How to Make a Great Volunteer Application Form

Having an engaged, enthusiastic, contributing pool of volunteers on roster can make an enormous impact for your organization. But what’s the easiest method to recruit great volunteers? Create a volunteer application form with JotForm to collect the information you need. It’s a fast and convenient way to help you easily find the right volunteers for your organization’s current and future needs. 

Here are three tips to make a great volunteer application form

1. Protect your organization. 

Due to logistical and legal reasons, nonprofit organizations need to be careful about who they accept as volunteers. You wouldn’t want a volunteer to cause harm to your organization or your organization’s clients. While a volunteer application form should not be your only screening tool, it is an important first step. 

References are important – so ask volunteers to provide at least one. Collect essential data such as name, email address, home address, and phone number. If you are going to run background and credit checks, then your form should ask for the applicant’s birthday and Social Security number. Depending on how your volunteers are expected to contribute, you can ask for their driver’s license numbers and any certifications such as CPR. 

2. Help ensure that the volunteer experience is positive for both your organization and your volunteers. 

Make it easy for applicants to quickly gain an understanding of what to expect. Start your volunteer application form with a short blurb about your organization and the contributions of volunteers, and include links as needed.

Give a summary of the tasks and activities they are expected to do, such as preparing food for the elderly at Meals on Wheels, cleaning up trash on a beach, or taking animal shelter dogs on walks. Also, provide the minimum and expected commitment level, whether that be expressed in hours per week or duration of time required of volunteers. 

3. Gather the information needed to add the applicant to your volunteer file. 

It is important to ask the reason for their interest in volunteering. This allows your organization to get a better understanding of the applicant’s commitment level, and what they’d like to gain, so your organization can work towards helping make that happen. Perhaps they’d like to get more involved in the community, meet like-minded people, or make a difference within your organization’s specific mission. 

Volunteers are a valuable resource, and you should ask about their skill set to see if there are additional ways they can contribute. Perhaps they have skills that can be put to use in marketing, accounting, photography, event planning, web development, public speaking, etc. You’ll want to know this so that your volunteers can help you with skills-based, pro-bono work. 

Other information that you may want to gather includes languages spoken, current employer, organizations that the applicant is part of, and preferred volunteer areas (create a list of regular volunteer jobs that the applicant can check if interested). 

Do you work at a nonprofit? How does your organization attract top volunteers? Let us know in the comments!

Leeyen is the Vice President of Marketing at JotForm. An avid writer, she has contributed to sites including Entrepreneur and Social Media Today. A Bostonian and University of Miami alum, she loves traveling, trying new foods, and drawing & crafting. You can reach Leeyen through her contact form.

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