The Mystery of the 220 Missing Volunteers - and how we solved it
Over 220 potential volunteers a year were being lost to recruiting charities - this is the story of how we discovered and fixed the problem.
Our story starts in October 2015 when we began measuring recruitment outcomes. We sent out email to both the volunteer and charity asking how the volunteering was going? To our surprise, we got some volunteers coming back to us saying that they'd heard nothing from the recruiters! This inspired us to investigate what was going on.
First, we checked our automated system and found it was working well. On further investigation, we found that some emails between the charities and volunteers were going astray - typically ending up in people's spam/junk folders. There were also occasional administrative errors. Potential volunteer/charity relationships were being lost!
We decided to take action! Initially we were discovering and trying to fix these issues some months after the original application. To improve things, we started sending emails to volunteers around 18 days after application asking them to get in touch if they had had no contact from the recruiter. When people reported problems we contacted the recruiter and worked to resolve the communications issue.
Of course, some of these applications still don't go though to fruition but since our overall placement rate is 19%, we estimate this process "saves" about 42 volunteers a year and contributes over £60,000 of value to local causes.