Volunteering for a cause or organization that you care about is a tremendous opportunity to give back to your community or even the world. For some organizations that simply involves showing up. For others, it’s more like a job application process. Including a motivation letter for volunteering with an application can improve your chances of being selected for the position or organization that you want to be a part of. It helps to relay the passion and commitment that you have for the organization and the cause.
Why You Should Include a Motivation Letter for Volunteering
Volunteer organizations are about causes. They serve a purpose and everyone there is dedicated to that purpose. This could be anything from feeding local homeless, the Red Cross, or even trying to cure cancer. When you have to apply to be a part of a volunteer organization, or when you are applying for a specific position or role in the organization, it can help to include a motivation letter that expresses your qualifications and passion for that cause.
In some cases, you may be volunteering for a sensitive position that requires more qualifications or sensitivities. Examples of this could include volunteering to be a boy scout troop leader or perhaps a treasurer for an organization where you will be expected to keep records and handle money. In these cases, the organization needs to know not just that you are passionate about their cause but that you also have the background and skills necessary for the role. As some organizations have seen, picking the wrong people for these roles can have devastating consequences for the organization.
Just like employing the right people at a company, having the right people in the right positions for a volunteer organization is important to the organization’s success. The leaders know that. Including evidence of your qualifications and passion, like with a motivation letter, can help to show them that you are that right person.
Preparing to Write Your Motivation Letter
Often, when someone wants to volunteer with an organization, it’s because they have some connection to the cause. For example, maybe it’s care about their community or because their mother was diabetic and the organization is looking for a cure for diabetes. Maybe they care passionately about animal welfare. Whatever the reason, this connection to the cause is a great starting point for their motivation letter.
So, the first step is to write down the organization’s cause. Most organizations will have a mission statement that explains who they are and what they do. For example, here is one from Doctors Without Borders (found in their charter).
This can be a great place to start. Simply copy their mission down. If you can’t find it, or just don’t want to look, for many organizations, it can be as simple as writing down what you know about them. The next part is the harder (and more important) step anyway.
The next part is a bit harder. Write down any stories, connections, experiences that you have that are connected to their mission or purpose. The ideal answer here is a story or personal connection. That’s not always possible. It could just be that you love animals and want to be able to help them. That’s not wrong. We are looking to make an emotional connection with the organization, so the more personal and motivating, the better.
If the role you’re applying for has technical or other requirements, then write those down. A two-column format can work well for this part. Write down any skills or traits that are required. A lot of times, this will be found on the organization’s website or any postings. It doesn’t have to be complicated, though. For example, if you want to be the treasurer, knowing how to do bookkeeping would be a great start. Even knowing how to work a spreadsheet could be helpful.
On the other column, write down any traits that you have, experiences, training, or education that fulfill these needs. These won’t always be something clear. For example, if working with kids, you could even include “able to pass a ten-year background check, no criminal record” in addition to any experience you have working with kids. They just want to know that kids in their program will be safe with you.
We are going to work with this list now to write your letter.
Editable Motivation Letters for Volunteer Work (2 Letters)
This is an editable version of our two Motivation Letters for Volunteer Work. You can download them in Microsoft Word format, which you can use in Microsoft Word or on Google Docs. Use this version to customize the letter for your situation. Make sure to show your strengths and why you would make a great candidate for the position.
What to include in your letter requesting volunteer work
When writing a letter requesting volunteer work, keep the following tips in mind:
- Address your letter to the person who is going to work with you for this job description, not just “Dear community service coordinator”. This tells them that you have done your research and are familiar with their organization’s personnel. Try to find the name of a real person.
- Let them know that you are aware of the work they do and why their organization is important to you (in other words, your connection). How did you learn about this community service opportunity? How does it personally affect you? You may want to include a personal statement or story here. How did your grandmother volunteer in the past with this organization, and how does that affect you today? How did she help people through her service, and what did it do for her mental health?
- How will you go about completing these tasks? How can you make yourself? How can you contribute to this organization? How do you feel that your knowledge and skills will benefit the organization in question? How will you make a difference? How can they contact you for more information?
- Don’t forget to include your contact information in your letter requesting volunteer work, which should read like a formal business letter when complete (full name, address, phone number of contact info).
- Keep your letter short and to the point by including only the most relevant information as it relates to your community service work at this organization.
- Make sure that you address why your skills will fit into this organization’s position as well as the specific skills you have attained that will bring a plus to the community.
- Include dates, times, and locations of your proposed volunteer work as well as how much time is required from their end to oversee this position.
How to Write Your Motivation Letter for Volunteering
Now that we have our information, we can start writing the motivation letter for the volunteer position. For motivation letters, we recommend a simple three-part structure. This makes writing the letter easier, it’s easier to read and it does the job. It’s also pretty normal how to write such a letter.
The parts of a motivation letter include
- Introduction – In the opening part of the letter, you will introduce yourself, the role you want and you can tease why you’re a great candidate.
- Body – This will be the bulk of your letter and where the work we just did will be used. This is usually 1-3 paragraphs.
- Conclusion – You’ll wrap things up, thank them for their time and offer to keep talking.
This structure works well and is easy to write. While we call it a letter, these will often go out as emails. We’re going to use a formal letter as a sample, mostly because many people these days don’t send formal letters and may not remember the format. For an email, you can remove all the address information.
Ideally, your letter shouldn’t be to a generic person (i.e. not “To Whom It May Concern”.) You’d like to address it to someone. If you know who is recruiting, that’s a great person. In a smaller organization, you could even address it to the head of the organization. If you’re sending it as an email, use the person you’re sending it to.
To get started, you’re going to write the body first. Take the work you did before and write 1-3 paragraphs on why this is the volunteer position for you and why you are qualified.
The first paragraph (or two if you need it) can be why you are passionate about this cause and why this means something to you.
Then you can spend some time, if it fits the position, giving any background or experience that you have for the position. You can explain experience, qualifications, or just traits that make you suited for the position that you are looking to join in the organization.
Once your body is complete, it’s pretty easy from there. In the introduction, start with a simple introduction of who you are followed by what you’re trying to do. Then you can include 1-2 sentences wrapping up why you are the person for this role.
Then you can write your conclusion thanking them for their time, offering to meet with them, and providing your phone and email.
That’s it. Your letter is done. Before you send it, though, there are a few things to do:
- Check your spelling. At a minimum, use a spell checker. However, a program like Grammarly is great for finding spelling errors and simple grammatical errors. They have a free version that does the job.
- Double-check your grammar. You want to look professional.
- You should have someone read it over. Most of us miss things when editing our own writing. Someone who hasn’t read it before is likely to pick up errors or tones that we miss.
Now Send Your Letter
Okay, there you go. You’re done. Send it off. You can mail or email it. You can even follow up a couple of days later.
Good luck! We hope you get the position. Thank you for volunteering. Please let us know how it goes.
A Sample Letter Requesting Volunteer Work
We are including a couple of sample letters here. This is to show you what the output can look like and the format. Please do not use this letter. You need to tell your own story, not one we made up. Your story is much better anyway.
If you are an inspiring person who is always trying to improve people’s lives, consider becoming a volunteer. Volunteering is an incredible way to connect with your community and make an impact on the local community. We all need to do our part to make our communities healthy, safe, and beautiful. Volunteering is the perfect opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and how you can make a difference in others’ lives.
Hopefully, having a sample letter for community service will help you find a position where you can contribute. Even if you have no experience, consider showing your passion for their cause.