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How to Write a Job Application Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter is essential when applying for jobs. This is the perfect way to express how your specific skills are relevant to the open position. Wow your future employer with this simple cover letter example format.

Write a First Draft

Writing a first draft makes your letter concise and professional, states The Balance Careers. Organize your thoughts by making a list of what you’re trying to convey. Make sure you prioritize certain aspects like your previous job experience and why you would be a good fit for the position. Clearly state what position you’re interested in and why. Think about why you’re applying and what caught your eye about this specific position. Your cover letter will be easier to write after your thoughts are collected and organized.

Customize Your Salutation

When writing a salutation, make sure you know who you are writing to. Is this person the owner of the company or a Human Resources administrator? If you’re not sure, research the company to find out. Addressing your cover letter to a specific person shows initiative and attention to detail. After your salutation, start your letter with a short introduction of yourself. This gives future employers insight into who you are and the purpose of your cover letter.

Write Intentionally

Your cover letter should be no more than one page, so keep your points brief. Clearly state what position you are interested in and why. Explain why you are a good fit for the company because of your past job experience. If you have no similar job experience, let the employer know why you are changing career paths. Expand on your skills and give specific examples of how that skill set helped you at your last position. Name projects you’ve worked on and show results.

Close Your Letter

End your cover letter with a brief sentence and sign off. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest towards the job again. Let them know you’ll follow up with them if you do not hear back within a week and leave your contact information. Sign off with a professional farewell and leave room for a signature if sending a hard copy.

Edit and Proofread

As you finish writing your cover letter, make sure you take time to edit and proofread your document. Make sure it’s structured in a professional format with the company’s information, the salutation and introduction, the body of the letter, a brief closing sentence and farewell. Check for spelling and grammar mistakes to ensure a formal result. Make sure all names are spelled correctly, as well.


writing a cover letter volunteer

Sample Cover Letter for a Volunteer Position

Mary McLain / The Balance

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter to Volunteer

What to include in a cover letter for volunteering, how to send an email cover letter.

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.

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.

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.

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.

writing a cover letter volunteer

Here's an example of a cover letter written for a volunteer position.

Sample Cover Letter for a Volunteer Position (Text Version)

Brady Applicant

123 Main Street Anytown, CA 12345 555-555-5555

May 4, 2021

Jackson Lee Director 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)

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.

Here's how to format an email cover letter and more details on sending an email cover letter.

writing a cover letter volunteer

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Volunteer Cover Letter Example & Writing Guide

Volunteer Cover Letter Example & Writing Guide

You’re all about giving. Write a volunteer cover letter that will help you get the job that gives back.

Oliwia Wolkowicz

As seen in:

Some people work for money. Some people work to give back. You’re the latter—you want to volunteer.

But you’re not the only one.

There are hundreds of people out there claiming to want to work for the greater good. So it’s not enough to tell recruiters that you’re passionate about something or that you want to give back to others.

So how do you stand out like a shining beacon of hope?

By writing a volunteer cover letter that no one will be able to ignore.

This guide will show you a volunteer cover letter example, plus the best tips on how to write a volunteer letter step-by-step.

Let’s get to work.

Want to write your cover letter fast? Use our cover letter builder. Choose from  20+ professional cover letter templates  that match your resume. See actionable examples and get expert tips along the way.

Create your cover letter now

Volunteer Cover Letter Example

Sample cover letter for a resume— See more cover letter samples and create your cover letter here .

Volunteer Letter Sample

Ellis D. Wight

3016 West Drive

Chicago, IL 60606


[email protected]

Chicago, 7/15/2019

Mr. Kurt Pipkin

Rainbow Academy

1515 Fredericks Street

Chicago, IL 60608

Dear Mr. Pipkin,

I am excited about the volunteer opening at Rainbow Academy. I’ve been volunteering as a teacher’s aide for over 6 years with great enjoyment. Rainbow Academy is a place where I could continue the volunteering that I love as well as expand creatively with your renown outdoor learning program.

A lot of people overlook the importance of the role of the teacher’s aide as just a watered down list of teacher’s duties. I see it more as a role that can enrich the lives of young students and therefore influence their lives positively. I carry that same passion and philosophy in my professional life as a full time ESL teacher for children. Interactive classroom set ups as well as engaging extracurricular activities led me to receiving the “most innovative teacher of the year” award in Illinois in 2018. One of my biggest drivers when approaching teaching is using the environment around us to teach children in a safe yet interactive environment. This way they not only learn information, but also how to interact with the world around them.

When one of my colleagues, Pauline Shanchez, mentioned this volunteering opportunity, I jumped at the chance. Rainbow Academy is a leading preschool centered around creating safe spaces for children to learn and grow and using the outdoors as a medium for that growth. I’m positive that I would be a natural fit in the Rainbow Academy team due to my own passion for innovative teaching and my own inquisitive nature.

Could we schedule a call next week to discuss how I could assist teachers using my experience in interactive classroom set ups?

Ellis Wight

That was a great example of a volunteering cover letter. Read on to see just how you can write one just like this.

See our other support-based writing guides here:

Volunteer Cover Letter Template 

The purpose of a volunteer cover letter is to show the recruiter that you have the skills, experience, and passion that a good volunteer needs. 

Why? Because volunteering is on the rise and hitting record-breaking highs. That makes for stiff competition. It also makes for more candidates adding their volunteer experience to their resumes and cover letters to outshine everyone else. So if you’re asking yourself:

Should I add volunteering to my cover letter?

The answer is a definite yes. Add any previous experience as a volunteer to show your professionalism and dedication to giving back.

But whether it’s your first time applying for a volunteering job or you’re a veteran of lending a helping hand, you need to get your volunteer cover letter right. 

Here are the best tips on how to write a great volunteering cover letter :

1. Use the proper volunteer letter format

Volunteering isn’t easy since you need to slide right into an established company structure pretty fast. Make sure your cover letter structure is just as sound as the company you’re giving your time to:

Read more: The Best Covering Letter Layout

2. Create a professional volunteer cover letter header

If you can’t find the name of the hiring manager, try searching the company’s website or their LinkedIn page. If that fails, try giving the company a call and simply asking.

Read more: Cover Letter Header Examples

3. Open with a personal greeting and a compelling first paragraph

Read more: How to Start a Cover Letter With a Bang

4. Show that you’re the candidate they’re looking for

Read more: What Should a Cover Letter Say?

5. Explain why this is the job you want

Read more: What to Include in a Cover Letter?

6. Make an offer and include a call to action

Read more: Great Cover Letter Closing Paragraph Examples

7. Close with a professional sign-off

How long should a cover letter be for volunteers? One page should definitely be enough.

Once you’re done writing your volunteer letter, make sure it has a design just as great as your accomplishments: Professional Cover Letter Design

It’s not enough to just send out your cover letter and hope for the best. Always follow up on your volunteer request letter. Here’s how to do just that: Write a Great Follow Up Email to Your Application 

As you can see, a great volunteer coordinator cover letter can really help you give back to the community through the best organization or company possible. Don’t forget to give your volunteer covering letter a helping hand by coupling it with a fantastic resume.

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a  professional resume template here for free .

Create the perfect resume

When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

Thanks for reading! What do you think of this volunteer’s letter? Are there any pointers you think we’ve left out? Let us know in the comments below!

Oliwia Wolkowicz

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Volunteering Cover Letter Examples

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:

Women's Shelter Cover Letter Example

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:

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

Madison Jones , Animal Care Volunteer (123) 456-7890 | [email protected] |

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:

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,

Find out your resume score!

resume score

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

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

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 [email protected] 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 .

Julia Gergelova — Resume Writer

Julia Gergelova

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.


All volunteering cover letter examples

Women's Shelter Cover Letter Example

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As a volunteer, you want to demonstrate how the company or organization can benefit from your service. A well-crafted cover letter can do just that. Not only can you demonstrate your specific skills and interests, but you can also let the hiring managers know why these qualities make you the best candidate for their particular volunteer opportunity. Looking through a professional volunteer cover letter sample like the one below can help you land that perfect position.

Professional Volunteer Cover Letter Sample

Professional Volunteer Cover Letter Sample

Volunteer Cover Letter Must-Haves

No matter how much experience you’ve had, make sure your volunteer cover letter doesn’t exceed one page. If you don’t know the name of the hiring manager, avoid To Whom It May Concern, and instead leave the salutation blank. You’ll also want to avoid I think and I believe statements. It’s best to use a confident tone like the one in the above professional volunteer cover letter sample. This confidence will show the hiring manager that you are up to the task and that you don’t doubt your abilities.

Best Action Verbs for a Volunteer Cover Letter

To help your cover letter come alive and accurately display your capabilities, use action verbs that best describe you, such as displayed, established, entertained, administered, assisted, encouraged, helped, and rehabilitated, following the structure found in the professional volunteer cover letter sample.

Cover Letter Text

Dear Jessica Blythe,

A friend of mine told me about your volunteer opportunity, as she worked for you last year. As I approach my senior year in nursing, I need to participate in a volunteer opportunity, and Sutter Nursing Home is exactly what I’m looking for. Throughout my studies, I have cared for my elderly grandmother. In fact, my concern for her well-being is what first attracted me to the nursing field. As a result, I’ve worked hard to learn as much as I can, both in an academic setting and through my experiences off campus. I am on the academic track to receive my B.S. with honors, and I have demonstrated proven leadership skills. In school assignments, I often volunteer to do the jobs that others would prefer not to do, because I know every duty has a purpose and a place in serving the patient. Instead of shying away from difficult tasks, such as helping a patient with a bedpan, I compassionately and respectfully assist the patient. My can-do attitude has helped place me in the top 5 percent of my class, and I have received recognition from my professors. I see volunteer opportunities not as assignments to check off, but rather as chances to learn and grow. I would be honored to continue my journey as a volunteer for Sutter. If you feel I would be a good fit, I would love to speak with you further and answer any questions you may have. Thank you for taking the time to consider my application.


writing a cover letter volunteer

Volunteer Cover Letter Example

Volunteer Cover Letter Example

What’s the difference between a successful job application for a volunteer and someone pursuing a paid position? Actually, there isn’t much at all — an answer you may find surprising. With so many volunteer positions based on heart and passion for the role, an exceptional volunteer cover letter can give you an advantage over other applicants who haven’t included one. 

No matter what form of volunteering you’ve decided to pursue, we’re here to help you create an interview-winning cover letter. With 300+ writing guides and occupation-specific cover letter examples, is a resource for candidates in all fields and at all experience levels. This writing guide, backed by volunteering cover letter example, will cover these topics:

The job market for volunteers is recession-proof and guaranteed to never dry up for any reason, anywhere on the planet. Consider these facts posted by TRVST , an organization championing global change-making initiatives. 

Best format for a volunteer cover letter

Your volunteer cover letter should be structured exactly the same way as it would be for a paid job opportunity in the same field. These are the sections to include:

Cover letter header

Cover letter greeting, cover letter introduction, cover letter body.

The overall guidelines for reader-friendliness are also the same. 

Here is an adaptable volunteer cover letter example that you can customize for the position and hiring organization:

Dear Mr. Sonnenheim, | am writing as an aspiring soccer coach to see whether there is an opportunity to volunteer at the Boston Cubs? Having played soccer since I was 13, I had to curtail my playing career last year due to injury and would love to give back to the game during my sports science degree. I have no formal coaching experience; but would be keen to take on my first coaching qualifications alongside the volunteer work. A friend of mine helped out last year and he said that you are open to such arrangements. I have worked with the 11-16 age group previously at summer camps and I enjoy helping kids make the most of their potential and love watching them challenge themselves. I have a solid understanding of the tactics of soccer, but realize that much of the initial work will be organizational and logistical. I am a qualified minivan driver and was a treasurer for my college theater group, so hopefully I have other skills that may come in useful for the club. Due to my previous work with schoolchildren, I have all recent background checks and can share 35+ positive references from parents and participants. I live ten minutes walk away from your training ground and have watched the kids play every now and again on my weekend strolls. They all seem to have so much fun and I would love to be a part of that journey for them. I would relish the opportunity to come along and discuss what else I might be able to contribute to the Cubs. Sincerely, Bridgette Cole

The header lends off-the-top importance to your volunteer cover letter’s overall goal — to attract favorable attention leading to a job interview. It serves two key purposes:

A matching pair Recruiters in a volunteer-dependent organization may sometimes be stretched to their multi-tasking limit, and perhaps frazzled when poring over job applications. A visually matched resume and cover letter pair can be a sight for sore eyes. 

The small bit of extra effort it takes to make these documents look like they belong together could ensure both get more than a passing glance.

Goal of the cover letter header: Set yourself apart from possibly hundreds of other volunteer job applicants with a visually distinctive identifier and contact information.

Volunteer job applicants may have an advantage when it comes to knowing who their cover letter greeting should address. They’ve likely shown initiative in exploring opportunities of interest and determined the requirements to apply, including recruiter contact information. Or, they may already have firsthand knowledge and connections without having to do research.

In any case, do address your cover letter to someone by name if possible. The positive psychological impact is well established. Otherwise, there’s no need to overthink the salutation: “Dear <Mr.> or <Ms.> Surname” is never outdated. Sometimes, the less formal “Hello,” “Greetings” or “Hi” is fine instead of “Dear.” Only use a first name greeting if you know the recipient personally. 

If you are unable to find out the recipient’s name, fashion a warmer alternative to “To Whom It May Concern.” Try “Dear <Organization Name> Volunteer Hiring Team” or something similar.

Goal of the cover letter greeting: Start off by directly addressing the person responsible for recruiting volunteers in a warm but professional manner.

Dear Mr. Sonnenheim,

Your volunteer cover letter introduction is pivotal to forming a connection with the reader. It’s where your passion, personality and purpose start shining through.   Volunteer recruiters will naturally expect you to start highlighting your most relevant strengths and background experience right away. And you absolutely should — especially emphasizing your people skills up front. But the biggest wow factor comes from revealing your “why.” Why do you care about this organization or charitable cause? What’s driving your desire to give? If there’s a personal, close-to-home reason, share that. This motivational insight should answer the recruiter’s foremost “how” question: How will your volunteer efforts help us if we give you this opportunity?

Goal of the cover letter introduction: Appeal to the specific needs of the organization or cause by conveying how your volunteering efforts will be of benefit.

Here’s an introduction idea from our volunteer letter sample:

I am writing as an aspiring soccer coach to see whether there is an opportunity to volunteer at Boston Cubs? I had played soccer since I was 13, but had to curtail my playing career last year due to injury and would love to give back to the game during my sports science degree.

Again, the same advice for writing the middle section (known as the body) of any job search cover letter applies when you are seeking a volunteer role. Focus on what the volunteer job requirements are and why your background is a good fit. 

Whether your previous experience has been professional or in other volunteer capacities is less important than its relevance to this particular volunteer job. Elaborate on achievements and the transferable skills brought to bear — especially soft skills. Cite relatable facts and figures such as target-beating fundraising totals or special event attendance. And by all means, share an anecdote or two that the reader can relate to on a personal level.

Goal of the cover letter body: Instill confidence in your sense of dedication and desire to contribute as a volunteer, based on relevant background experience.

This volunteer cover letter sample illustrates what you might include in the middle part:

I have no formal coaching experience; but would be keen to take on my first coaching qualifications alongside the volunteer work. A friend of mine helped out last year and he said that you are open to such arrangements. I have worked with the 11-16 age group previously at summer camps and I enjoy helping kids make the most of their potential and love watching them challenge themselves. I have a solid understanding of the tactics of soccer, but realize that much of the initial work will be organizational and logistical. I am a qualified minivan driver and was a treasurer for my college theater group, so hopefully I have other skills that may come in useful for the club. Due to my previous work with schoolchildren, I have all recent background checks and can share 35+ positive references from parents and participants. I live ten minutes walk away from your training ground and have watched the kids play every now and again on my weekend strolls. They all seem to have so much fun and I would love to be a part of that journey for them.

How to close a volunteer cover letter (conclusion & sign-off)

Like any cover letter, yours should end with a note of thanks for the recruiter’s interest and a concluding remark about your potential assets as a hired volunteer. Sound optimistic with the hope of hearing back soon; perhaps take that call to action a step further by asking if an interview can be arranged.  In addition, be sure to stipulate when you are available to volunteer and how much time you can commit. Specify the best way to reach you by repeating the phone number or email address shown in the header.

Finally, simply sign off with “Sincerely,” Best regards,” or “Best,” above your name. 

Aim of the cover letter closing: End with an upbeat call to action, ideally resulting in an interview, along with information about your volunteer availability.

Below is the closing section of our volunteer letter example.

I would relish the opportunity to come along and discuss what else I might be able to contribute to the Cubs. Sincerely, Bridgette Cole

Writing psychology

Reversing the roles is actually a useful way to look at the persuasive goal of any cover letter, whether you are applying for a paid position or a volunteer job. Put yourself behind the recruiter’s desk. Imagine routinely receiving dozens of submissions every week from volunteer hopefuls, compared with a salaried job vacancy generating a finite number of applications within a closed timeframe. 

Consider the added burden of proof that a volunteer cover letter carries when it comes to motivations compelling enough for the reader to pay serious attention. And never assume that qualified willing volunteers are in such short supply that organizations, out of desperation, will take anyone who steps forward. 

It goes without saying that most volunteer applications are “voluntary,” so recruiters are curious about the underlying reasons — typically to gain work experience, develop skills or give back to the community. Besides wanting to know your volunteer goals and whether the position is a good mutual fit, the cover letter reader needs a good sense of your potential value to the team and how long your commitment will last.

If your volunteer job application is not actually “voluntary” — that is, it’s a requirement for school, work or some other purpose — consider ways to reframe this information in your cover letter without being deceptive. Try to avoid casting doubt about whether your interest in the opportunity and desire to help are genuine. 

Common cover letter mistakes to avoid

Avoiding the most common cover letter pitfalls will ensure your volunteer appeal hits the mark. 

Key takeaways for a volunteer cover letter

For more inspiration, check out our other related resume examples:

Free professionally designed templates

Volunteer Cover Letter Examples

Volunteers are found in a variety of nonprofit organizations performing unremunerated work. They have various skill levels and perform tasks in order to support a cause or give back to the community. Volunteer duties vary depending on organization and may include: undergoing training, complete work as assigned, collaborating with other departments, and giving feedback during evaluations.

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Include These Volunteer Skills

Similar Volunteer skills can be observed in the cover letter example provided below.

Dear Mr. Fox:

As an engaged, self-motivated, and collaborative individual with superior interpersonal and organization skills, I am eager to explore volunteer opportunities with Mud Bay Immigrant Welfare. With my dynamic experience in community relationship building and program coordination, I can bring a wealth of knowledge and skills that will benefit your organization.

I am ready to meet any of your program’s needs and requirements, from helping to create and implement organizational strategies, to recruiting new members, to facilitating program education and advocacy. My dedication to advancing impactful organizational causes—along with my strong leadership, communication, and planning capabilities—position me to thrive in this role.

Consider the following highlights of my qualifications:

Excelling in various volunteer capacities for numerous organizations, including the Los Angeles Humane Society, Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, and the 2014 Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk.

Serving as Volunteer Coordinator for Heal the Bay; recruiting USC students to participate in county-wide beach clean-up events in Los Angeles.

Demonstrating consistently exceptional time management, project coordination, and team leadership abilities.

Previous career tenure in positions focused on global human rights advocacy; degree in International Relations from USC.

With my experience and enthusiasm, backed by excellent coordination and collaboration talents, I can make immediately valuable contributions to your group. The opportunity to discuss volunteer possibilities in further detail would be most welcome. Thank you for your consideration.

Wolf Bradbury

A professional cover letter is the first step toward your new job!


8 Ways To Incorporate Volunteer Work Into Your Cover Letter

Nilda Melissa Diaz

8 Ways To Incorporate Volunteer Work in Your Cover Letter

Ready to start your cover letter.

A group of people doing volunteer work

Your cover letter is a strong tool at your disposal during your job search. It often determines whether employers review or reject your resume . To keep your document out of the trash, use relevant cover letter samples and avoid common mistakes such as detailing every prior position in your career. How do you avoid such a mistake? How do you make your document more impressive than other candidates’ cover letters?

Consider including volunteer work in your letter. In some cases, it is not a good idea to mention this information, but often it improves your chances of standing out as a remarkable applicant. Use the following tips to learn how to use this type of experience to enhance your document.

1. Relate it to the job at hand

Before you write about your volunteer work, determine its relevance to the position. Glenn Lucas, a veteran office manager who reviews hundreds of resumes and cover letters each year, notes that he does not waste time considering candidates who detail irrelevant experience of any kind. “Your volunteering may be interesting. It may promote a great cause. However, if it does not relate to the job, it does not tell me why I should hire you,” he says.

Before you write about your volunteer work, determine its relevance to the position.

In your unpaid position, did you perform duties or have specific responsibilities that reflect the descriptions in the job listing? Find a connection between your unpaid work and the job to which you are applying. Point to their similarities.

2. Include it only when appropriate

“I enjoy reading a cover letter that mentions applicable volunteer roles. It often sets one candidate apart from the rest of the hiring pool,” Lucas relates. Some hiring managers do not share this opinion, however. Research the company and the position to determine if it is appropriate to include such roles in your document.

Think about the nature of your work as well. Some applicants choose to exclude volunteer work in political, religious, or other areas that hiring managers may view as controversial. While discrimination against job seekers because of their beliefs is illegal, you want to avoid biasing employers against you for any reason. Understand the risks you are taking before you include such information in your letter.

3. Use it to illuminate your skills

There are many helpful cover letter writing tips that can guide you as you craft your cover letter. One such guideline is to showcase your skills. You can use your volunteer work to do this.

“When you talk about your unpaid positions, identify transferrable proficiencies.”

“When you talk about your unpaid positions, identify transferrable proficiencies,” Lucas recommends. “This keeps the focus on your skills that relate to the job at hand just as much as the fact that you provide these skills for free.” Try to emphasize your use of pertinent technical proficiencies, not soft skills or personality traits, when describing this work. Our Cover Letter Builder can help you figure out which skills and strengths to emphasize in your cover letter.

4. List it as additional information

Avoid making your unpaid role the sole focus of your cover letter, unless you have no official experience to illustrate. “Consider your volunteer work as a supporting argument rather than an opening sales pitch,” advises Lucas. In most cases, prospective employers care more about your career history and skills.

Discuss your career and proficiencies first in your cover letter to convince hiring managers to read your resume and consider you for the open position. Mention volunteer work only after you introduce yourself, identify your top skills, and list at least one relevant official job you held previously in your career.

5. Place it in the second half of your document

Most hiring managers read the top half of your cover letter first. You want to hook them with this section. Your opening anecdote and the introduction of your top credentials belong in this space.

Incorporate your volunteering into one of the last paragraphs of your document.

After illuminating other experiences, incorporate your volunteering into one of the last paragraphs of your document. “This can set you apart even more as an appealing candidate,” Lucas notes. “If, however, your unofficial roles fail to impress hiring managers, the qualifications you discussed previously in your document may prevent them from discarding your letter and resume altogether.”

6. Identify it to enhance your other qualifications

Your cover letter needs to paint a picture of how you will benefit the employer if you get the job. Do this by using a few short paragraphs to illustrate the skills , work history , and accomplishments you list in your introductory paragraphs. Include your volunteer work in one of these concise paragraphs.

For instance, you may mention your abilities to reduce company costs, increase profits, and manage teams in the beginning of your letter. Your next two paragraphs should show how you cut costs and generated revenue in two previous paid positions. Your third paragraph should then identify how you led and supervised teams in a volunteer role.

7. Incorporate it as an anecdote

Don’t use a statement such as, “I developed skills in team and project management as a volunteer for ABC Organization.”

“Show, don’t tell.”

Such statements are uninspiring, Lucas cautions. “Show, don’t tell,” he urges. “As you incorporate your volunteer work into your cover letter, use it to tell a story that illustrates a special achievement or valuable skill.” Provide an anecdote that describes a scenario similar to situations you may face in the new role. This is more likely to interest and entertain prospective employers.

8. Describe it as something you want to do

While some hiring managers enjoy learning about your volunteering, others sometimes see it as a red flag. “Put their mind at ease by mentioning why you work without pay,” Lucas advises. “Show them you take on these roles because you want to volunteer, not because you have to do it.” Identify a passion for a particular cause or a desire to develop specific skills.

You may want to do this only if you are unsure how hiring managers will respond to your descriptions of unofficial work. Otherwise, you can discuss your motives for volunteering in an interview if the opportunity presents itself.

A stellar cover letter can lead to new job opportunities. Including volunteer experience in your letter often helps set you apart from other job seekers. Turn to our useful Cover Letter Templates and Cover Letter Builder to incorporate this experience into your document and construct a perfect letter. Our Builder is easy to use and can guide you every step of the way until you have a personalized document that grabs the attention of prospective employers.

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Nilda Melissa Diaz

Career advice contributor.

Nilda Melissa Díaz is a Career Advice Writer. She has worked for the Washington Post, Stringr, and Latina Style Magazine. She has a master's in journalism from Columbia University and is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

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Home : 000-000-0000 Cell: 000-000-0000

[email protected]

Dear Mr. Parsons,

I understand the Department of Victim Services is in need of a volunteer. I am a retired social worker with over 30 years of experience as a victim advocate. I worked for 15 years with the Parkland Police Department counseling victims of domestic violence and rape.

For the latter half of my career I was an advocate with the City, State Police Department working with families who lost members under violent circumstances. I offered grief counseling and voluntarily maintained a six month contact with every client referred to me. My goal is to help people meet their greatest challenges in their darkest times. Since my retirement in 2010 to care for my ill daughter I have done volunteer work at the Scott Hinsen Senior Center and the Franklin City, State Hospital counseling clients on improving health lifestyle and finances.

Now that my daughter is well and working full time again I am ready to broaden my range of volunteer work. I truly believe my purpose is to help others and I want to volunteer with the Department of Victim Services at even the smallest level. I have attached my resume and look forward to coming in for an interview.

Sincerely Yours,

Isla Cisneros

There are plenty of opportunities to land a position, but it won’t just be handed to you. Crafting a cover letter that catches the attention of hiring managers is paramount to getting the job, and LiveCareer is here to help you stand out from the competition.

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How to Write a Cover Letter for Volunteer Work

Ready to volunteer? If you're looking to gain experience or simply want to help others, there's a high chance you'll need a volunteering cover letter.

Joanna Zambas

Joanna Zambas

Content Manager and Career Expert

Volunteer working with children with an overlay of a covering letter

Volunteering can add valuable experience and skills to your résumé, especially if you’re fresh out of education or changing occupation. That said, it can be hard to bag the perfect volunteer role. To help you, we'll walk you through all the steps you need to take to write an impressive cover letter to help you grab the attention of the recruiter.

What to include in a volunteer cover letter

As with any formal document or a regular cover letter, you need to follow a professional format. Below we’ve listed the correct formatting rules, structure and layout to ensure you impress the reader.

Your name and address

Your name and address should be written at the top right-hand corner of the page. In American English, the sender's address can sometimes be found in the top-left corner, so be sure to alter your template according to your location.

The date should appear a few lines below the letterhead — avoid this part if your request is via email.

The addressee’s name and address

A space should be left between the date and the addressee’s name and address. Regardless of your location, this should appear on the left-hand side of the page. If your letter is via email, skip this step and add a ‘subject line’.

Any formal letter should start with a formal greeting. A good way of making an impression is to use their name. For example, you could open with ‘Dear Ms Smith’. If you can’t find the hiring manager's name anywhere, writing ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ is acceptable.


The introduction is the perfect chance to market yourself and capture the recruiter’s attention. Open the letter by sharing your interest in the position and explain how and why you would be a good fit for the position by using a short example.

Within the body, go into further detail by explaining why you’d be perfect for the volunteering position . You could mention skills that you have that will benefit the work, relevant work experience or your educational background. If your previous jobs are not directly relevant to the role, then mention your employment history as a way to highlight your specific strengths as a volunteer. You may want to focus on your work ethic, your dedication to your current or former employers, and any transferable skills that could be relevant to the position you're applying for.

Close the letter by mentioning how much it would mean to you if you were selected to be part of the team. Inform them of how excited you are about the position and how you look forward to hearing from them soon.

Conclude with ‘Yours sincerely’, followed by your full name and signature. If you’re sending this via email, simply use your name and contact information.

Tips for writing a volunteer cover letter

To help you write a better cover letter, follow these handy tips:

Do your research

Before any job application, it’s important to do your research and find out all you can about the company. Have a clear understanding of the organisation’s goals and what the role entails. This will ensure that you are a genuinely good fit for the role. Besides researching the company, find out who is handling the hiring, so you know who to address your letter to.

Define your goals

After doing your research, you should know what the company's mission statement is, which will help you define your goals and align them to the goals of the organisation that you’re applying to. For example, if you’re applying to teach English abroad, explain how you are a great listener and educator who wants to help others develop their knowledge and skills.

Keep it short

The space on the page should be used wisely — don’t fill up two pages with unnecessary information. It’s important to keep your cover letter short and sweet, highlighting only essential details and facts that show off your skills, abilities and experience. Save your stories for the interview , where you can further elaborate on your experiences in the workplace.

Proofread your letter

Be sure to proofread your letter and look for any typos, misspelt words, grammatical and punctuation errors. You could even use a proofreading application like Grammarly that will do the work for you, or ask a trusted friend to skim their eyes over it and offer any corrections.

If you send off an application for volunteer work with sloppy errors, chances are you won’t get the opportunity, as you’ll have come across as unprofessional through your letter.

Match your résumé's design

With a high volume of applications, hiring managers will be looking for someone with an edge, so why not match your cover letter to your résumé template’s design? It’ll show that you’ve gone the extra mile to create professional documents.

To help you, we’ve created the ideal résumé templates bundle , which offers a range of reliable templates along with our job search application checklist.

Volunteer cover letter example

Here's a sample letter requesting volunteer work.

Volunteer Request Letter

If you’re applying via email, you could follow this template:

Mrs Jane Smith 123 street name City, County Postcode

Dear Mr Crane,

I came across the volunteer opening at the Red Cross, and I was instantly excited at the opportunity to volunteer for such a prestigious organisation. Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked as a nurse in private and public institutions. I would love the opportunity to give back to the world and work for a cause that is close to my heart.

A lot of people take nursing for granted. However, I see it as a role that can positively impact someone’s health and offer guidance. In the last decade, I have nursed sick children back to health, worked in a maternity ward and in a busy accident and emergency department. I would be grateful if I could offer these resources to children whose parents don’t have the funds for good healthcare. I have the experience of working in busy and demanding environments. Besides this, I have travelled to different countries already and have great interpersonal skills that will make my new patients feel comfortable.

As you can see, I’m extremely passionate about this role and believe I have valuable skills and experience that can benefit the cause that you’re working for. I hope that our goals align so we can offer the very best service to Third World countries that require the support.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch so we can schedule an interview. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

[Your Name] [Your Number] [email protected]

Final thoughts

Volunteer work not only adds credibility to your résumé but also gives you an opportunity to explore different cultures, learn new skills and gain valuable experience, so it’s important to create an impressive cover letter and résumé to ensure that you get the position.

Have you volunteered for a company recently? Did you write a letter similar to this that was successful? Let us know your thoughts and comments below.

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 23 October 2017.

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