Volunteer Recruitment Made Easy

Volunteer leaders are invited to review these recruitment resources to help bolster our community of dedicated leaders.
Michelle Song Michelle Song
Associate Volunteer Development Manager
July 28, 2022

The work of our existing dedicated volunteers is one of the many reasons we see our volunteer base growing each year. Many Mountaineers have shared how a positive experience with a volunteer or leader led them to pay it forward themselves, allowing us to provide more courses, trips, and programs for our membership. 

Adding new volunteer energy helps us stay fresh, ensures our volunteers are representative of our broader membership, and helps reduce burnout. However, we understand that volunteer recruitment is a job in and of itself on top of the many responsibilities our leaders take on. Below are some easy tools for our leaders to utilize as they work to bolster our community of volunteers: 

Connect with Recent Course Graduates

Many of our volunteers start as students in one of our courses. Reach out to course graduates directly after graduation to encourage them to return to instruct, lead, and volunteer. You can do so by accessing the course template roster. Some course graduates don’t know that they are able to instruct on courses after graduation or feel they may be unqualified to lead. Reach out and encourage course graduates to consider getting involved after graduation by sending this email template. The email template allows course instructors and leaders to easily modify the content to engage their course graduates. Students who are initially reluctant to instruct or lead can always gain confidence by being assured that it is a good way to pay it forward.

Keep Branch and Committee Pages Up-to-Date

Interested volunteers look to the committee and branch pages for more information to get involved, join events, and seek the right folks to get plugged in with. This resource is most helpful when the contact information or details on the committee page are current. Check out the following how-to’s on keeping branch and committee pages up-to-date:

Need help with a branch or committee page? Contact member services at info@mountaineers.org.

Roles Based on Interests vs. Availability

Curious how to help match a volunteer with a volunteer role based on their interests and availability? Check out the volunteer roles best suited for different interests and availability below.

To view a larger version, click on the  "pop-out" button on the top right corner of the image

Utilize the Volunteer Search

Volunteer Search is available to Mountaineers committee leaders and admins to help you recruit for your programs. Search results are populated based on submitted volunteer profiles. Use the volunteer search to find individuals for specific needs. We’ve found that our members love being approached by leaders who show interest in their skills and interests.

If you are looking for a larger group of people, email Member Services at info@mountaineers.org with a description of your search needs and they will provide you with a list.

Update Volunteer Profiles

Help committees and branches identify the people who will most enjoy volunteering for a particular task. Encourage students, trip participants, and aspiring volunteers to keep their volunteer profile updated. By keeping it updated, students, trip participants, and aspiring volunteers give our volunteer and staff leadership more information to get them plugged into volunteer opportunities.

Post a Blog Announcing Open Volunteer Opportunities

Over time, blogs have proven to be the single most effective tool we have to market our opportunities. We share all of our blogs on social media, on our main homepage, and on relevant branch homepages to help publicize the work done by and for our volunteers. Create a blog to announce open volunteer opportunities in your branch or committee. Unsure of how to start writing a blog? We have a how to add a blog guide for you to reference. The Volunteer Recruitment Template makes it easy for you to format your volunteer recruitment blog post, and check out these example volunteer recruitment blogs from over the years:

With over a thousand blogs already published, be sure to search our website for existing content before writing your own.

“Volunteers Needed” Tag

Some of the opportunities we have for our volunteers to get involved are listed in our Volunteers Needed page. If you’ve written a blog to announce a need for volunteers, tag your blogs with "Volunteers Needed" so that your volunteer postings show up on the page. Tags can be added in the “categorization” section of your blog. Find more info on how to categorize blog posts with tags

Don’t forget to share the "Volunteers Needed" page with course students, trip participants, and aspiring volunteers to get them connected with volunteer opportunities.

Share in our eNewsletters

Our eNewsletters are a great way to share your volunteer opportunities to both wide and targeted audiences. There are several different eNewsletters are sent out once a month to our membership to potentially promote in. 

Branch eNewsletters are designated emails to branch members with an overview of upcoming events, activities, courses, and more. All branches except Seattle offer one. Consider your branch's eNewsletter as an option to promote your volunteer opportunities. Send your volunteer opportunities for the next branch eNewlsetter with a title, date, short description of 60 words or less, and a link to your branch leadership team. Learn more about the workflow for branch emails.

LeaderLines is a eNewsletter sent to our volunteers and leaders at the end of each month. LeaderLines is one of the primary ways that we notify leaders with upcoming events, org-wide updates, and opportunities. Consider LeaderLines as an option to ask fellow volunteer leaders to help spread the word within their courses, committees, and branches. Send your volunteer opportunities with a title, date, short description, and a link to Michelle Song, staff Associate Volunteer Development Manager, to get it highlighted in the next LeaderLines. Learn more about LeaderLines.

Mentor a New Leader

Mentoring a new volunteer leader can be a beneficial tool to recruit and retain volunteers. Mentoring enhances the learning process by exposing the mentee to new perspectives and catered experiences. Attract and keep volunteers in your committee and branch by offering mentored trips and adding new mentored leaders to the committee roster. There are a few features on our website to help committees track and onboard new leaders. Check out the tools available to help track and manage leaders as they go through the mentoring process.

Direct Aspiring Volunteers to Different Opportunities

There are many ways in which folks can volunteer at The Mountaineers, from providing administrative support, to managing a course program, to helping out a single event. Direct course graduates, trip participants, new members, and aspiring volunteers to our Volunteer With Us page to help them get connected to an opportunity that fits their interests and availability. Aspiring volunteers will find detailed information on the wide variety of opportunities that are available at The Mountaineers.

Make Leadership Pathways More Transparent

Aspiring volunteers in many of our activities find it challenging to understand and navigate the requirements to becoming a leader in their activity. One strength of our programs is that they’re tailored to local branch communities, but when the process to becoming a leader varies by activity and branch, it can create confusion.

Transparency about the process is necessary to encourage those who are interested in leadership opportunities, and a lack of it creates a perception of needing to “know the right people and make the right connections” to have a role as a leader in The Mountaineers. A well-documented and accessible leader pathway is a critical step towards inviting new volunteers into the club. It also helps volunteers and staff point aspiring leaders in the right direction, and is an important step towards increasing equity and inclusion. Representation matters, and as we aspire to be a club where everyone truly feels welcome in the outdoors, our leadership pathways need to be open to new voices. Check out this blog post on Fostering Clear Pathways to Leadership and examples to clear the path.

Thank You

We are grateful to all of our leaders who have volunteered their time to help others experience the natural world safely and responsibly. The skills and knowledge you share with our community impacts every inch of our organization. Thank you for your dedication to The Mountaineers mission, as well as your enthusiasm for fulfilling our core values of adventure, advocacy, community, education, and volunteerism.

Lead Image by Steve McClure.

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