Compile Application Forms

You may receive volunteer applications through recruitment drives or school initiatives. Still, it’s important to have a volunteer hub for potential volunteers to find your organization and apply online. Application forms should ask for contact information, availability, special skills, interests, reasons for volunteering, and anything else relevant to your volunteer opportunities. If you have an online application process via volunteer management software, it should be simple to change up the application to suit the positions you are offering. The goal of your initial volunteer intake form is to capture interest, so try to only ask questions that really matter. A form should be a way to set expectations for the volunteer, but you also don’t want to deter potential candidates.

Read through the applications and decide which ones would be best suited for your volunteer positions based on the information they’ve provided. There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you have the right opportunity for a volunteer. Just make sure you communicate the process and timeline clearly.

Run Background Checks

If your volunteer positions involve handling money or working with children or other at-risk people, background checks are often mandatory. The consent can be asked for on the application and obtained fairly quickly.

This would also be the time to check applicant references or any other checklist items to coincide with a background check.

Conduct a Volunteer Interview

Once you have your initial candidates vetted, you’ll want to speak with them directly to determine if and how they fit into your organization. If possible, try to interview candidates in person so you can get a good feel for their mannerisms, but online or even on the phone will work if an in-person interview isn’t possible.

Asking the right questions is crucial, as well as keeping the interview professional yet not too formal. After all, these are important positions, but you also need to help them feel at ease and actually want to volunteer with your organization if given the opportunity. Allow them to chat a bit about themselves and general topics before you move into the questions. You’ll learn a lot from this unstructured conversation. Ask any questions you feel are essential to know about your volunteers, but here are some volunteer interview questions that you should ask no matter what:

Why would you like to volunteer with our organization? Some volunteers are simply there to gain volunteer hours. This doesn’t mean they’ll do a bad job — but you want to attempt to find volunteers whose values align with your organization. These people will likely stick around longer, too!
Do you prefer to work independently or as a team? If you have positions to fill that require people to work independently, this may help you fill those roles. However, generally, you should be looking for people who skew more towards being team players to help achieve a cohesive team.
What have you enjoyed about your previous volunteer work — and what did you not enjoy? This question helps give you a feel for what type(s) of positions they’d be good at and the ones that don’t match up to their skill levels. It also helps filter out anyone who may not be a good fit based on what they didn’t enjoy.
How much time are you looking to volunteer? This is an important question because you may have the perfect position for a particular person, but they won’t work out if they can’t commit to the hours. This question may also give you insight into whether they’re looking to volunteer as a one-time event or an ongoing volunteer within your organization.

With Timecounts, you can compile all the information you receive from your volunteers in one easy piece of volunteer management software! The online application process (which can be custom-tailored to your organization), extra details, logged volunteer time, volunteer scheduling, and anything else you need can be found with a few easy clicks. This volunteer database also offers an easy way for volunteers to coordinate and check their own information. Start now for free!