Nonprofit CEOs – Why Volunteer Engagement Matters?

14 Feb

Volunteers
• Serve on Boards, shape vision, cultivate resources, review, revise and approve budgets and serve as fiduciaries for the general public.
• Can do just about any function that employees can do with corresponding training, and often have a unique blend of experience and empathy that employees have not yet developed.
• Especially youth and young adults, Millennials… are the current energetic, idealistic action arms of many nonprofits, but more importantly will “vote” time, talent, treasure, will advocate for and build social capital for your nonprofit for years and years.

Research shows
• That youth who volunteer are more likely to volunteer later in life
• That people who volunteer are much more likely to make donations than people who do not regularly volunteer.
• That corporate employee volunteers not on provide valuable time, skills, and expertise, but their companies often are willing to match their time with corporate donations, example Dollars for Doers programs.
• Clients often make great volunteers, example disaster response clients often offer to help later in life with disaster response, some step forward immediately to help staff disaster shelters.
• Volunteers are often willing to take extensive training to qualify to do meaningful work even in a regulated environment.
• Volunteer programs may provide huge returns on investment, example one Red Cross Blood Region with a volunteer drivers program for transporting donated blood would have cost the Region over $1 million in equivalent salary and benefits to hire and train employees as drivers.

CEOs should consider
• Volunteer engagement as a first choice staffing solution
• How volunteer engagement is blending with fund raising, communications and marketing, advocacy and social media messaging?
• What are the critical tasks tied to business goals, does your organization have the right set of employees, consultants, temps and volunteers with the right knowledge and skills to surpass business goals?
• If not, then how volunteers can be mapped to potential staffing “gap areas” tied to your business plan?
• Which is more important $500,000 worth of volunteer expertise currently in place or $500,000 of financial prospects in the pipeline?
• Do I have dedicated staff resources – volunteer(s) and or employee(s) focused on targeted volunteer engagement mapping talent and people resources to business needs?
• You may not be able to pay salaries for Fortune 500 executive level talent, however they may be more than willing to work for your organization as a volunteer, just ask.

Recommended Reading

From the Top Down
By Susan Ellis
Outlines the key executive decisions necessary to lay the foundation for effective volunteer involvement: policies, budgeting, staffing, employee-volunteer relationships, legal issues, cost and value of volunteers, and more. Revised in 2010!

Leading the Way to Successful Volunteer Involvement: Practical Tools for Busy Executives
By Betty B. Stallings with Susan J. Ellis
A set of checklists, worksheets, idea stimulators, and other practical guides for senior-level leaders to incorporate volunteer involvement as a key ingredient in the overall strategy of an organization.

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