Reflecting on Recruitment

We just finished our first Elements of Volunteer Engagement course for September. It was a great group of new volunteer managers and I was happy to be presenting one of my favourite sections of the course, Recruitment Messages. It’s one of my favourites because it’s creative and it’s a place I can share a bit of my sense of humour. I also think it’s a great way to really showcase what’s unique and interesting about our organizations.

Recruitment messaging doesn’t need to take a lot of time. My very first job here at Volunteer Calgary was reviewing Volunteer Postings that our members posted to the database. I saw the various messages used and I saw the phrase “we need volunteers” hundreds of times. You may need volunteers, but the individual reading this on the Volunteer Calgary website already knows this. They are looking for a bit more.

 First of all, like anyone, volunteers want to see themselves in the role. They wonder, what’s in it for me? Will I be able to get the experience I need? How will I be able to make a difference for the cause that I care about? I think those are the first things we should lead with. I read the volunteer postings on our database today and I see many more invitations to join a team or a cause, to learn something new, to make friends. Those are the kinds of ads I think volunteers respond to. Sure, you still need to provide details, but think first of who might be interested in a volunteer role such as this one and write the ad just for them.

I can still remember how it felt to read my job description when it was posted on the Volunteer Calgary website. I looked at the position description, reflected on the team culture it talked about and the organizations I would get to work with and I wanted the job. I could see myself in the role. It’s been six years and that effective recruitment ad has allowed me to spend my days feeling fulfilled and making a difference. Somewhere there’s an individual who will read your position ad, who will volunteer with your organization and who will make the difference you want to be in our community. Craft your recruitment message like it’s just written for them!

Janet Burstall, Community Development Manager at Volunteer Calgary

Though Janet is a pretty popular persona in the world of volunteerism in Calgary, we thought we’d introduce her to those of you who have not had the pleasure of being acquainted with her. She’s been simply amazing sharing valuable tidbits of knowledge with volunteer managers in this blog!  Without further ado, everyone, meet Janet:

Janet is passionate about volunteer involvement. She has worked with Volunteer Calgary for 6 years and is currently in the role of Managing Training Development as a Community Development Manager. An admitted keener, Janet is proudly pursuing her certification in volunteer administration. Her experience as a volunteer ranges from executive board member to volunteer pianist.

Now that you’ve met Janet, feel free to leave a nice comment for her every now and then. =)


About Propellus

Propellus is a non-profit organization that has been empowering organizations since 1955. Through a dynamic range of consulting, training and member services, it helps organizations envision and realize new paths, practices and possibilities. Propellus guides, mentors and educates clients, arming them with tools and resources to help boost organizational effectiveness. Propellus strengthens organizations; in doing so, it leads the way toward building thriving communities.
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3 Responses to Reflecting on Recruitment

  1. Martha Willson says:

    Hi Janet,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog ! Thanks for a concise, clear and engaging message.

    And the fine looking people across the top of the message are memorable too. Is that one fellow sporting a kilt?



  2. Janet says:

    Thanks Martha! I think that a kilt in Calgary at this time of year might be a little treacherous!

    Volunteer Calgary is so fortunate to have an engaged and supportive board that truly values the profession of volunteer management and volunteer engagement.

  3. Diana Powell says:

    Hi Janet! Congratulations on you new blog I think it’s fantastic. Great ideas and an excellent opportunity to connect with our members and all Volunteer Managers.
    I’m excited about presenting our next Elements of Volunteer Engagement course next week. It’s another full house and I’m looking forward to it!

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