The process is kind of like applying for a job; you need to be professional and interested. It’s also important to find out as much as you can about the organization and the tasks you will be undertaking so you can be sure it’s something you really want to do.
Sending an email with no subject line or greeting, and a quick, “I’m interested, sign me up!” does not inspire confidence in your commitment.
Here are some tips:
- Find out about the organization before you apply. Visit their website or give them a call. What do they do? What volunteer opportunities are there? Do you have the skills they need? Can you commit to the times they need help?
- Find out how you should apply. Is there an on-line application form? Do you need to go down and pick one up? Do you send an email declaring your interest or would they prefer a phone call? Don’t send an email if the organization is clear about using an on-line application.
- Sometimes there is an interview. If there is, be prepared!
- Be willing to provide references and get a criminal record check (which will be free). These extra checks are not meant to intimidate volunteers or complicate the recruitment process. They are there for the protection of volunteers and the people they will be working with. Often organisations are required to undertake these checks as part of funding agreements they have with sponsors or government agencies.
Here is an example of a well-written email:
Dear Ms. Jones,
I recently heard about your need for volunteers for the Kids Camp running from March 15th until April 5th. I am interested in helping out, and wondered if you were still looking for people.
I am a grade 10 student at St. Michaels University School and have helped coach swmiming in the past. I am energetic and love working with children.
I visited the website and it looks like it would be a good fit. Please let me know what I need to do to apply! My email address is email@example.com and my phone number is 250-555-1212.
Thank you for your time,