How to craft a compelling volunteering cover letter

Volunteers work in a wide range of positions, businesses, industries, and more. Depending on the type of volunteering position you pursue, you may need a well-written cover letter to showcase the relevant qualifications that make you the right choice for an organization.

In this guide, we teach you everything you need to know about writing a volunteering cover letter. Keep reading to learn about:

  • Crafting your volunteering cover letter header and headline
  • Tailoring the content and greeting of your volunteering cover letter
  • Creating a compelling cover letter introduction as a volunteer
  • Showing off your relevant skills and accomplishments as a volunteer
  • Persuading a volunteer organizer to contact you with your conclusion

1. How to write effective volunteering cover letter header and headline

A cover letter header and headline refer to the first two elements found at the top of the page.

These elements serve two key purposes — they give your cover letter much-needed visual structure and they provide the volunteer organizer with the necessary introductory information about who you are and why you have written this cover letter.

Your cover letter header always comes first, placed in either the top left or top center of the page. In this header, a volunteer organizer should find:

  • Your name and professional title
  • Your professional contact information
  • The name of the company or organization where you wish to volunteer

Here is an example of a well-formatted volunteer cover letter header

Madison Jones, Animal Care Volunteer
(123) 456-7890 | madisonjones@email.com | linkedin.com/in/madison-jones

To: McKendall Animal Center
1234 Street Address
Salem, MA 97301

Next, you will write your cover letter headline.

When applying for a paid position, this headline is used to convince the employer you have the top qualifications needed for the job. For a volunteer cover letter, comparatively, your headline should convey your passion for and commitment to the position.

To write a cover letter headline, include:

  • A relevant keyword (such as the specific type of volunteering you will be doing)
  • A number or trigger word that conveys a qualification
  • An adjective and/or verb that conveys your dedication
  • A personalized statement that shows this is an exclusively written cover letter

Here is an example of a great volunteer cover letter headline

My Top 3 Reasons for Volunteering in Animal Care & How It Will Benefit Your Shelter

Trigger Word/Number: 3 Reasons
Keyword: Volunteering in Animal Care
Adjective/Verb: Top, Benefit
Personalized Statement: Your Shelter

2. How to tailor the content and greeting of your volunteering cover letter

When writing a volunteering cover letter, your primary goal is to convey why you want to volunteer at the specific company or organization you are applying to.

To do this, it is essential to personalize not just your headline but also the content and greeting of your cover letter. Personalizing a cover letter means you must read up on the company or organization before applying, looking for key information about their values, goals, and needs.

As well as including this information throughout the body text of your cover letter, you should also use it to create a personalized greeting that addresses a specific person by name, such as the volunteer organizer.

Here are 3 examples of personalized volunteer cover letter greetings

  • Dear Head Volunteer Joe Smith,
  • Dear Volunteer Organizer Joe Smith,
  • Dear Mr. Joe Smith,

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3. How to create an eye-catching cover letter introduction as a volunteer

When writing a volunteer cover letter, you will have many opportunities to explain your passion for acts of service and the skills that make you a great volunteer.

However, in your introduction, you should place special focus on your top qualifications and years of experience. This can also include any specialized areas of expertise you possess, which can be especially important if you are applying for a volunteer role that requires a specific skill set, such as child care.

Here is an example of a compelling introduction from a volunteer cover letter

Dear Head Volunteer Joe Smith,

I am a highly experienced volunteer with specialized experience working with homeless and mentally disabled youth. With more than 8 years of experience working in community youth centers, I bring the skills, compassion, and commitment your organization needs to continue supporting kids of all backgrounds in the local community. My employer, Ms. Harriet Leonard, is a current volunteer with your organization and strongly recommended I apply for this position.

4. How to show off your relevant skills and accomplishments as a volunteer

Working as a volunteer can require a diverse skillset that allows you to communicate effectively and work well within a team.

As you describe your skills, accomplishments, and various qualifications as a volunteer, it is crucial to make sure all the details you include are highly relevant, specific to the role, and quantifiable (whenever possible). This will help you to show the volunteer organizer your commitment to the role, as well as the key reasons why you are a great fit for the position.

Here are 6 skills to describe in a volunteer cover letter

  • Communication (describe your specific communication style)
  • Problem-solving
  • Leadership (describe your specific leadership style)
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Compassion
  • Time management

Here is an example of how to describe an accomplishment in a volunteer cover letter

As a volunteer for the American Red Cross, I helped to organize the nurse workstations and keep them well-stocked with supplies. After working diligently over 48 hours to design the optimal donation set-up, my team and I were able to boost the efficiency of donations, resulting in 25% more donations per day of the blood drive.

5. How to craft a persuasive volunteer cover letter conclusion

The final act of your cover letter writing process is to write a persuasive conclusion that lets the volunteer organizer know how to best contact you.

Make sure to not only reiterate your contact information but to also provide the best times and days on which you can be reached.

Additionally, always include a formal sign-off to show the proper respect and appreciation to the person reading your cover letter.

Here is an example of a persuasive volunteer cover letter

I am deeply appreciative to your team for taking the time to review my application and hope to join the ranks of your fantastic volunteer organization soon. You may reach me any weekday between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (123) 456-7890, or on weekends at madisonjones@email.com. I hope to hear from you by next Wednesday and plan to follow up that afternoon if I have yet to hear back.

Yours in Service,

[Applicant Name]

If you have ever wondered how a cover letter differs from a resume, this article will tell you everything about the key differences between the two.

Published on Oct. 7, 2022

Julia is a professional writer, translator and graphic designer. She holds degrees in translation and interpretation, and has international work experience from a number of different countries in Europe as well as China and Panama. Julia formerly taught academic writing and as a graphic designer contributed to outlets such as The Business of Business. She has a passion for lifelong learning and good coffee.

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