When applying for any professional position, it is good form to include a cover letter with your resume. Your cover letter is an opportunity to highlight some of your most relevant qualifications and experiences, enhance your resume, and increase your chances of being called for an interview.
This is true for volunteer positions as well as for paid ones. Your cover letter is an opportunity to share your interest in an organization and explain why you'd like to volunteer with the group.
Here's advice on what to include in a cover letter for volunteering, an example, a template to download, and tips for emailing your letter.
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter to Volunteer
There are many reasons why you may be considering applying for a volunteer position. Perhaps you are hoping to volunteer as a way of exploring a possible career field. Or, you may feel passionate about a cause and wish to help “make a difference.”
It may be that volunteering is a required component of a school, church, or club program.
Whatever your reason, a strong cover letter will help you to gain positive attention and—hopefully—to garner a personal interview for the volunteer role you are interested in.
What to Include in a Cover Letter for Volunteering
Include Relevant Experience
When you’re writing a cover letter for a volunteer position, whenever possible, you should try to call on your experience that is most relevant to the volunteer role. Give some thought to what you believe will be your responsibilities as a volunteer, and then write a list of your experiences that have prepared you to assume these particular tasks.
Show How You're a Fit
The relevancy of your background experience is more important than whether it was voluntary, paid, or recreational. If you don’t have relevant experience, then do your best to connect your professional, academic, extracurricular, and/or personal history to the position, explaining why you think you are a great fit for the organization and how your skill set will enable you to become a strong contributor to their mission.
Explain Why You Want to Volunteer
You should also provide some reasoning as to why you are applying to volunteer. After all, in most cases, volunteering is completely “voluntary,” so the organization will want to know what’s motivating your application.
If you aren’t applying on your own volition—if it is part of some requirement for school, work, or something else—then it’s best not to mention anything that would cause the organization to doubt your genuine interest and enthusiasm for the opportunity.
Include Your Contact Information
Finally, you should end your letter with a brief description of your availability, along with the best way to contact you.
Sample Cover Letter for a Volunteer Position
You can use this cover letter sample as a model. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online), or read the text version below.
Here's an example of a cover letter written for a volunteer position.
Sample Cover Letter for a Volunteer Position (Text Version)
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345
May 4, 2021
Greenleaf Child Center
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321
Dear Mr. Lee,
I am interested in an opportunity to volunteer with the Greenleaf Child Center. I have significant experience working with children and would like to continue to do so in a volunteer capacity.
I volunteered as a teacher’s aide at the Champlain School and enjoyed being able to help kindergarteners learn during their first experience in a classroom. In this position, I assisted with classroom projects, provided one-on-one literacy tutoring to the children, and chaperoned field trips. I also contributed additional time, outside of my set hours, to stay after school and assist with extracurricular activities.
For the past several winters, I volunteered with children on the slopes of a local ski resort, assisting coaches with teaching basic skiing to toddlers and elementary school-age children.
If the Greenleaf Center has a need for a dedicated volunteer, I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to assist. I believe it would be an excellent opportunity to develop my interest in early childhood education, a field I wish to study and pursue professionally in the future.
My schedule is flexible, and I am available to volunteer both evening and weekend hours, as well as during the day. Please feel free to reach out to me via email or cell phone.
I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person to discuss any potential opportunities at the Greenleaf Child Center.
Thanks for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you!
Brady Applicant (signature hard copy letter)
How to Send an Email Cover Letter
If you're sending your cover letter via email, list your name and the reason you're writing in the subject line of the email message:
Subject: Volunteer Position - Brady Applicant
Include your contact information in your email signature, and don't list the employer's contact information. Start your email message with the salutation.