My nonprofit clients come in all shapes and sizes: they serve youth care for seniors, promote the arts, and restore our environment. Their business models vary as widely as their budgets.
Even so, my clients share one common point of view: they recognize that volunteering is more than a helpful add-on to their programs. It’s an essential point of entry into their organizations.
That’s because volunteering is the most powerful force out there for creating connections and forging long-term relationships. Volunteers spend time within your organization, getting to know staff and clients. They see the positive impact of their contributions first-hand. They experience the satisfaction of being part of that success and feel invested in your mission.
A volunteer who finds meaning in their role and believes in your organization will give more than their time and talents.
- They will make in-kind gifts when they see an unmet need –
- help you advocate when funding cuts loom or regulations change –
- and they will give financially, often quite generously.
A smart, sustainable nonprofit values the volunteer role and makes it a strategic priority – even when they’re unsure how to accomplish that.
Run a volunteer program that builds capacity and thrives
I’m a volunteer engagement specialist.
My job is to help nonprofits thrive by expanding the footprint of their volunteer program.
I accomplish that in two ways:
1. By training volunteer managers in the skills they need to lead strong, sustainable volunteer program
- Volunteer managers receive little advance preparation for their roles. It’s “on the job” education, with a lot of trial and error mixed in. My job is to shorten that learning curve so that clients move forward faster without reinventing the wheel.
2. By consulting with nonprofits to build the systems and supports needed to serve more clients and raise more money through volunteer involvement.
- I show nonprofits organizational strategies, ways to leverage technology, and ways to measure impact that fully leverage the capacity of their volunteer program.
My work is informed by my own 20+ years in volunteering management and development – and by my commitment to keep learning from peers in the volunteer engagement community.
If you read my blog or follow my Facebook page, you’ll see that I reach out to my volunteer manager colleagues to learn about their priorities and best practices. It’s a public forum for peer sharing – and a way for me to stay current on the trends in our profession.