High Skilled Volunteers Are An Untapped Market You Should Be Tapping

Traditional volunteering where an organization has needs, posts those needs and interviews based on those needs has always been the way most volunteer coordinators manage their volunteer program but things are changing drastically.

High unemployment rates and early retirement is breeding a new kind of volunteer. This volunteer is highly skilled and wants to both use those skills and learn new skills. Are you ready for this kind of volunteer?

Why am I writing about this? I am not sure if volunteer coordinators are addressing this opportunity to its maximum potential?

Here are a few suggestions that you can do to attract, place and retain these types of volunteers?

Have a plan and create a model of success by creating buy-in from your staff and current volunteers

Know what is out there and where you can access high skilled volunteers and target market

Be able to demonstrate to the volunteer how you can support their journey with them and why and how they can make a difference

Look for opportunities from within to create interesting projects that they can work on

Share stories of success internally and externally

Be creative and find new venues to recruit

Shift your interview process into a conversation so that you and the volunteer can learn from each other and find common ground and opportunities

Understand the motivation of the volunteer so that you are both clear about expectations

Build a team that can guide the process of change and attract key members that can lead through enthusiasm

Remove obstacles by developing a strategy for engagement and assessing and addressing the risks involved

Change any necessary systems or structures that will create obstacles to success (application process, interview process, training etc….)

Develop performance measures and evaluate success and challenges so that you can accurately understand effectiveness and efficiency in your program


Create short term win and celebrate and tell stories

Finally, don’t give up…ask for advice….learn from each other

Feel free to contact me at lorigotliebconsulting@gmail.com for more information or advice


2 thoughts on “High Skilled Volunteers Are An Untapped Market You Should Be Tapping

  1. Very timely advice Lori. I had a client last week that has no problem recruiting volunteers to do more routine tasks or to help stage and support events. They also have had success in recruiting a cadre of volunteers into core leadership positions. As we chatted about their ongoing development we segued into retention and volunteer satisfaction. This organization had not really focused on volunteer position designed for highly skilled volunteers targeted to meet the organizations emerging needs. This is one of their logical next strategic steps to enhance and grow their volunteer engagement strategy and menu of volunteer opportunities.

  2. Hi!
    I’ve also found that these “types” of volunteers have a lot of contacts. I recently spent a great deal of time cultivating a relationship with a coach at a large university. Not only did we reap the benefit of that team’s involvement, the coach spread the word within the school about the good experience the players had volunteering. Every volunteer who has a good experience tells others.
    It’s a great deal of work creating projects, forging relationships, and getting the buy in from staff. The work is worth it, but you have to be up for putting in some real extra hours. Thanks!

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