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How to Prepare the Perfect Volunteer Recruitment Email

Author: Sayana Izmailova
April 23, 2021
🕑 6 min read

Are you looking to recruit volunteers for an event or to take on a few regular tasks to help your organization?

Whether you need in-person or remote volunteers, a great place to start is by sending an email to your existing contacts. You never know which of your members, donors or people in your network might be interested in volunteering.

As simple as it is to send an email, not everyone is going to respond to (or even open!) your call for help. Even people who have the time and willingness to volunteer may not write back if they don’t think they’re qualified or their help is truly needed.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of recruiting volunteers through email. Read on to find out exactly how to write your email, as well as how you can use WildApricot to quickly and easily send personalized emails that get responses.

Read More: How to Recruit Volunteers from Start to Finish


What Makes a Good Volunteer Recruitment Email?

1. Personalize It

Experian Marketing Services found that people open personalized emails 29% more than they open emails that aren’t personalized.

Simply add your recipient’s name in the subject line and the body of your email. It’s simple, but so powerful. Now your email has a much higher chance of standing out.

When you send the same standardized email to everyone, your recipient will feel like a nameless, faceless number on your email list.

But, when you include their name, it will instantly stand out to them. As Dale Carnegie, a well-known expert on the art of persuasion best put it, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”

2. Segment Your Message

Don’t just send the same message to everyone on your contact list.

Particularly engaged members and people who open your emails often may be happy with a more casual email. On the other hand, your donors may need an email that expresses gratitude for their financial support and explains how volunteering will further help your organization. Past volunteers might want to hear how much you appreciated their help in the past and how you’d love to have them get on board once again.

You can even take it one step further and craft a version of your email that current volunteers can send to their friends and people in their network, sharing their own experience and inspiring others to join them.

3. Be Specific

A vague call for volunteers is unlikely to get any responses. Before people can commit to volunteering, they need to know exactly what’s involved, how much of their time it will take up, and what skills are required.

In your volunteer recruitment email, be clear about what positions you’re looking to fill, as well as their requirements. If this information is too much to put into one email, you can include a link to a page on your website with more details.

For example, if you’re looking for someone to design your event materials, you might say “Looking for volunteers to help with upcoming event!” Will this get any responses from qualified volunteers? Probably not.

A skilled graphic designer will be much more likely to step forward if you specifically ask for someone who can design posters and brochures and can spare 3 hours a week for the next month.

4. Be Friendly

This should go without saying, but people will be more likely to respond to an email that’s friendly and inviting.

Remember that you’re asking people to volunteer their time, so make sure you’re asking this in a nice, warm and appreciative tone. Explain how much their help will benefit your organization and make them feel good about the idea of helping out.

Be sure to also thank them in advance — you can never have too much gratitude!

5. Provide Contact Information

More often than not, potential volunteers will have questions before they commit their time. They may need clarification about the requirements, work setting, potential scheduling conflicts or flexibility.

To make the process as simple as possible for them, provide the name and contact information of someone they can reach out to. This can be as easy as hitting reply on your email, or sending a separate email to a dedicated person. If you’re sending your email to 250 people, it may be a good idea to assign a few different contact people, so that one person isn’t bombarded with more questions than they can handle.

Some of your potential volunteers may be more comfortable reaching out via phone, too, so be sure to make that option available.

6. Review It

Once you’ve drafted your email, take some time to review it yourself and ask a few colleagues to review it, as well. This will take care of any mistakes, typos, or improvements to the flow and tone of your email.

It’s also a good idea to ask a few of your current volunteers to review your email. They’ll be able to tell you whether it makes sense and whether you’ve accurately described the positions and their requirements.


Click through to claim your 60-day trial of WildApricot to create effective QR codes that will speed up event check-in.

How to Send Personalized Emails to Your Volunteers

By now it’s hopefully clear that effective emails are highly personalized, whether it comes to the recipient’s name or the kind of message they should receive.

But one question still remains.

If you’re sending out 250 emails, how can you personalize each one without wasting a huge amount of time?

Simple. There is software that can personalize your emails at scale.

WildApricot’s all-in-one membership management software has an emailing system that can easily do this.

If you’re a WildApricot customer, here are the simple steps you can take to set up a volunteer interest in your contact database and then email everyone with this interest with a personalized message in just a few minutes.

(And if you’re not… start your free 60-day trial today so you can check us out!)


Step 1:

Go to your Admin View > Contacts > Common fields > Add new field

Add new field

Step 2:

Select Multiple Choice. Type “Volunteer” into Field Label. Type “Yes, I would like to volunteer” into Items. Select anybody under Others access. Save all changes.




Step 3:

Go back to Contacts > List. Select the members that have signed up to volunteer.

Select the members

Once in a member’s profile, select Edit under Contact Details, and select “Yes, I would like to volunteer”. Save the changes.

Edit contact

Note: If your volunteers are not yet in your contact database as members, you can set up a free membership level under Members > Levels and call it “Volunteer”. Then you can ask your volunteers to register on your website, or register them yourself with their information.


Step 4:

Now you can easily email all your volunteers through a simple search.

Go to Contacts > Advanced search > Add criteria > select Volunteer under Contact Related > select the check box beside Yes, I would like to volunteer > Email contacts

Advanced search


Step 5:

Write your email. Here’s one I’ve written.

Notice that I used {Contact_First_Name}? This will populate with each volunteer’s name once the message is sent so that it’s personally addressed to them. This is called a macro. You can find this macro and many more to personalize your email messages under Macro, circled in red below.

email wizard volunteer


Step 6:

When you go to write your Subject line under Recipients, include the same macro again {Contact_First_Name}. Just like in the body of the email, this macro will populate with each recipient’s first name when it’s sent.


email recipients

That’s it. You can now easily email your volunteers with personalized messages anytime you like.

Read More: New Volunteer Checklist: How to Onboard and Welcome New Volunteers


Try It For Yourself!

If you’re looking to quickly and easily send personalized volunteer recruitment emails, be sure to give WildApricot a try.

(If you haven’t yet started a free trial, do so now so that you can get set up.)

If you’d like more details on the WildApricot emailing system, all the possible ways in which you can use it, and answers to common troubleshooting issues, be sure to visit the WildApricot Get Help site.

Best of luck with your volunteer recruitment!

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