Writing Letters of Recommendation for Volunteers

Published March 20, 2020
Woman volunteer with clipboard

If you are in a leadership role with a nonprofit organization, volunteers may sometimes ask you to write a letter of recommendation on their behalf. Whether a volunteer has asked you to provide a recommendation letter for a job application, college or grad school admission, scholarship application, other volunteer role, or for another reason, the template provided here can easily be customized to meet your needs.

Sample Letter of Recommendation for a Volunteer

The template provided here can easily be customized for any request to write a letter of recommendation for a volunteer. To access the template, just click the image below. It will open in PDF format in a new window or tab, depending on your computer's configuration. Click anywhere in the text to make changes, then save and/or print when you are ready. See this guide to printables if you need working assistance with the document.

Considerations for Writing a Volunteer Recommendation Letter

It's important to keep in mind that being asked to write a letter of recommendation for an individual is both an honor and a significant responsibility. You should only agree to write this kind of letter if you are going to follow through with the commitment and can truly provide a positive reference for the individual. Key tips to keep in mind include:

  • Find out from the individual requesting the letter if there are specific guidelines for what should be covered in the letter and how the letter should be submitted.
  • Check with the nonprofit organization to verify if writing such a letter on behalf of a volunteer is allowed within the group's policies.
  • Make sure you know the purpose of the letter before you start writing so you can adjust the angle appropriately. For example, the content of a scholarship recommendation letter would not be the same as a general character reference or a business reference.
  • Regardless of the purpose, follow an appropriate business letter format.
  • Clarify that your experience with the individual is specific to his or her volunteer work.
  • Indicate if you are on staff for the organization or if you are also a volunteer.
  • Specify the type of duties the person performed with which you are familiar.
  • List positive skills and/or traits that you observed the individual exhibiting.
  • End the letter appropriately, being sure to include your telephone number and email address.
  • Proofread carefully, ensuring that the letter is accurate and free from grammatical mistakes.

Paying Forward the Good Deeds of Volunteers

Writing a recommendation letter for a person who has willingly shared his or her time and talent with a cause that you believe in is a great way to reward volunteerism. Think of your role in writing such as letter as a way of paying forward the good deeds the individual performed through volunteering. The time you spend helping a volunteer accomplish a personal or professional goal by providing a written recommendation is a great example of volunteer relations and the power of networking.

Writing Letters of Recommendation for Volunteers