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Engaging and Supporting Job Seekers as Volunteers
This MAVA initiative provides tools and resources for leaders of volunteers on engaging and supporting job seekers as volunteers. Job seekers are one of the fastest growing new groups of volunteers. For job seekers, volunteering offers critical opportunities to keep skills current, build new skills, fill in gaps in resumes, obtain a current reference and gain self confidence.
While many job seekers fit easily into regular volunteer opportunities, their time availability and motivation can be different enough to require adaptations by organizations to create a “win win” for both the organization and volunteer.

MAVA has developed a Tool Kit for Recruiting and Supporting Job Seeking Volunteers:

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Promising Practices for Engaging Job Seekers as Volunteers


  1. Assess your readiness to engage job seekers as volunteers.
  2. Be prepared to present a case statement of the value the extra volunteer power will bring. Expect that everyone in the organization might not be enthusiastic about involving job seekers as volunteers.
  3. Understand the varied motivations of job seekers for volunteering and the expectations of workforce centers, schools and organizations that refer job seekers for volunteering.
  4. In designing how job seekers are involved as volunteers, build in strategies to address the main challenge of job seekers as volunteers at all steps of the process – their time availability may change suddenly if they find employment.
  5. Develop recruitment messages that appeal to the motivation of job seekers for volunteering. Develop partnerships with workforce centers, schools and other organizations that support job seekers in finding employment.
  6. When interviewing job seekers for volunteering, offer a formal interview to assist with gaining interview experience. Ask questions on their motivation for volunteering to better understand their expectations.
  7. The “win win” for the organization and volunteer happens when there is truly a good fit of the volunteer in the position.
  8. Be ready to offer extra support to meet expectations of the volunteer or referring organization.
  9. Be ready to provide recommendations on the work done and to refer the job seekers to the tools developed by MAVA on how to put the volunteer work on a resume and discuss in an interview.

Related Media

Related MAVA Articles

Benefits of Volunteering for Job Seekers Volunteering and Gaining Workforce Skills: Central Minnesota Survey of Volunteer Programs Positioning Volunteer Experience on the Resume

Special Thanks to...

Initiative Foundation for funding for the initiative in Central Minnesota
MAVA VISTA members Nicole Burg and Danielle Schminkey for developing tools and resources
Volunteer Bridge in Elk River for a focus group input

Central Minnesota Advisory Task Force

Alison Dahlin, St. Cloud Hospital
Julie Guth, Mid-Minnesota Women's Center
Sue Hilgart, Rural MN Concentrated Employment Program (CEP), Inc
Linda Johnson, Unity Family Healthcare
Beth Knutson-Kolodzne, St. Cloud State University
Mary Krippner, United Way of Central Minnesota
Monique Mendyke, RSVP, Volunteers of America of MN
Beth Nelson, Department of Employment and Economic Development
Gregory Reigstad, TRiO, St. Cloud Technical and Community College
Angela B. Theisen, Tri-County Action Program, Inc
Renee Wittenberg, Experience Works

Metro Advisors

Heather Cox, Science Museum of Minnesota
Adam Faitek, Accountability
Lee George, Brain Injury Association
Janet Grove, The Basilica of Saint Mary
Jay Haapala, Minnesota Children Museum
Ben Reed, Children’s Hospital
Barb Tiggemann, DARTS