VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


Visit this page for ideas, suggestions and hints to build recruitment capacity.
~September 2001~
  • E-Mail and Recruiting
  • A Letter From Cissy
  • What is it Those 20-somethings Want?
  • Listening is a Skill
  • Avoid Interview Listening Traps

There is grief throughout the world for those lost and injured by terrorist attacks. But, there are also thanks for outpourings of love, condolence, sympathy, and encouragement from family, friends and neighbors from Sri Lanka to Sydney to Sacramento, and Sweden.

"Now let us thank the Eternal Power: convinced
That Heaven but tries our virtue by affliction.
That oft the cloud which wraps the present hour
Serves but to brighten all our future days."
John Brown 1715-1766

E-Mail and Recruiting

E-mail and recruiting seem like a bad connection. But, the wise use of e-mail can help streamline the recruiting efforts. Here are some ideas to help you make use of electronic mail.

1. Get an e-mail address specifically for recruiting. Talk with the technical people in your organization to see if you can have an e-mail address specifically for dealing with recruiting. This is the address listed on the Web site, recruiting brochures, and advertisements. Thus, general business e-mail is not mixed with information related to recruiting.
2. Design an automatic response to any inquiries. If you have a specific e-mail address for recruiting, create an automatic response that thanks the person and tells them about what happens next in the recruiting process. This means that if you can't get to your e-mail for a few days, a prospective volunteer is not in limbo wondering if their note to you is floating in cyberspace. Many volunteers report offering to give service and organizations not responding.
3. Create folders. Lots of folks fail to use folders to store information. Folders are a way of organizing incoming and outgoing mail. They could be organized by alpha for last name, initial inquiry, type of position they seek, or date of correspondence. You need to think how you organize information on prospective volunteers now and translate it into a system of folders in your e-mail program that makes the most sense.
4. Pretty it down. There are loads of e-mail programs that allow the use of fancy fonts and colors. Do not use these features. You do not know the capabilities of your receivers, in this case, prospective volunteers. Use the KISS philosophy. Keep It Simple Sweetheart!
5. Create group e-mails. If you have people applying to be volunteers in groups, create group e-mails and send the same message only one time. Most e-mail programs allow the addition or deletion of people on the list with relative ease.
6. Find a volunteer to manage the messages. A specific site for recruiting information could be managed by a volunteer. They need to be trained (don't make assumptions about what they know). Standard responses can be created by the volunteer manager but delivered by the volunteer who manages the recruiting e-mail. This is a wonderful distance job, which would not require the volunteer to work in the organization's office.

A Letter From Cissy

Cissy Waldron Seibel is the Director, of Volunteer Resources for the Center for Nonprofit Resources in Dayton Ohio. Cissy responded to a VT inquiry about how they are using technology to recruit. Here are her tips for readers.

"We recognize the dramatic changes coming via the 'tech" generation. We have moved to a 24/7 online directory listing of hundreds of volunteer opportunities in our region. In most cases this directory has a direct link so interested (and very busy) people can immediately send a message directly to the agency that interest them.

We also produce an e-newsletter for volunteer administrators and CEOs. We have had a great response to both "tech" tools. And, we continue to find new "tech" ways to work more efficiently."

To see this Web site visit http://www.CNRohio.org.

What is it Those 20-somethings Want?

The "Millennials" or "Nexters" are the generation born between 1977 ­1982. They have also been called Gen Y, or Echo Boomers. There are 70 million of them in the US. Recent studies of this group have unearthed what they are looking for when they affiliate with an organization. If you are recruiting from this demographic group, keep in mind it is likely they will be looking for these things.

Taken from "Managing Generation Y," by Bruce Tulgan and Carolyn A. Martin

Listening is a Skill

The ability to listen during a volunteer interview or a recruitment phone call can make the difference in a good or bad placement of a volunteer. The interviewer's knowledge and practice around listening is essential. A key factor in the ability of interviewer and interviewee to really hear one another is influenced by society.

The International Listening Association Ilistening@aol.com provided an overview of how patterns of listening, speaking, reading, writing, have changed in the last seventy years in the US. This chart appeared in the most recent issue of the ILA newsletter.

 Researcher  Date  Sample  Listening % Speaking %   Reading %  Writing %
 Rankin 1926  Adults  42.1  31.9  15 11
 Brieter 1957 Homemakers   48.      
 Weinrauch Et.al 1975 Business Personnel  32.7  25.8   22.6  18.8
 Werner 1975  Adults and Students  54.93 23.19.   13.27  8.4
 Barker 1971  College Students  52.5 16.3   17.3  13.9
 Bohlken 1999  College Students  53  22  13  12
 Davis  2000  University Students  45.1  30.6  12.3  9.8

While the samples and dates are different the patterns are the same, listening is the dominant communication mode for Americans, followed by speaking, then reading, and dragging up last, writing. Even the advent of e-mail has writing in the 99 and 2000 studies in last place.

Avoid Interview Listening Traps

Being a good listener is essential. There are some poor listening habits to avoid:


The Points of Light Foundation has forms available to nominate volunteers and volunteer organizations for the Daily Points of Light Award. It is designed recognize individuals and groups that demonstrate unique and innovative approaches to community volunteering and citizen action, with a strong emphasis on service focused on the goals for children and young people set by the Presidents Summit for American's Future.

The award is given five days a week, excluding holidays. If you would like nomination forms, contact Crystal Hill at 202-729-8000.


By calling 1-800-VOLUNTEER in the U.S., individuals can be connected to their local volunteer center.

This is a national interactive call routing system designed to get volunteers connected to people who can help them volunteer.

Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.

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