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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

What are the top three recruitment challenges for small volunteer teams?


At Assemble, we understand the importance of successful volunteer recruitment.

For this reason, we regularly speak with both prospective and current customers with small volunteer teams to get a clear picture of what their challenges are and how they can be resolved.

While there are various challenges that can arise for these organisations, our experts have clearly identified three overarching challenges and provide an insight into these recurring obstacles and how to overcome them.

#1 Working with limited resources

If your organisation consists of a small volunteer team, you are likely to work with a budget that reflects this, which can make building an online presence to recruit volunteers increasingly difficult.

A humble approach to recruitment can therefore be taken, by adopting either low-cost or free strategies to attract potential volunteers that can include:

  • A foundation-level website
  • Social media accounts
  • Community forums
  • Local events
  • Local media coverage
  • Posters within the community

Although these approaches may be associated with certain benefits, a small budget might not yield the full visibility required to reach your intended target audience with success.

However, a solution to this challenge is the addition of volunteer management software (VMS) that is built with niche features for small volunteer teams that allow you to make your volunteer adverts more appealing and encourage applications.

Find out more about our VMS for small volunteering teams

#2 Overcoming a decline in volunteering

In addition to working with limited resources, there has also been a reported decline in volunteering according to sources including The Community Life Survey and the UK Giving Report 2023.

These reports outline that several social and economic factors have contributed towards this decrease in volunteering activity such as:

  • Cost of living crisis
  • Post-pandemic concerns
  • Prioritisation of hobbies
  • Lack of awareness around volunteering opportunities

These scenarios can therefore make it increasingly difficult for your small volunteer team to recruit for existing opportunities.

In order to overcome this, you should look to apply a VMS that clearly advertises your roles, streamlines the application process, and allows applicants to fit volunteering around their busy lifestyles.

Find out more about the reported decrease in volunteering

#3 Successfully attracting volunteers

Even with the support of a VMS, a common obstacle for small volunteer teams is the ability to attract prospective volunteers to apply for roles.

For this reason, it’s crucial that you make your adverts as accessible and eye-catching as possible. This can be achieved by making the most of the functionality afforded to you by creating a designated page that lists these opportunities, including features such as:

  • Key information outlining role description, required skills, location, and work hours
  • A unique shareable link that redirects to the respective advert
  • Font, logos, and pantone colours that reflect your brand
  • Form fills that enable the volunteer to apply
  • Checks / Vetting
  • Compliance

Bringing information such as this to the forefront allows potential volunteers to identify your organisation’s brand and buy into your ethos from the outset.

Find out more about how to create an engaging volunteer opportunity

Overcome your volunteer management challenges

Read our guide to find out more about how volunteer managers with small volunteering teams can enhance their campaigns.

Assemble is a sponsor of The Gathering, the largest free voluntary sector event in the UK, organised by SCVO (The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations).



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