People pursue volunteer opportunities for many reasons. They might want to gain professional experience, widen their personal network and/or give back to their communities. If you are planning to pursue a volunteer opportunity, it is important to know how to write a professional volunteer cover letter. In this article, we will explain what to include in a volunteer cover letter, offer writing tips and share a sample of a successful cover letter.
Read more: 7 Reasons to Consider Volunteering
What to include in a volunteer cover letter
When applying for a volunteer opportunity, your cover letter should be informative, professional and easy to read. Your volunteer cover letter should include:
- Your name and address
Your name and address
Whether you are writing a physical letter or sending an email, you should begin by writing your name, home address and primary phone number at the top of your cover letter. This identifies you to your recipient and gives them your contact information. If you are sending a physical letter, include your email address under your name.
Your letter should begin with a brief salutation or greeting. This should be polite, professional and if possible, mention the recipient by name. The standard format is to write "Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name" or "Dear Sir/Madam" if you do not know who will be reading your letter. Make sure if you do not know who to address your letter to, that you research the department you may be working in and find a likely contact there.
The first full paragraph of your letter introduces you to your recipient. It should include a brief summary of who you are and why you are interested in the position. In this paragraph, you can also share where or how you heard about the opportunity. If you have a professional recommendation or contact within the organization, this is a good place to mention them.
This is the main section of your volunteer cover letter. Within this paragraph, you should explain why you would be a good fit for the position. The body of your letter should include:
- Education: List your degrees, majors and the names of the institutions you have attended. Many organizations have educational requirements for volunteers, so it is important that you share the highest level of education you have achieved. If you held any leadership positions or participated in any relevant extracurricular activities while in school, you can include them here.
- Experience: Focus on summarizing any professional experience that is relevant to the position. If you have volunteered for another organization or worked for a company, be sure to list your title and the name of your employer or supervisor. Provide a brief explanation of how your previous experience has prepared you to serve as a volunteer.
- Skills: Finally, you should mention any specific skills that are relevant to the position. This includes general skills like teamwork, work ethic and time management. You should also describe any technical skills that directly relate to the tasks you would be performing. For instance, if you are hoping to volunteer as an administrative assistant, you would include both your interpersonal communication skills and your proficiency in using a computer.
In the body of your letter, you might also describe any professional achievements or certifications that demonstrate your skills.
The final paragraph of your cover letter should include a statement of gratitude, thanking your recipient for taking the time to read and consider your letter. You should also restate your interest in the position and provide an overview of your availability schedule. Close by saying that you look forward to hearing from the organization soon and promise a follow-up email.
Beneath your conclusion, include a professional sign-off, such as "Sincerely," or "With kind regards." Then, if you are sending an email, type your full name followed by your personal contact information. If you are submitting a physical letter, type your name, print out the letter and handwrite your signature beneath your closing.
Read more: How to Write a Cover Letter
Tips for writing a volunteer cover letter
Here are some additional tips for how to write a professional volunteer cover letter:
- Do your research. Before applying, research the organization. Find out who you should address your letter to, what kind of opportunities are available and what requirements there are for volunteers. Knowing this information ahead of time will help you be more specific in your cover letter's body.
- Set goals. When you are writing your letter, think about why you want to volunteer. For example, maybe you are hoping to gain experience or skills or you are looking for a rewarding way to give back to your community. Including these goals in your letter will help your recipient to know if the position is a good fit for you.
- Keep it concise. Your recipient may receive dozens of volunteer applications every week. For efficiency's sake, they may only spend a couple of minutes with each letter that crosses their desk. To make their job easier, try to limit your cover letter to just one page and keep your paragraphs short and simple.
Read more: How to Format a Cover Letter
Volunteer cover letter example
Here is an example of what a professional volunteer cover letter looks like:
434 Main Street
May 23, 2020
Happy Summer Day Camps
334 Forrest Hills Drive
Pine Beach, South Carolina 83365
Dear Ms. Franklin,
I am interested in interviewing for a volunteer position with Happy Summers Day Camps. I have extensive experience working with children and I am particularly excited by the possibility of serving as a volunteer counselor.
I have volunteered as a teacher's assistant at Northridge Elementary School in Florida and I enjoyed helping the students complete in-class activities. As a teacher's aide, I was responsible for setting up classroom projects, provided one-on-one tutoring sessions to the children and accompanied the class during field trips. My favorite part of the job was taking my turn as the recess monitor since I loved being outdoors and playing sports with the kids.
Last winter, I worked at a local recreation center as a lifeguard. I became CPR certified and was trained in first aid techniques. I also assisted in providing swimming lessons for children aged 3-13.
If you are searching for volunteer counselors for one of Happy Summers' many camps, I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to fill the position. I believe my experience and skills would make me a valuable asset to your team. I also hope that by serving as a volunteer I could gain additional experience as an early childhood educator, which is the field I plan to study when I enroll in college next year.
My summer schedule is very flexible and I am available to volunteer in the evenings, over the weekends and during the day. I hope to hear back from you very soon. Please feel free to reach out to me via email or cell phone. I am more than happy to conduct a phone or video call interview at your convenience.
Thank you for your consideration! I look forward to hearing from you,