate if the volunteer says they are being required to serve. Read this post for more info)
  • Are you currently volunteering anywhere else? If so, where?
  • Where else have you volunteered in the past?
  • What other ways, if any, have you found volunteer opportunities?
  • In what capacity have you previously worked with (children, elderly, animals, etc.)?
  • Do you prefer working individually or with others?
  • What additional professional or technical skills do you have?
  • Do you speak any other languages?
  • Are you looking for a long or short-term commitment?

Tools to Ask the Right Questions

  • Forms and surveys are quick and easy ways to ask the right questions of volunteer candidates. Check out 123ContactForm’s template here.
  • Nothing is as effective as real-life contact, so don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and conduct a short, informal interview with your potential volunteer. You can even ask them to come into the office for an in-person meeting. If they make the trip, you know they’re really interested.
  • Finally, if you have VolunteerMatch’s premium “Community Leader” service, you’re able to add custom questions to the automatic recruiting process, so you can quickly scan the answers of all of the potential volunteers who have expressed interest and pick out the ones who are they best fit.

What questions do you ask potential volunteers to make sure they are a good fit? Leave your answer in the comments, and I’ll give you a code for three free months of VolunteerMatch’s premium Community Leader recruiting service!

Guest Blogger
Guest Blogger
These posts come from our awesome users, integration partners and friends in the blogosphere who occasionally come to write for the 123ContactForm Blog.


  1. What have you heard about volunteering with xxx program that interests you?

    What are you hoping to get out of volunteering with us?

  2. Shari Ilsen says:

    Hi Carol – thanks for sharing! This is a great addition. It’s important to get an idea of why your volunteers are motivated to volunteer, and what preconceptions they may be coming into the opportunity with. What are the most common answers to these questions you receive in your volunteer screening? And have you gotten any really unusual/funny ones you’d like to share?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *