In England, in 2013/14, 41% of people questioned reported volunteering at least once in the last year, and 27% volunteer at least once a month, this equates to 19.2 million and 12.7 million people respectively.*
So, the volunteers are out there, it is just a case of finding them now, and trust me, wandering aimlessly around the garden with a basket in hand is not going to help you! I think the key to finding volunteers is to understand people's motivations. I have detailed below some that I have experienced along with where I have had luck finding volunteers in the past.
1. 'Career advance-ers' - these are people who are looking to get experience in an office environment, or in a charity, you may also find stay at home mums who don't want to lose their skills whilst being out of the workplace fit into this category as well. Advertising your roles on traditional job sites are likely to pick up this group of people. You can place free volunteer adverts on www.charityjob.co.uk and www.gumtree.com
2. 'I heart your cause-ers' - your existing passionate supporters are often very keen to get involved and help out in alternative ways. Ensure you have a section on your website for current volunteering opportunities and consider a volunteering section in your newsletters/e-newsletters highlighting the value they can add to your organisation by giving their time.
3. 'What can I do this weekend-ers' - speaking to people face to face is a great way to promote fun, one off, volunteering activities, such as helping at events or cheering on runners. Universities often have volunteer fairs where you can have a stall for free as do local volunteer centres.
4. 'I'm a bit bored-ers' - this group of people are often retired, and are looking for ways to fill their time and make a difference to society. Some good ways to reach these people are: adverts in local papers, signs in libraries, announcements made at established community groups (U3A, Lions, Rotary, Townswomen's Guild etc.) and of course www.do-it.org
There are of course many other places to find volunteers, this is just a snapshot of where I have had success in the past. By understanding the motivations of those who are going to help you, you are more likely to find your golden egg volunteer!
Do feel free to get in touch with me if you want to have a chat about volunteering and your organisation.
* reference: institute of volunteering research