Much of the success of a charity can be attributed to the strength of its volunteers. The right volunteers bring a boost of energy to your mission, enabling your cause to reap the benefits of enthusiastic advocates working hard towards a common goal.

Of course, while the right volunteer can make an immense, positive difference to your charity, picking the wrong ones can spell disaster. The wrong volunteer could open you up to charges of volunteer misconduct and make it much harder to run your charity properly. While charity liability insurance is designed to protect you from such risks, recruiting the best help will prevent you ever having to face such a claim.

All this makes learning how to recruit volunteers, knowing where best to find them, and learning how to retain them all the more important. Here are our tips on how to make sure your charity has the best of the best.

How to find volunteers

Before you begin your search, first nail down what skillsets, knowledge, experience and values you’d like the ideal volunteer to have. Getting an idea – or a written-down description – of the type of people you’re looking for can help focus your efforts, so you’ll recognise the right person when you see them.

Much of charity work relies on word of mouth, so the next step is getting the word out. Print out leaflets, speak at volunteer events and fairs, and encourage any current volunteers to recommend the role to friends and family. Don’t forget to post details of the role on volunteer sites and social media and advertise in national or local press. Of course, if you know the type of person you’re looking for, targeting the places they frequent can help streamline your efforts.

How to attract volunteers

Once you’ve figured out how to find volunteers and where to target your efforts, put yourself on the road to volunteer success by learning more about the people you’re trying to recruit. When you’re considering how to attract volunteers, knowing what they’re looking for is key.

Offer what they want – whether that’s an easy application form, a social media handle to which they can direct enquiries, or a phone number they can call – to make it easier for them to approach you. Whatever your first-contact method, be responsive when volunteers make contact.

Then, help your potential volunteers out by making their duties and time commitment very clear. Offer some type of induction – from talking them through the role step-by-step on the phone to a full-day’s training – to help them comfortably settle into the role.

How to retain volunteers

Attracting volunteers also means working on your value proposition. What unique benefits can you offer that they can’t get elsewhere? What is it that makes your charity, or the role you’re offering, so more special than any others? Whether it’s a higher level of support, better CV-fodder, or more flexible working, think about what you can offer that’ll make a long-term difference to your volunteers.

A commitment to keeping your charity healthy can also help reassure and retain volunteers. A key element of keeping your charity protected is purchasing public liability insurance. It can provide essential financial backing to help defend against any claims you might face from the public, whether that’s damage to their property or injury to themselves. Charity liability insurance provides you with invaluable background support while simultaneously letting volunteers know you’re serious about running your organisation properly.

Whether you’re responsible for overall operations or are focused on volunteer recruitment and management, it’s easy to see the difference the right people can make. With enthusiastic, dedicated and passionate people behind you, your charity can only go from strength to strength.