Volunteer Reference Letter: 19 Best Examples (Writing Tips)

Unlike the rest of the application, a reference letter provides vital information about the candidate from an outside source, providing details regarding qualifications, skills, traits, and abilities and listing laudable achievements. In addition, it helps the recipient understand the kind of person the candidate is.

A time will come when you will need to write a reference letter for someone—a former student, worker, or even a friend. This article covers all you need to know about it, its purpose, samples, and how to write a professional one.

These are formal letters attached to CVs to better expose the qualities of the candidate who has previously worked for a charitable organization.

In addition, it helps the organization better understand who the volunteers are as individuals to ascertain if they are fit for the open position.

It is often required when someone is applying for an internship, scholarship, or position requiring certain personal traits, skills, and achievements.

Free Templates

Free Parental Volunteer Reference Letter Sample for Word File

Free Volunteer Reference Letter Template for Word File

Editable Volunteer Reference Letter Sample for Word File

Editable Teacher Volunteer Reference Letter for Pdf File

Printable Volunteer Appreciation Letter Template for Pdf File

Free Volunteer Coach Reference Letter Sample for Pdf File

Printable Volunteer Reference Letter for College Sample for Pdf File

Free Volunteer Reference Letter for Students Sample for Pdf File

    The Significance of a Volunteer Reference Letter

    The core significance of a reference letter is to authoritatively disseminate laudable achievements and contributions to attest that the candidate possesses the characteristics required by the organization being applied to. In addition, it provides the organization with a clearer picture of the candidate’s personality.

    Since a hiring manager or a university administrator, in the case of a scholarship, cannot accept the candidate’s application at face value, the reference letter helps put the candidate in a favorable spot to secure the position. Therefore, it is of utmost importance as it helps the recipient assess the candidate’s experience in relation to the position and their skill set.

    Types of Reference Letters

    Free Volunteer Reference Letter Example 01for Pdf File

    Volunteer Reference Letter Example 01

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Printable Students Volunteer Reference Letter Example for Pdf File

    Students Volunteer Reference Letter Example

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Printable Volunteer Reference Letter Example 02 for Pdf File

    Volunteer Reference Letter Example 02

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Printable Teaching Volunteer Reference Letter Example for Pdf File

    Teaching Volunteer Reference Letter Example

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Printable Request Volunteer Reference Letter Example for Pdf File

    Request Volunteer Reference Letter Example

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Free College Volunteer Reference Letter Example for Pdf File

    College Volunteer Reference Letter Example

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Appreciation Volunteer Reference Letter Free Template

    Appreciation Volunteer Reference Letter Example

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

    Editable Volunteer Reference Letter Format Template for Pdf File

    Volunteer Reference Letter Format Template

    Download: Microsoft Word (.docx)

      Pre-Writing Considerations

      Like every other formal letter, there are certain factors one needs to consider before proceeding to write a reference letter for a volunteer.

      Some of those factors include the following:

      Confirm the essential guidelines to write

      Ensure confirmation from the candidate if there are specific guidelines stated by the organization and their details of interest (i.e., details they expect to see in the reference letter).

      Know the purpose of writing

      This is a very vital factor. You need to know why you are writing the reference letter and for what reason exactly. The way an internship is written is quite different from that of a candidate applying for a scholarship. Therefore, the exact purpose of it is to be figured out.

      Seek permission

      Always try to verify if writing reference letters from your organization is acceptable. Some nonprofit organizations, for various reasons, have internal policies in place that prevent such practices.

      How Do You Write an Effective Reference Letter?

      Use the steps mentioned below to write a professional reference letter:


      This section consists of the date, address, subject, or title of the letter, as well as professional greetings

      • Date: The date should be written at the top left-hand corner in alphanumeric format rather than just the numerical format. This comes before the name and address of the recipient, especially on letterhead.
      • Contact details for the recipient: Immediately after the date (after leaving a blank space) come to the recipient’s name, name of recipient’s organization, address of recipient’s organization, phone number, and email address (if available), each on a separate line with appropriate punctuations.
      • The subject: This is an essential part as it helps the recipient deduce what the letter is all about before even opting to read further. Furthermore, the l subject comes immediately after the recipient’s contact details. Therefore, the subject ought to be distinct and spot-on.
      • Professional greetings: Start the letter with a formal greeting. It is advisable to personalize the greeting by including the recipient’s name, as it gives a different feel.


      This section must be professionally written and straight to the point.

      The points below serve as a guide to writing a good introduction:

      • Introduce yourself: The recipient ought to know who the writer is and ascertain if you are in a position to be the candidate’s reference. Therefore, a brief introduction of yourself, your title, and the organization you represent is highly essential.
      • Explain the purpose of writing: You must explain why you are writing the letter to the recipient. The volunteer’s name and the position they are vying for should be clearly stated.
      • Explain your relationship with the candidate: Expand more on your purpose of writing the letter. Based on previous direct encounters with the volunteer, enumerate their skills, attributes, and achievements. Using a positive vibe, state how they have helped your organization, highlighting the core areas they have positively transformed in your organization.


      The body section is where elaboration takes place. Points that should be addressed in this section include:

      • Explain the reason for recommending: This is where you clearly state what prompted you to recommend the volunteer. Then, using personal stories from your previous encounter with the volunteer, briefly explain why they are perfect for the position and highlight their personal growth or improvements in undertaking specific tasks. This shows reliability to the recipient, as it affirms that you genuinely know the volunteer’s capabilities.
      • Write about the volunteer’s position and responsibilities: State the position and responsibilities you have witnessed them undertake. Also, explain how well they discharged their duties in the said office.
      • Highlight the specific skills: Volunteers’ unique skills should be pointed out, which will benefit the organization they are applying to. Be specific about the volunteer and their commendable achievements. In summary, enumerate their unique abilities, attributes they possess, and the activities they conducted that caught your attention. In a brief yet precise manner, validate their abilities and achievements in such a way that they resonate well with the hiring manager.


      This is the tail end of the letter. The following points are what make up the conclusion.

      • Conclude by recommending the volunteer: Summarize the volunteer’s characteristics and skills. Then, clearly state that you recommend them for the recipient’s organization’s open position.
      • Ask them to contact you back if they needed: After explaining all that is necessary, conclude the writing with a brief closing paragraph. Finally, indicate that you are highly open to answering more questions and providing more details.
      • Sign off: After concluding and requesting the recipient to contact you for further details, the next step is to sign off, indicating an end to the letter.
      • Your name and contact details: After signing off, write your name and contact details.


      A person who has selflessly contributed positively to a cause by volunteering his or her skills and time deserves some form of reward. When that cause is one that you are a part of, helping to write a recommendation letter is one of the ways you can reward them. That way, you are paying forward to the selflessness and good contributions the volunteer exhibited during volunteering. In addition, devoting time to a letter that helps them achieve a personal or professional goal shows how much you value your relationship with them.

      Template of a reference letter

      [Your Name]

      [Your Job Title/Position (if relevant)]

      [Organization Name (if relevant)]


      [City, State, Zip Code]

      [Email Address]

      [Phone Number]


      [Recipient’s Name or “To Whom It May Concern,”]

      [Recipient’s Title/Position (if known)]

      [Organization’s Name (if applicable)]

      [Address (if known)]

      [City, State, Zip Code]

      Subject: Volunteer Reference for [Volunteer’s Name]

      Dear [Recipient’s Name or “To Whom It May Concern,”],

      I am writing to wholeheartedly recommend [Volunteer’s Name] for [specific role, opportunity, or program]. As [Your Relationship to the Volunteer, e.g., Volunteer Coordinator, Supervisor], I have had the pleasure of working with [Volunteer’s Name] for [Duration of Volunteer Service] at [Organization Name], where they have been an invaluable asset to our team and the communities we serve.

      During their time with us, [Volunteer’s Name] demonstrated exceptional [mention key qualities, such as dedication, leadership, compassion, etc.]. One of the most notable contributions was [describe a specific project or task the volunteer undertook], which [explain the impact of this contribution, e.g., how it benefited the organization or community].

      [Volunteer’s Name] possesses a remarkable ability to [mention specific skills or abilities, e.g., work well under pressure, communicate effectively with diverse groups, etc.]. For instance, [provide an example of how the volunteer demonstrated these skills]. This not only highlights [his/her/their] skill set but also [his/her/their] commitment to making a meaningful difference.

      Furthermore, [Volunteer’s Name]’s positive attitude and willingness to take on new challenges have made [him/her/them] a joy to work with. [He/She/They] consistently goes above and beyond, offering [his/her/their] time and energy to ensure the success of our programs. [His/Her/Their] passion for [mention the cause, e.g., environmental conservation, community outreach, etc.] is evident in everything [he/she/they] does, inspiring others to get involved and make a positive impact.

      I am confident that [Volunteer’s Name] will bring the same level of enthusiasm, dedication, and excellence to [specific role, opportunity, or program] as [he/she/they] has shown during [his/her/their] volunteer service with us. [He/She/They] is a remarkable individual who will undoubtedly be an asset to your [team/organization/program].

      Should you require any further information or wish to discuss [Volunteer’s Name]’s contributions in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact me at [Your Phone Number] or via email at [Your Email Address].

      Thank you for considering this reference. I have no doubt that [Volunteer’s Name] will exceed your expectations and continue to make significant contributions wherever [he/she/they] go.


      [Your Signature (if sending a hard copy)]

      [Your Printed Name]

      [Your Job Title/Position]

      [Organization Name]

      Sample Letters

      Sample 01

      Subject: Volunteer Recommendation for Jessica Reed

      Dear Sir/Madam,

      I have the distinct pleasure of writing this letter to recommend Jessica Reed, who has been a dedicated volunteer with the Community Health Initiative for the past year. As the Program Director, I have observed Jessica’s remarkable contributions firsthand and am thoroughly impressed by her commitment, skill set, and impact on our community.

      Jessica joined our organization in October 20XX, eager to contribute to our mission of improving community health through education and outreach. From the outset, Jessica demonstrated an exceptional capacity for leadership and a profound dedication to our cause. Her efforts have been instrumental in the success of several key projects, notably our “Healthy Futures” campaign, which aimed to increase awareness about nutrition and exercise among local youth. Jessica took the initiative to develop interactive workshops and informative materials, which significantly enhanced participant engagement and learning outcomes.

      What sets Jessica apart is not just her ability to lead and inspire but also her innate compassion and empathy. She possesses a unique talent for connecting with individuals from diverse backgrounds, making them feel valued and understood. This was particularly evident during our winter health drive, where Jessica volunteered additional hours to ensure that vulnerable community members received the resources and support they needed. Her genuine care and attentiveness have made a lasting impact on those we serve.

      Moreover, Jessica’s positive attitude and resilience in the face of challenges have inspired both her fellow volunteers and our staff. She approaches every task with a can-do spirit and a readiness to solve problems creatively. Her energy and optimism have greatly contributed to a collaborative and uplifting environment within our organization.

      Jessica’s contributions to the Community Health Initiative have been invaluable. Her passion for public health, coupled with her leadership, creativity, and empathy, make her an exceptional candidate for any position or endeavor she chooses to pursue. I am confident that she will bring the same level of excellence, dedication, and positive impact to your organization as she has to ours.

      Please do not hesitate to contact me at (555) 321-9876 or via email at ava.chen@communityhealth.org should you require further information or wish to discuss Jessica’s qualifications and achievements in more detail. I wholeheartedly endorse her application and am eager to see the contributions she will undoubtedly make in her future roles.

      Thank you for considering this recommendation. I am confident that Jessica Reed will be a valuable asset to your team and a force for positive change in any community she serves.


      Ava Chen

      Program Director

      Community Health Initiative

      Sample 02

      Dear Dr. Lopez,

      I hope this letter finds you well. My name is Alex Rivera, and I am reaching out to you in my capacity as the Volunteer Coordinator for Harbor Community Outreach, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting underprivileged communities in Baytown. I am writing to request your assistance and support in a matter that is of great importance to me and my future career aspirations.

      Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of contributing to our community through my work at Harbor Outreach, where I have been deeply involved in various programs aimed at providing educational support, healthcare access, and housing solutions for those in need. This experience has been incredibly fulfilling and has further fueled my passion for social work and my desire to make a more significant impact in this field.

      To this end, I have decided to pursue advanced studies and am applying for the Master’s program in Social Work at Prestige University, renowned for its commitment to academic excellence and social justice. Your expertise and leadership in the field of social work, especially your research on community-based interventions, have inspired me greatly. It would be an honor to learn under your guidance and contribute to the body of knowledge and practice you are developing.

      Given our shared commitment to social betterment and my firsthand experience in community service, I kindly request your consideration in providing a recommendation letter for my application to the graduate program. Your endorsement would be invaluable in supporting my candidacy and my goal of furthering my education and skills to better serve our communities.

      I am more than willing to provide any additional information or documentation that may assist you in writing the recommendation, including my resume, personal statement, and details of my projects and contributions at Harbor Outreach. Please feel free to contact me at (555) 654-3210 or via email at alex.rivera@harboroutreach.org at your earliest convenience to discuss this further.

      Thank you very much for considering my request. Your support would mean the world to me and significantly impact my journey toward becoming a more effective advocate and practitioner in the field of social work.


      Alex Rivera

      Volunteer Coordinator

      Harbor Community Outreach


      In the first sample letter, the writer effectively provides a comprehensive recommendation for an individual who has served as a dedicated volunteer at a community health initiative. The letter begins with a polite greeting and introduction, followed by a detailed account of the volunteer’s contributions and accomplishments. Specific examples of the volunteer’s leadership, dedication, and impact on community health initiatives are highlighted, lending credibility to the recommendation. The writer’s personal observations and insights into the volunteer’s character and abilities further strengthen the endorsement. Additionally, the writer offers further assistance if needed, demonstrating continued support and goodwill towards the volunteer’s future endeavors. Overall, the letter effectively communicates the volunteer’s exceptional qualities and suitability for future opportunities.

      In the second sample letter, the writer adeptly communicates a request for a recommendation letter from a respected figure in the field of social work. The letter begins with a polite greeting and a concise introduction of the writer’s background and purpose for writing. Clear and compelling reasons for requesting the recommendation letter are provided, including the writer’s admiration for the recipient’s expertise and their desire to pursue further education under their guidance. The writer offers to provide additional information and assistance to facilitate the recommendation process, demonstrating proactive engagement and readiness. The letter concludes with a gracious acknowledgment of potential support and appreciation for consideration, maintaining a tone of professionalism and respect throughout.

      Words of Wisdom

      Specific tips should not be overlooked when writing a reference letter. Take a look at these tips below:

      Follow the proper format

      A reference letter falls under the category of formal letters. As a result, the standard format should be followed. Thus, it should not exceed a single page consisting of three to four paragraphs. Also, use letter-headed paper to write it, as it is deemed more official and respected than writing on a plain piece of paper.

      Do not write lengthy

      A reference letter is not expected to be too long. One page is enough. It should consist of only essential points and unnecessary stories should be excluded.

      End the letter appropriately

      Toward the end, summarize the points and state why you are recommending the volunteer. On concluding the letter, ensure you sign off correctly, and then do not forget to include your contact details.


      This is necessary since you do not want to submit a letter filled with grammatical slip-ups. Therefore, proofread not once but twice to ensure the write-up is devoid of grammatical errors.


      Primarily, a volunteer reference letter is intended to describe a person’s contributions and achievements during their volunteering. For a volunteer who has excelled at their role, writing a reference letter is part of how you can reward them for their endeavors. This task, however, is not always as easy as it seems. But with the step-by-step guide, the template, and the sample provided above, the task should become more easy and accessible.

      About This Article

      Jake Adams
      Authored by:
      Academic tutoring, learning resources, SAT & ACT prep, college admissions applications
      Jake Adams is an academic tutor and the owner of Simplifi EDU, an online tutoring business based in Santa Monica, California. With over 14 years of professional tutoring experience, Jake is dedicated to providing his clients with the best online tutoring experience. He offers a wide range of academic subjects from K-College, specializing in SAT & ACT prep and college admissions applications. Jake has built a network of exceptional undergraduate and graduate-level tutors from top colleges across the nation. Holding a BS in International Business and Marketing from Pepperdine University, Jake combines his educational background with his expertise to deliver effective and comprehensive tutoring services.

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