Recruiting Volunteers in the Future

by Nancy Ougo | Jan 24, 2019 | Insights and Inspirations, Volunteering Voices

Change is a constant factor. Volunteering is not an exception. There is a growing consensus that the way people engage in volunteering has changed and will continue to evolve. Initially, volunteering was majorly cause-driven but it is shifting to reward-driven volunteering Reward-driven volunteers are conceived due to employment commitments. Mostly in developing nations, rate of unemployment among the youth is sky rocketing. It will reach a point that Red Cross and Red Crescent will have to offer small incentives so as to encourage individuals to engage in volunteering. Another approach that can be taken is issuing recommendations that will be beneficial to the individuals at a later stage of employment seeking, for instance, issuing certificates or letters of recommendation to prove that someone was engaged with the organization in a specific project. The degree to which a person is involved in a community is another dimension that has begun to impact on volunteering. Omer, an intern at IFRC in Geneva highlighted in an interview that:

“It is important to hire people who have been affected since they are in a better position to empathize with the affected individuals.”

This is another factor that IFRC should put into consideration. Generally, the more varied a person is involved in the community, the greater the likelihood they will perform volunteer work. According to Omer this will also help to curb the problem of victims questioning the credibility of the organization thus making it easier to approach the vulnerable.

Consequently, there is a need to fully embrace episodic volunteering. Traditionally, volunteers were subjected to high levels of time and commitment to a cause. Times are changing. It is therefore necessary for societies to adopt episodic volunteering approaches that limit the amount of time involved e.g. some require volunteers to commit themselves to a specific task at a given duration. People are most likely to volunteer their time in short and simplified tasks.

The digital space is rapidly changing the way volunteering is done. There is need to develop online tools to offer online training to volunteers. Louise, head of HR at IFRC emphasizes;

“There is a need to equip volunteers with an understanding of technological processes used by Red Cross and Red Crescent. Volunteers need to be skilled

Recruitment of candidates can also be done by automation as suggested by Louise:

“Strike a balance between the human and technological
 elements of decision making when recruiting.”

Customer Relations Management (CRM) tools can also be applied to document volunteer information in an organized manner, thus making the information easily accessible to the recruiters.  There is need for volunteers to be in a position to access information easily. Social media sites are the most utilised online tools by Red Cross and Red Crescent to disseminate information and also attract volunteers. There is need to have effective and updated social media platforms and websites. A volunteer at the Mexican Red Cross stresses this by stating that:

 “There is a need for Red Cross and Red Crescent to make it easier for volunteers to identify the exact volunteer slots available and also to provide clear terms on the contract. There is also need to provide clear information during the duration when one is waiting to know whether he or she has been chosen as a volunteer or not.”

Finally, there is need to embrace a strategic approach to volunteering. IFRC needs to focus more on quality rather than quantity and make great use of episodic volunteers. Moreover, if possible, create frameworks that will accommodate some of these episodic volunteers in the long term.

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  1. Mohammed Deda Aliye

    I personally agree with the ideas if the RC only focus in young/youth volunteers, but we need to address the community volunteers recruitment, deployment, retention and rewarding mechanism since that is the base to tackily the community challenges through community volunteering.

    • Nancy

      I second idea on investing in community volunteers. These are people who are in a better position to understand everything that affects their communities

  2. Mansoor Ahmad

    Dear Sir/Madam
    Hope you are fine.I worked with ICRC and PRCS Pakistan Relief operaton 2009 as a Eco Sec Field officer and Camp Manager.Now adays working with a national organization.I am also the member of the NHN pakistan SURGE team Member and have salected a WASH experts my CV are available on Surge Team Site.I am so proud be the first experience with ICRC and PRCS but want to still volunteer with him and want to utilize my expertise .

  3. Loy Rego

    great ideas. lets make them happen

    • Nancy

      Thanks Loy

  4. Hans Storgaard

    Dear Nancy,

    Interesting comment. Thank you for sharing.
    I am based in Ethiopia and under our programme we have some interesting experiences with recruitment of volunteers amongst affected target population. Can I reach out to you via e-mail?

    Kind regards,

    Hans Storgaard
    Danish Red Cross

    • Nancy Ougo

      Sure… [email protected] is my email address. Looking forward to hearing from you

  5. Monyei Adaugo

    We really should be given a chance to be employed.

    • Nancy Ougo

      I agree with you. But since employment is a challenge, volunteering is the second best option available. It not only increases your chances for employment but also exposes you to new skills and networks

  6. google

    Keep on writing, great job!


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