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    Chapter 4: Recruitment

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    ​A. Recuitment Plan

    MDRMRC Units should develop a plan to recruit volunteers whose training, licenses, credentials, and backgrounds support and foster the Unit’s mission and purpose. The plan should be based on community needs, goals, and resources and should be included in the MDRMRC Unit Volunteer Management Plan – Template. Unit recruitment plans should address issues, such as determining volunteer needs, how and where to find potential volunteers, how to get your message out, and how you can motivate potential volunteers to register. 

    B. Recruitment Needs Assessment

    The first step for developing a volunteer recruitment plan is to conduct a needs assessment. The needs assessment will help identify how volunteers could be utilized and determine the appropriate types and amounts of volunteers needed. For more information, see the national MRC Program guidance on conducting a volunteer needs assessment under Factor for Success 1.2 “Assess Community Needs” at https://mrc.hhs.gov/FactorsForSuccess#FactorsForSuccess/PurposeAndScope​.  

    Volunteer Activities

    When planning for recruitment, consider how your MDRMRC Unit will utilize volunteers. In addition to deploying in response to public health emergencies, volunteers can play vital roles in public health initiatives and community emergency preparedness activities. See Chapter 7, Section B for example activities.

    Types of Volunteers​

    Once you have identified and determined your local volunteer needs and activities, you can define the specific roles you are seeking to fill and what types of volunteers you need to fill these roles. Although the main focus of the MDRMRC is on medical operations and public health activities, health care experience is not a requirement for membership. Below are some of the types of volunteers whom you may wish to consider in your recruitment efforts: 

    Active, Licensed Medical Volunteers

    Examples include physicians, nurses, pharmacists, mental health professionals, respiratory therapists, emergency medical technicians and paramedics, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, and other health professionals. These volunteers usually provide direct services on the scene of an event or during a public health activity.

    Retired or Non-licensed Health Care Volunteers

    These are persons who have retired and have not maintained their license or health professionals from other states and are not currently licensed in Maryland. While these volunteers cannot legally provide direct medical services as part of the MDRMRC, they are still valuable members as they can be used in an advisory capacity or perform supervised activities that do not require licensing. Retired health care professionals can be especially valuable as they may have more time to participate in local events and may not be called up to a hospital or clinical practice during an emergency event.

    Non-medical Volunteers

    Volunteers, such as clerks, administrators, translators, interpreters, legal advisors, or spiritual leaders often work behind the scenes to support the efficient operation of the MDRMRC. These “public health volunteers” can assist with record keeping, data entry, information technology, inventory, communications, and more. 

    Spontaneous, Unaffiliated Volunteers (SUVs)

    These are people who did not pre-register but want to help during an emergency. Through the Registry, these people may be quickly registered and credentialed. Caution should be taken, however, since they may not have completed required training or background screening. SUVs should not work with special populations (children, the elderly, or persons with disabilities) until a full screening is completed. See Chapter 7​, Section G for additional guidance on managing SUVs.

    C. Recruitment Message

    Position Descriptions and Job Actions Sheets​

    It is important to have written descriptions for the volunteer positions for which you are recruiting. Position descriptions are written statements that include a title, expected duties or roles and responsibilities, sample activities, required qualifications, and competencies. The position description will depend on local needs, goals, and expectations. The written descriptions should contain enough information to provide the volunteer an understanding of duties and expectations. 

    Further, detailed job action sheets can help clarify the functional roles and responsibilities of volunteers during an exercise or deployment. These are usually written in checklist format and used to outline the tasks and duties of a particular volunteer role. Volunteers should be provided with a job action sheet and informed of expectations during event briefings or preparation sessions. See Appendix M for a “Job Action Sheet − Template.”

    ​Recruitment Materials

    MDRMRC Units should develop a recruitment message that reflects their mission and community needs. Unit Administrators are encouraged to utilize the Maryland Responds MRC Identity Toolkit as a resource guide for promoting the MDRMRC Network identity. No matter the format, recruitment messages should contain the following elements:
    • An engaging opening
    • A statement of need or a gap to be addressed 
    • A statement of how volunteering with your MDRMRC Unit will address a need or solve a problem
    • Requirements for membership
    • Benefits for the volunteer
    • Link to register through the Registry at https://mdresponds.health.maryland.gov 
    • Unit Administrator contact information

    Media Consent Release Form

    If you want to use volunteer names, pictures or voice on your website, in publications, in press releases, etc., it is required that prior permission be obtained from the volunteer to record, use, or reproduce the media. MDRMRC Units should use the “MDH Media Consent Release Form” (Appendix C) for obtaining this permission.​

    D. Recruitment Strategies

    There are multiple strategies that can be used to recruit new volunteers. Because every community is different, what works as an optimal recruitment method in one jurisdiction may not be effective in another. Listed below are some examples of recruitment strategies to consider. ​


    For examples of language and templates to use for the following recruitment methods, see the Maryland Responds MRC Identity Toolkit
    • Work with your housing organization’s webmaster to create a dedicated webpage for your MDRMRC Unit. Be sure to email the link to this page to the MDRMRC State Program so it can be posted to the MDRMRC Network website
    • Issue a press release to local media outlets to inform them of your local MDRMRC Unit 
    • Community bulletin boards, such as those in hospitals and clinics, can be used to post recruitment flyers
    • Create local radio and television spots to promote your MDRMRC Unit
    • Write a newspaper article to promote your MDRMRC Unit’s activities
    • Register with the national MRC Program by visiting https://mrc.hhs.gov/leaderFldr/HowToStartAnMRC and keep your Unit profile up-to-date 
    • Create a social media page or group for your volunteers or post your MDRMRC unit’s recruitment messages to LHD social media accounts. 
    • “Like” the MDRMRC Facebook​ page from your Unit’s page
    • Use direct mail/email to recruit volunteers 
    • Coordinate recruitment efforts with other local volunteer organizations (e.g., Citizens Corps, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), American Red Cross, etc.)

    Community Outreach Events

    • Promote your Unit by giving a recruitment presentation at trainings, conferences, or professional meetings 
      • For a recruitment presentation template, see “Recruitment Presentation − Template” (Appendix L​)  
      • Providing registered volunteers with training in how to recruit at an event or conduct a recruitment presentation can expand your recruitment efforts
    • Host a recruitment table at trainings, conferences, meetings, community events, health fairs, community service events, etc. 

    Additional Sources of Volunteers

    Discuss potential partnerships with other community organizations to promote emergency preparedness and your MDRMRC Unit. The following is a list of agencies that may be sources of volunteers:​
    • Aging services
    • Amateur radio groups 
    • Local American Red Cross chapters
    • Clinics and hospitals
    • Colleges and universities
    • Local health department offices
    • Local government agencies
    • Large employers
    • Local sorority and fraternity chapters
    • Medical facilities
    • Nonprofits
    • Professional organizations
    • Places of worship and other religious organizations 
    • School systems

    E. MDRMRC State Program Recruitment Activities​

    Statewide recruitment activities conducted by the MDRMRC State Program are intended to supplement and support MDRMRC Unit recruitment efforts. Unit Administrators should not solely rely on State Program recruitment efforts to increase the numbers of volunteers in their Unit. Statewide recruitment efforts will focus on recruiting volunteers through state-level organizations, such as professional licensing boards, professional organizations, other state agencies, and large private organizations with regional or statewide memberships. There may be limited opportunities for State Administrators to recruit at local events; however, Unit Administrators should make every effort to attend local events before contacting the State Program. State support to attend a recruitment event can be requested by using the online form found at: https://goo.gl/forms/QeL6KoUpwHnLc2nk2​.