by Eric Shirley
“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
This colloquial saying emphasises the complacency that can settle in when practices become stagnant or outdated. Considering how busy coordinators of volunteers are, it’s easy to fall into the habit of using the same recruitment practices year after year, especially if they are successful! The voluntary sector is always changing and here are four global trends that will effect recruitment practices.
The first trend is distraction, as the demand for volunteers’ attention has never been more competitive. With social media being a draw 24/7, non-profits have by in large reacted by creating their own social media pages. The ability to break through the noise and find what engages volunteers to your organization is key. Online tracking tools like google analytics can be used to facilitate that process. Beware of slacktivism! Slacktivism occurs when small actions such as ‘liking’ a page on Facebook replace the donation of time that historically would have taken place.
The second trend is employment pressures. Employment in a region goes through cycles, but permanent full time work has become tougher to come by with many part time or contract work filling the void. While initially it may translate to more youth looking to get experience through volunteerism, it also means that there is a high volunteer turnover with stable employment being the main goal of the volunteers. Allowing irregular shifts to fit with a work schedule may be more appropriate.
The third trend is the availability of retirees. In previous generations senior volunteers were the most sought after to fill volunteer requirements for organizations. Today the availability of this segment has shrunk and become a less reliable source of volunteers. Often cited as a main reason for this is the 2008 financial crisis, which diminished the retirement savings and delayed retirement thus limiting the free time that some seniors have.
Transience is the last trend. Globalization has made it more likely for well-educated professionals to travel internationally for employment. Since Canada is viewed as an employment destination, this is a great opportunity for organizations to recruit professionals into the organization. Additionally due to the rise in online opportunities, someone halfway around the world can provide a knowledge base to an organization so long as there is an internet connection.
Volunteer recruitment is an essential component of a successful volunteer management program. To learn more, come to our Volunteer Management 101 course.
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