In today’s nonprofit world, volunteers are the wildcard. In a fully-functioning volunteer program – volunteers are easily the most powerful cards in the organization’s deck because they are absolutely flexible – volunteers can be recruited and trained to perform any task.
Volunteering can remove money from the social contract. Let’s put that in very simple terms: if volunteers and organizations trade an experience in which the volunteer receives an opportunity to make a difference, the opportunity to make a friend, and the opportunity to have fun, then the organization can ask the volunteer to contribute work.
That’s it. No money in the exchange. Yet the volunteer receives an experience quite precious and the organization receives much-needed work.
Volunteers don’t get these kinds of opportunities generally – may find it difficult to locate them anywhere. Organizations do not have money to hire work out – must get work done in order to serve clients. For volunteers and organizations, this is a GREAT DEAL!
…especially in this day when people feel separated and struggle to find meaning.
…especially in this day when organizations struggle to survive as their missions and client bases expand.
Organizations, please devote your energy, your heart, and your soul to your volunteers. Volunteers, do great work. Many years ago I attended the national volunteer conference along with leaders of volunteers across the country. There I came to believe that volunteers not only provide hope for solving our human problems – volunteers are the ONLY HOPE.
A great volunteer program holds the space for volunteers to step into their greatness through service to your organization.
I believe that in each volunteer experience, volunteers should feel that they have made a difference, made a friend, and had fun. I have found that when we hold ourselves to this standard, volunteers leave each experience asking to be called when the next opportunity to serve presents itself.
In this environment, access to volunteers and their skills blossoms. Their joy infects your entire organization. That’s a solid foundation you can sustain.