Volunteers can help carry our your mission by getting passionately involved in the community they serve. They bring new, specialized skills to the team in order to enhance your service offer. They might connect more effectively with the community you support. They’ll also help you reach new audiences—nothing beats word-of-mouth recommendation. Their testimonies could turn members of the public into followers, followers into donors, and donors into staff. Volunteers themselves can turn into staff. Why not? They’re already aligned with your culture, point of view, and mission. Lastly, they can inject more energy into your service and bring fresh ideas to the table.
Start with why. You’ll get a sense if the applicant is aligned with your mission or not. Avoid seeing volunteers as “free labor”. Ask them the same questions you’d ask any job applicant: past work experience, education, additional skills, certification. The same goes for references—a strong reference to vouch for the person is vital. You’ll get the best from a volunteer if you set expectations from the start and meet them later on. What would they like to do? When can they work? Are they flexible? (important for volunteer yoga teachers). What motivates them? Add any disclaimers before you ask them to hit send.
A volunteer applicant has already started investing time in you. What are you offering in return? Reassure them with warm, friendly language. Cold questioning belongs in an interrogation room. Simple changes to questions like: “Tell us a bit about your education” instead of “education record” make all the difference. Customize your typeform to match your brand—it shows you put the effort in, and builds trust. Make it personal by repeating the person’s name (we call it “Piping”). All this reassures them—you’re the kind of organization that supports and values volunteers. Try our volunteer form template to get started.
Think of it in three stages: application, evaluate, and interview. Have volunteers apply through your form. Take those answers and send them to your favorite spreadsheet app (Google Sheets or Airtable). Then evaluate—what’s your biggest need? Which candidates fill those needs best? Screen for passionate professionalism, results-driven goal-setters, energy, and commitment. Then do an in-person interview. Make sure people are confident in their skills, fit your culture, and are aligned with your mission.