Instant CE certificate!
Buy courses for 2
renewal cycles. Complete
some now & some later.
Buy 2 Courses
and Get 25% off
the Total price!
Buy 3 Courses
and Get 30% off
the Total price!
Buy 4 Courses
and Get 35% off
the Total price!

(M-F 9:30-9:00 Eastern)
Voice Mail: 925-391-0363

Questions? 800.667.7745; Voice Mail: 925-391-0363
Add To Cart

Section 18
Getting Sign-ups and Effective Organization

Table of Contents

A.  How to Sign-up em' Up!

The next step is crucial.  What's the point of your Talk if you don't ask them to volunteer?  Right?  I found, by far, the best way to get members of my audience to come out to my facility, which is the first step in volunteering, is to take an "of-course you-want-to-volunteer" attitude.  Here is how I did this.  I had a clip board with a sign-up sheet.  One column was headed "Name" the second column was headed "Phone Number," the third column was headed "Best Time To Call."  The last column was headed "Interests or Best Time to Visit the Facility."  That way if they were interested in outings, they were provided with space to tell me that.  Here’s a sample…


Phone Number

Best Time to Call

Interests or Best Time to Visit the Facility









(Lines continue)




I would state, "I am circulating a sheet for names and phone numbers with the best time to call you or to schedule a time when you might come out to the facility to answer any further questions you have about volunteering.”  Note I did not say to come out and volunteer.  I said, "To answer any questions you have about volunteering."  Once again you need to be organized enough to follow through and actually call them at the time they requested.

When making this follow-up call you might…
#1. Immediately identify yourself and recall your Volunteer Recruitment Talk so they won't feel embarrassed for not remembering who you are
"Hi, this is xxx I am the Activity Director at XXX and you were at my talk last Tuesday at Mrs. Smith's house."
#2. Immediately state why you are calling
 "You had indicated on the sign-up sheet that Wednesday afternoon was a good time to get in touch with you.  Is this a good time for you to talk?"

If they say, "no," reschedule.  If they say, "yes," then state something like, "We have several different kinds of activities offered here at the facility, and I was wondering if you had time in your schedule to come out so I might answer any question you may have or show you around the facility?”

Now keep in mind as your clip board was passed around, and the person to their left had signed your sheet, they did not want to look bad to the group due to peer pressure.  So a good number of the people who signed-up may come up with some excuse like “I am not interested right now.”

Then find out a time in the future when they might be interested.  Write it into your calendar and call them then.

Capitalize upon the Christmas time hordes!
A really good source of volunteers is your hordes of people who will only do something at Christmas time.  Sound familiar?  As the tenth group of carolers in a week are dumping their coats on the table in your activity room, you might arrange a talk with the group before the caroling though the halls.  Since this is a stand-up talk,  it, of course, needs to be short and sweet.  Have clip boards described above in hand and state, "Thanks for coming in.  We have a need for volunteers at other times during the year as well.  Here is a clip board, if you would sign your name and phone number I would love to call you to answer any questions you may have about other needs we have for volunteers.  I know the holidays are busy for everyone.  So I would not be calling you until about mid-January."  You then circulate several clip boards and pens to avoid a bottle neck and delay while one sign-up sheet is passed.  If you have a group of five or more, have more than one clip board with a sign-up sheet to speed-up the process.  Sound doable?

B.  The Fruitless Talk… Now what?

… or "How Not to get discouraged!"  Besides giving the talk, the second challenge in Volunteer Recruitment Talks is giving a talk that results in no volunteers signing up.  I remember one talk I gave to about 8 women that were part of a church group meeting in a very upscale church member's home.  It was clear by the "glazed over" expressions 10 minutes into my talk that they were interested in looking like "do-gooders" by inviting me in, but clearly had no intention of doing any actual “good” in the direction of my facility.  So take the Salesman's Approach.  Look at "no's" as a way of getting to a "yes."  Think about how many people a car salesman has to greet daily before he or she gets to that one customer who says, "yes!"  

So look at your fruitless recruitment talks as just another "no" that you had to get through to get to the "yes" of recruiting a volunteer.  Or another way of salvaging a fruitless situation, if it is appropriate for the format of the meeting, is to circulate among the members and ask if they know of another organization at which you might speak.  Actually this circulating part, if the format of the meeting warrants it, might be the standard “bill-of-fare” for any Talk you give, fruitless or not.  Thus, look at the event as a networking opportunity and an opportunity for creating an increasingly positive image for your facility in the community.

C. Volunteer Organization
Now you have recruited by…

1.  Approaching staff and current volunteers
2.  Thoroughly researched community groups and given several talks
3.  Approached your Christmas and other group volunteers to sign-up for additional One-to-One and Small Group volunteering for your Alzheimer's and Low Functioning residents.
4.  Applied additional methods suggested by other publications, from seminars you have attended, from other Activity Directors, from your Corporate Consultant, etc.

How do your organize your volunteers?

Set up your volunteers to be independent of you!   Remember I mentioned in Section 1 that I wore a smock at work.  Well this smock had two nice deep pockets in it.  I cut scrap paper into quarters and kept these small squares of paper with a pen in my pocket.  So when I worked with a resident and felt a volunteer or my assistant might follow though with the Can Rolling, Color Pattern Cards, or Activity Apron, for example, I made a note of the resident’s name, room number, and what I felt the other person might want to know.  For example, to the volunteer Sue I might write,  "Sue, Esther in Room 104 on B-wing has just gotten the swing of Color Pattern Cards. They are in the Activity Bag taped to her night stand."  At the end of the day I would empty my pockets.  In my Activity Room I had made from construction paper a pocket chart on the wall with volunteers’ first names on the pockets.  I would put the slips into their pocket on this wall chart. 

When the volunteer was initially trained, I oriented them to check the pocket chart for notes from me after signing in.  This was, I found, essential.  Before the use of this pocket chart, I had volunteers sitting idly in the Activity Room waiting for direction from me.  Or they would hunt me up in one of the wings wanting to know exactly what to do. By the time I "hand-held" them through it, I may as well have done it my self!  Agree?   So from the get-go, I set-up and trained my volunteers to function independently of me.  If they had a question, they could put a slip in my pocket on the chart.  I could write a reply on the slip or, if it warranted, I could call them at home.  This of course doesn't mean that I never spoke to my volunteers, but it's just that my "touching base" with them while they were in the facility was not mandatory or an expected prerequisite every time they entered the facility.

Well that is pretty much it from start to finish.  Is this the best or the only way to recruit and organize a volunteer program at your facility?  No, of course not, but it is the one that worked for me.  I started with only a couple of groups that exclusively worked with the higher functioning residents to several volunteers who came in weekly and worked with the Low Functioning and Alzheimer's residents.   The preceding are the basics.  The next section is for those of you who want to put some “spit and polish” on your Volunteer Recruitment Talk to fine tune it.

Forward to Section 19
Back to Section 17

Table of Contents