5 Tips for Highly Effective Recruitment Calls for a Volunteer Program

Recruitment calls are like speed dating. Only in this case, the time is limited, the stakes are high, and the background noise competing with your voice doesn’t help at all. But recruitment calls do not have to feel this way. If anything, recruitment, being exactly like speed dating, assures us of one thing– you get things right the first time and you stand a chance of a ‘happily ever after’.

At this point, being the diligent recruiter that you are, I assume that you already have a comprehensive contact list and have intentionally set time aside for this task. Here are five fundamentals that increase the probability of getting a ‘YES’ at the end of your recruitment call.

  1. Know everything you can about your organization, program, and prospective volunteer. Having sufficient information about your organization and program inspires confidence in yourself just as much as it does in the person at the other end of the line. Moreover, it prepares you for any questions that may be raised.
    Although, in most cases, the information of volunteer applicants may be meager, knowing just the name of your potential candidate might be enough.
  2. Understand and be confident of what is unique about what you are ‘selling’.
    At the end of the day, everyone has limited time and competing needs. Just like all of us, the potential candidate will incline to value. Why? What is in it for them? A few simple parameters you can use to determine how special your program or organization includes;
  • Something personal that one can benefit from the program.
  • Something professional that the potential recruiter can apply.
  • Any personal and professional development that can be obtained.
  • Past experiences and projects done so far.

    3. The Opening. The Call opening matters most. Get it right. In his article, ‘5 Tips for Very Effective Recruiting Cold Calls’, Yogi Agravat, a recruitment expert, writes that the first minute of the call is what makes the person listening consider whether they should give you their time and attention. (Agravat,2015) He lists the following essentials for a perfect opening:
  • .Professional gallantry. Start with identifying yourself, confirming that you are speaking to the intended contact, and then ask if the person has some time to continue the call.
  • Make the opening clear and concise – not too long. Be brief with the introduction focusing on what needs to be known. Remember that you only have a very limited time and thus go straight to the point.
  • Speak with clarity and coherence. Because this opportunity will not come again, ensure you practice your pitch. Know how it starts, the body, and the conclusion. Rehearsing it out loud enables you to hear how the pitch sounds and work on any ‘untidy’ parts.
  • Be a happy and persuasive salesman. Keep the call energetic but not too much. A touch of vibrancy here and a dash of ‘I am listening to you too’.
  • Your own experiences in the organization and program.


    4. ASK.
    You know what they say, “If you never ask the answer is always a NO.” End your call with an ask and await a clear answer. Explicitly ask the potential candidate if they are interested and will be joining you. Be hopeful but keep an open mind. Not everyone is a fit for your course and that is normal.
    Also, ask the candidate if he or she may know other people interested in being part of your program. A busy friend might have an available relative. Calling presents a brief but direct way of networking. You can wrap the call up by thanking the candidate for their time and wishing them a good time.

Are you making calls soon, consider trying out the above insights and see how it goes. Do you have any more suggestions on how to improve recruitment calls? Kindly leave a comment down below.

All the best in making your calls.

By Emmanuel Marumbu Misiati
Professional Trainer and Facilitator

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