When recruiting volunteers, practice “cultivation”.

Just as you would nurture seeds and plants in a garden to ensure maximum growth, so you must nurture potential volunteers.  This means that a “one time ask” might not be sufficient to encourage someone to commit to a project.  You may need to invite them to events at your agency, introduce them to other volunteers and talk with them over a period of time to help them feel comfortable.  It is worth the time!

Be aware of language and terminology.

Many adults who are technically “senior citizens” resist the idea of being called a “senior citizen”.  Some people, particularly those not born in the U.S.,  don’t identify as “baby boomers” despite the fact that they fall within that age bracket.  For some, the word “volunteer” has a pejorative meaning, especially if they perceive volunteers as not being valued and respected.  Language is a very sensitive topic and it is wise to be aware of words that might offend your target audience.

Word of Mouth Works!

Remember-word of mouth is your best recruiter.  People are most likely to volunteer when they are asked by someone they know.

Use social networking as a recruitment strategy.

Your agency website or Facebook page, even a Twitter account are all effective ways of getting the word out about your opportunities-even for those of baby boomer age who are far more tech savvy than they are often given credit for.  Going virtual is certainly more cost-effective than creating paper fliers and brochures and can help you reach a wider audience.