By Jordan Hannan
It can be tough to accept the fact that you might not be the perfect candidate for a leadership position or volunteering opportunity, and long-term volunteers and permanent employees at nonprofits experience the same gravity; though appreciative of the efforts of everyone who has contributed to the cause, lasting and talented volunteers are truly the heart of a charity’s mission. They define and spread the culture of your organization, and their connections with those they serve are the defining factor in the success of the nonprofit. For this reason, it is vital that every organization seeks out passionate volunteers and creates an environment for them to succeed in. We’ve designed the most effective way:
Expand your promotional projects. Get the word out about your latest events and movements. Not only is this essential to the expansion and future funding of your organization, it will also attract new volunteers. We tend to disregard the fact that nonprofits require marketing, but it will positively impact every aspect of your charity, most importantly being the quantity and demographic of your volunteers. For example, depending on how you market, you can reach younger or older age groups (such as through the use of social media as opposed to traditional ads or word of mouth). By working with a variety of different people and groups, you gain a better understanding of who can best represent your charity.
Consider your organization’s mission. With a newly broadened web of connections to enthusiastic volunteers, find whose passions align most effortlessly with that of your nonprofit. Your advertisements will have attracted the attention of a variety of people for endless reasons--interest in your work, a need for service hours, parental or peer pressure, or a personal connection to the cause. By getting to know your volunteers as you work, it will become clear who would benefit your project through a long-term or paid position.
Take a look at the daily tasks you need filled. Not every nonprofit needs the same roles filled, but each charity has a variety of moving pieces, and many of these positions go unnoticed. For the Food Bank or Diaper Bank of NC, an organized and task-oriented person is essential, but empathetic and extroverted volunteers would thrive best at Durham Nativity School and Miracle League. However, even within these organizations, there are endless opportunities for your volunteers to immerse themselves in the project, no matter what their skillset is--accountants, coordinators, and managers to name a few .
Finding the “perfect volunteer” sounds like an impossible task, but it’s actually just finding the perfect position for your passionate and caring volunteers.
By Jordan Hannan
On October 16th, 2002, my sister was born three months premature. Kaitlyn weighed in at two pounds and twelve ounces, small enough to be held in the palm of our dad’s hand and wear his wedding ring past her elbow. For two months, she awaited the daily visits from our parents to her incubator at Duke’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit before she could finally come home that winter.
Kaitlyn’s next trip to the Duke NICU took place more than fifteen years later; she began visiting babies and families during the Christmas season. Kaitlyn provided the hope parents needed during the holiday season, proving their ability to leave the hospital with a healthy, complete family. It was clear how greatly she impacted the parents she interacted with, but I doubt they realized just how much they affected her, too. She consistently returned with a new perspective: gratitude for the doctors, staff, and benefactors of Duke Children’s and compassion for every family that’s walked those floors.
Every time you volunteer, you have the chance to leave with a new perspective, and all it takes is a willingness to participate and an openness to learn from those around you. But how exactly can service change your mindset?
Find your next opportunity for growth at Triangle Cares.
WHY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT OUTREACH PROGRAMS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS ATHLETICS AND EXTRACURRICULARS
By Jordan Hannan
With the continuously rising pressures of honors and AP classes, standardized testing, and college applications, the academic life of a high school student can be quite isolating, filled with solitary study and individual results. The adolescent mindset is stuck in this self-serving culture, and high schools are looking for impactful ways to connect students and form a supportive community. Sporting events, school dances, class celebrations, and team dinners might feel like the right addition, but the perpetuation of this dilemma, despite this common conclusion, proves its fruitlessness. Our solution? An emphasized student outreach program.
The difference between the effects of a class picnic and a team volunteering day might seem negligible at first glance: a group of students doing something unique to their normal activities while having fun as a community. However, serving others has lasting positive effects, while the memories of a luncheon are already fading.
But how can high schools implement student outreach programs?
Let us help you get started! Triangle Cares connects volunteers and nonprofit organizations; check out our website to find charities to partner with for your student outreach program.
Jordan Hannan and Jordan Lappin