Targeted volunteer recruitment – Part 2: Adapting your pitch

When engaging in targeted volunteer recruitment, it’s essential to tailor your presentation to every individual or audience; never use the same pitch twice!

This is the second article in a series about targeted volunteer recruitment; see part one of this article series, “Targeted volunteer recruitment: Why do it?

Many staff have a canned presentation, maybe a five minute piece they use, that is often descriptive and covers the basics: “We serve children and youth, here are the requirements, here is my brochure.” While some of your presentation will not change from setting to setting, it is important to make changes based on the context of the presentation. You may have heard of an elevator speech – a two-minute program description you could share while on an elevator with someone. We would challenge you to have a rough core of an elevator speech and the confidence to adjust it based on the person with whom you are speaking.

To prepare for a presentation you have to consider a variety of things. First, who are you talking to? The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to make decisions about things like what you should wear, how casual or formal your approach should be, what things you should highlight and what barriers you may need to break down.

Next, consider the context of the presentation. What type of room will you be in? Will people be at tables or seated theater style? You also want to know if you are the only presenter or part of a larger agenda. It is important to stick to your allotted time and to anticipate the audience energy level. You will want to know if you have access to technology and if so, what is available.

Finally, you want to consider who should do the presentation. Presentations can be done by staff, volunteers, teen leaders, youth, parents, board members or partner organizations. You want to consider who can best address the needs of the particular group. Consider who you might potentially use to recruit for you, their personality and presentation style, their history and existing knowledge and experience with the program. Certain individuals might appeal more to the audience given their demeanor or background. They might speak the same language and come across as more authentic. The more comfortable and confident the presenter is in the situation, the more likely he or she is to connect with the audience.

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