I have read many articles on volunteer recruitment. They all suggest making announcements; writing interesting articles, craft catchy blog posts and spend hours networking. However, the volunteer response is still slow. Last Saturday, I had an interesting conversation with a friend and an outreach coordinator for the Baltimore City public schools system. I asked, “What is it that makes volunteer recruitment challenging?” During the conversation three simple things to try were suggested. One, make a personal ask. Two, motivate people to volunteer and lastly, have confidence as a leader, knowing that “no” does not mean never.
Jessica Paguirigan, the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator with Frederick Department of Aging Meals on Wheels program is doing just this. Jessica recruits volunteers to deliver meals to qualified seniors living in Frederick County. She is asking Frederick organizations to help recruit volunteers which is expanding her reach. By directly asking these organizations to hand out volunteer applications; provide the opportunity to speak at events, and publicize program materials, Jessica has been able to recruit 17 new volunteers who have helped 136 clients. These 17 volunteers puts her at a little over half of her recruitment goal. As a further result of this expansion, she has established two new delivery routes in Middletown and Lewistown Maryland.
Jessica is well aware of the needs of her organization; clients, volunteers, and how these needs fit in with the mission of the Meals on Wheels program. She is people driven, full of motivation and able to capture the attention of the volunteers she comes in contact with. She possesses the understanding that volunteers are passion driven, looking to make impact and improve the circumstances of others’ lives. Giving up is not an options and she is steadfast in her role, “Although we may not be the right fit for an interested volunteer at this point, that does not mean we never will. Timing is everything,” Jessica stated. Although recruitment presents a challenge for Jessica, she continues to find ways to get her recruitment message noticed.