Do you need to find trustworthy, responsible, capable volunteers for your event, camp, school, or nonprofit? The most effective and easiest way to recruit helpers is with an online volunteer application form.

Online volunteer application forms simplify how you collect, sort, screen, and organize volunteers, saving you time and effort and ensuring that interested applicants get the right first impression of your organization. SurveyMonkey Forms supports a wide variety of online application form needs, including employment, membership, rentals, and more—let’s take a look at exactly how our volunteer application forms can help your org.

It’s easy to create a volunteer application form from scratch with SurveyMonkey Forms, but you can also get a jumpstart with our template library. You can use our volunteer application form template as-is or customize with additional questions to make sure you’re getting all the right applicant information. 

Easily create online forms for registrations, applications, contacts, payments, and more.

Recruiting volunteers using physical sign-up sheets is usually a tedious process. Those sign-up sheets need to be posted in various locations and then collected. Volunteers then have to be contacted and information gathered and summarized—often using even more paper forms. All of this can lead to lost applications and missed opportunities. But when you modernize the process by using an online volunteer application form, you not only make it easier for your team to process applications but also create a better experience for applicants as well. 

Online volunteer application forms allow you to reach more potential volunteers. Rather than hunting for the best place to hang a flier, you can embed the form on your organization’s website, post a link on social media, or send a link to potential volunteers on your email list. People seeking information on your group can be led via a link to a landing page with your form on it or directly to your sign-up form on SurveyMonkey.

Your volunteer application form can also provide details about your organization, event, or function and inform people of your goals, mission, and values.

Using an online format will help you streamline the process of screening volunteers. All their information is digitized, and you can sort it and review it in your custom dashboard. This digital view allows you to quickly screen all submissions to see which applicants are the best fit for your purposes. 

When you use digital volunteer forms, you can collect all of the volunteer data in one place and maintain a database of names, contact information, and other relevant information. This central, unified list enables easy communication through phone calls, group texts, or even email blasts. This database can be used during your current event or activity and for recruitment purposes for future events.

If you’re ready to use online volunteer application forms but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at the following tips for creating forms that are helpful, easy to understand, and reflective of your organization.

Ask applicants why they’re volunteering. You may think it’s obvious, but asking directly will help you ensure that the volunteer is aligned with your mission. It also aids you in understanding volunteers’ motivations and interests so that you can improve your recruiting process in the future.  

You want to get to know your volunteers, but restrict your questions to essential information. Long forms lead to lower completion rates, which means lost volunteers for your cause. Remember, these applicants are volunteers, not employees. This form should not be as in-depth as a job application.

It’s a good idea to share your expectations for potential volunteers so they have a clear idea of what they’re signing up for before they commit. However, always keep in mind that these are unpaid volunteers. It’s unfair to be too demanding, and unreasonable requests may alienate volunteers. 

Put yourself in their shoes and review your own expectations. How would you feel if you were asked to perform the duties as a volunteer?

As we mentioned, all of our online forms are customizable, so you can write your own content and questions. Be sure to use a warm, welcoming tone. Explain why volunteers are important to your organization and how their help will directly impact your cause, event, or people in the community. Show gratitude for their interest and their time!

We mentioned only asking for necessary information. Let’s take a moment to look at what key information you actually need from your volunteers.

Name, address, phone number, and email address are all critical. You need to be able to reach volunteer applicants for further interviews and, if they are chosen, reach them throughout their service.

Depending on the type of help you need, you may be looking for volunteers with particular skills or abilities. Provide a list of the skills to choose from, along with a blank field for potential volunteers to add any additional skills they wish to share. If there are physical requirements, be sure to indicate them as well.

Volunteers' skills/abilities might include:

  • CPR
  • First aid
  • IT
  • Teaching
  • Graphic design
  • Music
  • Art
  • Multilingual
  • Ability to lift up to 50 lbs.
  • Ability to drive a bus

You can also provide choices of preferred areas to volunteer, such as childcare, food preparation, entertainment, or grounds.

Similar to a job application form or an internship application form, a volunteer application form will help with understanding an applicant’s skills and preferences so you can assign them where they will be most useful and feel fulfilled with their volunteer experience. 

In some cases, you may want to ask volunteer applicants for personal or professional references. This can be helpful to ensure that their values are aligned with your organization and that they can be trusted to fulfill the volunteer commitment. Just keep in mind that references should not be family members or individuals under the age of 18. 

Some volunteer work, such as working with children, requires a formal background check. The details necessary for a background check include full name, date of birth, social security number, current address, phone number, and email address. Other details may be required depending on the position and agency used to complete the background check. In your form, indicate to volunteers if you will use requested information to conduct a background check.

Many companies provide volunteer perks such as matching donations or paid time off for volunteering during business hours. Be sure to ask your potential volunteers if their employer offers these perks, or others, to make the most of their involvement with your organization. You can include this as a question in your form, then follow up with anyone who needs additional information.

Upgrade your volunteer recruitment efforts with online volunteer application forms. Share digitally and increase your reach to find the best volunteers for your organization, screen them quickly, and create a database for easy reference.

It all starts with signing up for a SurveyMonkey account. Choose the plan that’s right for your organization, and start creating your volunteer form today.

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