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The Chicago Computer Society -- Users Helping Users

1995 Midwest Regional Conference

Recruit, Recognize, Retain - the 3 R's for Volunteer Management

Linda Doede, Manager of Volunteer Services, Chicago Botanic Garden -- (Workshop Description)

Volunteer Recruitment Tool Kit

  1. Ask
  2. Word of mouth
  3. Spread the word in newsletter, at meetings, in flyers, in person
  4. Target specific people and groups
  5. Think benefits, why volunteer?
  6. Be inclusive, not exclusive
  7. Keep high expectations
  8. Match volunteers with the job -- be selective
  9. Be specific -- job description
  10. Be flexible

Volunteer Job Description

Volunteer Recruitment Planning

I. What are the skills, attitudes, traits needed to do this job?
Draw a picture of the type of person who could do this job. Consider age, sex, hobbies, possible occupations, related interests and whatever better illustrates the picture.
II. Based on this picture, where can we find these types of people?
Think about work setting, educational institutions, leisure time organizations and activities, publications they might read, parts of town in which they are likely to live, etc.
III. What motivations of this person can we appeal to in our recruitment effort?
Self help, job enhancement, socialization, learning new skills, career exploration, leadership testing, giving back to the community, keeping productively involved, meeting new people, etc.

Volunteer Questionnaire/Application

Special Benefits For Volunteers

Here are some of the benefits museums offer volunteers:

When And Where To Recognize Volunteers


  1. At the time they sign up to volunteer (send a welcome letter)
  2. Daily or weekly (informal thank yous and praise)
  3. Monthly (volunteer of the month, newsletter articles)
  4. Annually (annual banquet or volunteer appreciation day)
  5. At the completion of a special project
  6. On their birthdays or other holidays
  7. When they are sick
  8. At the time they leave
  9. During National Volunteer Week


  1. Agency bulletin board or newsletter
  2. At home
  3. At their place of employment
  4. In the media
  5. Anywhere people they know will see it.

Copyright 1993 by the American Association for Museum Volunteers

Volunteer Recognition Tips

  1. Put an article about a volunteer in the local newspaper, their college alumni publication, their business house organ or organizational newsletter.
  2. Leave candy kisses at the volunteer work sites.
  3. Give a pacifier to a volunteer who is worried.
  4. Send handwritten holiday notes to people.
  5. Ask a volunteer's minister to recognize them in church.
  6. Offer 'Volunteer of the Month' awards.
  7. Send 5 cent valentines all year long.
  8. Keep track of birthdays and send personalized cards
  9. Offer volunteers a chance to attend all agency training.
  10. Hold a volunteer `love in' where volunteers bring in a loved one who helped them with a volunteer project.
  11. Offer free meals to volunteers where cafeterias are part of the setting.
  12. Name the coffee pot after a volunteer.
  13. Present each new volunteer with their own coffee cup, monogrammed with their initials.
  14. Provide clearly written and updated job descriptions for all volunteer jobs.
  15. Create a bulletin board that features pictures and accomplishments of special volunteers.
  16. Send personalized "Thank you for sharing your loved one" notes to parents, spouse, children, grandparents, etc.
  17. Invited skilled volunteers to train other volunteers
  18. Acquire special discount coupons from local movie houses, restaurants, etc.
  19. Involved volunteers in the long range planning for your agency.
  20. Be nice.

Copyright 1986, Steve McCurley & Sue Vineyard, 101 Ideas

The Top 25 Methods To Retain Volunteers

Copyright 1993 by the American Association for Museum Volunteers

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Copyright 1995 by the Chicago Computer Society. All Rights Reserved.