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.
Jordan Hannan and Jordan Lappin