Volunteer Database Tips

Posted by Jennifer on September 29th, 2016


Here are five tips on how to get more replies – and so find the most volunteers to help you – when you search and email the Volunteer database! You can search the database here: – a shelter or rescue account login is required. If you are with a shelter or rescue, you can sign up for a new account here:

If you haven’t used the “Volunteers” tab in your shelter Admin area yet, when you click on the “Volunteers” link in the admin area green navigation bar, you’ll see a form with lots of options and checkboxes so that you can find exactly the kind of volunteer you need.


Tip#1: Search precisely

As an example, if you’re searching for foster homes, check only the exact type of foster you need – check just one of each type, then redo the search for any other types you need. (That’s because if you check Male Adult and Female Adult, only volunteers that have checked BOTH will show up in your results.)


Tip #2: Search widely

If you are looking for online volunteers, or grant writers, or other volunteers that can be located any where, set the search radius to the max of “50 miles.” If you still aren’t finding the help you need, you can even change your zip code to be closer to the nearest big city, where there are more likely to be more volunteers registered and waiting to help you.


Tip#3: Snazzy subject

The subject line of any email you send out is always important, but when using the volunteer database to email volunteers, the right wording can mean the difference in getting the help you need! While writing “volunteers needed” as your subject line would be true, being as specific and precise in targeting your volunteer need is much more effective. We have heard that individual emails with the volunteer’s name in the subject line are likely to get a response.

Examples of effective snazzy subject lines:

- Looking for a puppy foster for playful Buttons
- Dog bathers needed, reply if you can help
- Jane, can you foster kittens for two weeks?


Tip #3: Keep your message short

In your email Message Body keep it as short as possible. More than 50% of our site visitors are using their smart phone, and if they have to scroll or read a lot, they are much less likely to reply. Good examples are:

“Are you still available to foster kittens? I found your volunteer profile on Please let me know.”

“We are having our annual dog walk in October and need volunteers! If you can help, please come to our oriention on Saturday, 11am, at: 123 Main Street, Anytown, USA.”


Tip #4: Cute pet photo

If your are looking for foster homes, include a cute photo of that pet (or a similar pet) as a compelling way to get someone to reply “yes”.


Tip #5: Email them directly or via our site?

Our volunteer search does make it super easy to email all matching volunteers using the “Send an E-mail to These Volunteers” button. However, 1) you can not attach photos 2) you have no record of who or what was emailed, it disappears after you click the send button.You can copy the list of volunteer names and email addresses from the “to” that appears after you click the button, and you can paste that into a document to save if you like.

To email a volunteer directly, one at a time, click on the volunteer’s name, then you will see their email address, which you can click or copy to email from your own email program.

You may want to try both methods to see which works best for you!


Do you have a tip that would help other shelters and rescues who are using the Volunteer Database? Email it to and she can share it here!

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