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Writing Effective Volunteer Cover Letters (With Sample)

Mary Gormandy White
Man raising hand to volunteer

Nonprofit organizations rely on the generosity of volunteers. If you'd like to donate your time and talents to a cause you believe in, consider sending a letter requesting to serve as a volunteer. Cover letters for volunteer roles are similar to job application cover letters, with a few adjustments. Use the sample volunteer application letter provided here as a starting point to craft an effective letter of your own.

Sample Volunteer Cover Letter Template

To access the volunteer application letter template, simply click the image below. The letter will open as a PDF file in a separate tab or window (depending on your computer's settings). Use this guide to printables if you need help with the document. Click anywhere in the document to change the text to meet your needs. Once you have made changes, save and/or print the document.

You may also want to view a few other cover letter examples before finalizing your volunteer opportunity request letter.

Best Practices for Volunteer Application Letters

Make your letter stand out by following best practices for writing a great cover letter. Key tips for writing this type of business letter include:

  • Address the letter to a specific contact person rather than a general "to whom it may concern" greeting. (Call the organization and ask who the contact should be.)
  • Use a standard business letter format.
  • Ensure the tone of the letter is appropriate for professional communication.
  • Make it clear that you are requesting volunteer work, not applying for a paid position.
  • Explain why you're interested in volunteering with this particular organization.
  • State what kind of volunteer work you would like to do for the group.
  • Highlight what qualifies you to do this kind of work.
  • Including your resume or a list of skills to emphasize your qualifications.
  • Ask how to proceed with your efforts to become a volunteer.
  • Include your telephone number and email address.
  • End the letter with an appropriate business letter closing.
  • Proofread closely, ensuring the letter is well-written and free from grammatical errors.
  • Keep track of the volunteer application letters you send and follow-up with a phone call or email within a few weeks if you don't get a response.

Sending a Letter Requesting Volunteer Work

You can submit a printed volunteer cover letter via mail or hand-deliver it to the organization's office. You can also email your cover letter if you have the contact person's email address, which may be availalbe on the organization's website. If using email, you can send the PDF as an attachment or copy the text into the body of an email. Some organizations have electronic communication policies prohibiting workers from opening attachments sent by unknown sources, so it's possible that the recipient is more likely to read your message without at attachment. Be sure to use a subject line indicating that the message contains a volunteer opportunity request.

Writing Effective Volunteer Cover Letters (With Sample)