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Here's the wrong way to recruit volunteers.
Step One: Post the following announcement: "We are looking for volunteers to serve on the XYZ committee. Please join."
Step Two: Take all comers.
The problem with this approach is, quite simply, a lack of quality control.
The 3 golden rules of volunteer recruitment
Instead, consider The Three Golden Rules of Volunteer Recruitment:
1. Make clear the "stakes of winning." People are motivated by meaningful challenges. Take care to articulate why a particular volunteer assignment constitutes a challenge that deserves a member's personal time and commitment (i.e., it's not just a committee assignment, it's an adventure!).
2. Carefully match the strengths/talents/experiences of the volunteers to the nature of the assignment. Research on performance in the workplace shows the importance of matching people's strength to the tasks they are assigned. The same is true for volunteers.
3. Be prepared to spend the time necessary to get the right volunteers. Think "Return on Investment" - the time you spend on this will pay off in good work.
And here's a final idea: consider asking prospective volunteers to submit proposals on why they would be a good fit for the assignment. It sends a message that you are expecting great things from your volunteers.
Liff is a facilitator, trainer and consultant. His expertise is in building productive partnerships. This column originally appeared on his blog, "Focus! Focus! Focus!" Contact him at Allen@GetALiff.com.