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9 Ways to Engage Job Seekers as Volunteers

This article originally appeared on and is featured here in partnership with the Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement.

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Job seekers represent one of the most rapidly expanding demographics within the volunteer community, a trend that highlights the mutual benefits of such engagements.

For individuals in between jobs, volunteering serves as an invaluable lifeline. It not only allows them to keep their skills sharp and relevant in a competitive job market but also offers the opportunity to acquire new competencies.

However, the specific circumstances of job seekers, such as their unique availability and motivations for volunteering, can vary greatly from those of other volunteer types. This requires organizations to adopt flexible and adaptive measures to fully engage job seekers as volunteers.

Let's dig into how you can engage job seekers as volunteers.

How to engage job seekers as volunteers:

  1. Conduct an Assessment: Assess your readiness to engage job seekers as volunteers.
  2. Write a Value Proposition: Be prepared to present a case statement of the value the extra volunteer power will bring. Expect that everyone in the organization might not be enthusiastic about involving job seekers as volunteers.
  3. Understand Volunteer Motivations: Understand the varied motivations of job seekers for volunteering and the expectations of workforce centers, schools and organizations that refer job seekers for volunteering.
  4. Design a Strategy: In designing how job seekers are involved as volunteers, build in strategies to address the main challenge of job seekers as volunteers at all steps of the process – their time availability may change suddenly if they find employment.
  5. Draft Recruitment Messaging: Develop recruitment messages that appeal to the motivation of job seekers for volunteering. Develop partnerships with workforce centers, schools and other organizations that support job seekers in finding employment.
  6. Formalize the Interview Process: When interviewing job seekers for volunteering, offer a formal interview to assist with gaining interview experience. Ask questions on their motivation for volunteering to better understand their expectations.
  7. Use Volunteer Matching: The “win win” for the organization and volunteer happens when there is truly a good fit of the volunteer in the position.
  8. Offer Support: Be ready to offer extra support to meet expectations of the volunteer or referring organization.
  9. Write Recommendations: Be ready to provide recommendations on the work done and to refer the job seekers to additional resources.

By implementing 9 strategies, organizations can create a supportive environment that not only meets the needs of job seekers but also enriches the organization's volunteer base.

In this way, both the volunteer and the organization stand to gain from what can truly be described as a “win-win” scenario.

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The Minnesota Alliance for Volunteer Advancement (MAVA) initiative is pioneering the way for leaders of volunteers by providing essential tools and resources aimed at engaging and supporting job seekers who are looking to volunteer.

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