Unlike the rest of an 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 would 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 a volunteer reference letter, its purpose, samples, and how to write a professional one.
Volunteer Reference Letters are formal letters attached to CVs to expose better the qualities of the candidate who has previously worked for a charitable course.
In addition, it helps the organization better understand who the volunteers are as a person to ascertain if they are fit for the open position.
This reference letter is often required when a volunteer is applying for an internship, scholarship, or position requiring certain personal traits, skills, and achievements.
Significance of a volunteer reference letter
The core significance of a reference letter for a volunteer is to authoritatively disport laudable achievements and contributions to attest that the candidate possesses the characteristics required by the organization being applied. 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 volunteer in a favorable spot to secure the position. Therefore, the volunteer reference letter is of utmost importance as it helps the recipient assess the volunteer’s experience in relation to the position and their skill set.
Types of Reference Letters
There are four different types of references:
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 to confirm from the candidate if there are specific guidelines stated by the organization and their details of interest in the letter (i.e., details about the volunteer 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. How a reference letter for an internship is written is quite different from that of a candidate applying for a scholarship. Therefore, the exact purpose of the reference letter is to be figured out.
Verify from organization
Always try to verify if writing reference letters for volunteers from your organization is acceptable. Some nonprofit organizations, for various reasons, have internal policies in place that prevent such practices.
How to Write an Effective Reference Letter?
After understanding what a volunteer reference letter entails and what to consider when writing a reference letter for a volunteer, use the laid-out steps 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 of application 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 a letterhead.
- Contact details of the recipient: Immediately after the date (after leaving blank space) come to the recipient 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 of the letter: This is an essential part of the reference letter as it helps the recipient deduce what the letter is all about before even opting to read further. Furthermore, the letter’s subject comes immediately after the recipient’s contact details. Therefore, the subject of the reference letter 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 for a reference letter:
- Introduce yourself: The recipient ought to know who the writer is and ascertain if you are in pole 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 reference letter to the recipient. The volunteer’s name and the position they are vying for should be clearly stated.
- Explain your relationship with the volunteer: Expand more on your purpose of writing the reference letter. Based on previous direct encounters with the volunteer, enumerate the volunteer’s skills, attributes, and achievements. Using a positive vibe, state how the volunteer has helped your organization, highlighting the core areas they have positively transformed in your organization.
The body of the reference letter 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 the volunteer is 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 the volunteer undertake. Also, explain how well the volunteer 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. The reference letter should be specific to 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 it resonates well with the hiring manager
This is the tail end of the reference letter. The following points are what make up the conclusion of a reference letter.
- 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 regarding the volunteer 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.
Tip: A person that 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 a volunteer achieve a personal or professional goal shows how much you value your relationship with them.
Template of a professional reference letter
December 19, 2021
[Name of recipient]
Recommending [candidate first name and last name] for [position]
I am exhilarated to recommend [candidate first and last name] for the [position] at [company name]. Being the General media director, I enjoyed working as [candidate first name]’s supervisor when he was granted employment here as a social media manager. Focused and result-oriented, [candidate first name] was among the league of the very best at [name of your company or company where you encountered the candidate]. Without an iota of doubt, I ratify his qualifications and skill set.
[candidate first name] proved to be a significant and reliable asset. His unforgettable three years with us at [name of your company or company where you encountered the candidate] marked with laudable achievements. He raised our company’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram page engagements by 71%, which led to an increase in sales by 35% and a spike in advertisement deals from other companies.
While [candidate first name]’s professional expertise was immeasurably valuable to [name of your company or company where you encountered the candidate], he was also an incredible team player. Sanguine, engaging, and easy to get along with, [candidate first name] was, without doubt, a rare gem every company would love to have.
With that said, I am highly confident in my recommendation and believe that [candidate first name] would be a great fit for [company name]. I am very open and available to answer your questions and provide more details regarding my experience working with [candidate first name]. You can email me at [your email address] or call me at [your phone number] if you require any additional information.
[You job title]
[Name of the company]
[Address and the contact information]
Sample letter 01
December 19, 2021
Ohio, United States
Recommending [candidate first name and last name] for [position]
Dear Mr. Andre,
I am exhilarated to recommend Michael James for the social media manager position at VMware, Columbus. Being the General media director, I enjoyed working as Michael’s supervisor when he was granted employment here as a social media manager. Focused and result-oriented, Michael was among the league of the very best at Provide Inc, United States, and I ratified his qualifications and skill set without an iota of doubts.
Michael proved to be a significant and reliable asset. His unforgettable three years with us at Provide Inc were marked with laudable achievements. He raised our company’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram page engagements by 71%, which led to an increase in sales by 35% and a spike in advertisement deals from other companies.
While Michael’s professional expertise was immeasurably valuable to Provide Inc, US, he was also an incredible team player. Sanguine, engaging, and easy to get along with, Michael was, without doubt, a rare gem every company would love to have.
With that said, I am highly confident in my recommendation and believe that Michael would be an excellent fit for VMware. I am very much open and available to answer your questions and provide more details regarding my experience working with Michael. Thank you for considering my letter.
General Media Director,
Ohio, United States.
Sample letter 02
To Whom It May Concern,
This letter is a personal recommendation for Mr. Justin. Justin has been a member of RYC Charity Foundation for the past five months. I have to come to know Justin very well during this time.
Justin is an active member of RYC Charity Foundation. Since his joining, there had been a tremendous growth in the number of clients joining the RYC Foundation’s English Learning Program. He makes sure RYC Charity Foundation is well known among his peers. Justin has an amazing convincing power and he organized a fundraising project, which was very successful. There are a lot of clients who are interested in volunteering with the foundation, which is because of Justin’s personality and amazing character. He has inspired youth to work with such foundations, which are working for the betterment of the community.
Justin’s excellent character and motivational skills will make him an excellent candidate for any organization.
RYC Charity Foundation
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 volunteer reference letter falls under the category of formal letters. As a result, the standard format of writing a formal letter should be followed. Thus, it should not exceed a single page consisting of three to four paragraphs. Also, use a letter-headed paper to write the reference letter 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
Towards the end of the letter, summarize 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 reference 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 letter is intended to describe a person’s contributions and achievements during their volunteering. For a volunteer who has excelled at their volunteering role, writing a volunteer 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 evident and accessible.