Five Reasons to Engage Volunteers Beyond Skills-Based Assistance

April 6, 2009 at 9:10 am Leave a comment

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With unemployment at more than 600,000, many professionals are finding themselves without full-time work. Volunteering can offer a respite from the job search, phone calls, interviews and resume re-tooling. Some donors have become clients. Volunteering is a great opportunity to stay in touch, network, feel good and keep sharp. Sometimes working with someone less fortunate puts everything into perspective.  Corporate social responsibility has taken a new tone given recent events.  Engaging corporate representatives can help everyone feel good by doing good.

There is lots of talk between the non- and for-profit sectors about how to collaborate to do good. Money is short, time is valuable and there is a synergy between non-profits who want engaged volunteers and corporate employees who want to give back. Skills-based volunteering brings a great deal to the table.

Some corporations offer skills-based volunteering in conjunction or instead of cash contributions.For others it can be the beginning of a partnership with a new corporate donor. Deloitte is proud to treat their non-profit partners like paying clients. When you are in with Deloitte, you are in. Everyone agrees to the work that needs to be done, audit, technology, finance, consulting. Deloitte staff volunteer their valuable experience and skills.

However, it is in the best interests of the non- and for-profit partners to offer more than skills-based volunteering.  Here’s five reasons why and how:

  1. Not all corporate employees want to use their expertise when they volunteer. The more corporate representatives in the community volunteering, the better. Team members feel better and non-profits have more volunteers to engage. By offering a variety of opportunities, a corporation encourages more team members participate.
  2. Not every corporate employee is considered a “skilled” employee. Don’t leave any corporate representative out of the volunteer pipeline. If a volunteer wants to read to seniors, tutor students or paint a classroom, why not encourage and support their volunteer spirits?
  3. Corporate America is changing every day. Some employees are working shorter weeks for less money. Others are temporarily out of work. Those who are employed full-time are working harder than ever before. Think about opportunities for guilt-free-episodic volunteer opportunities. Engaging these folks where they are is important. Is once a week volunteer opportunity they need to keep networking and feeling good? Do they need a place to feel good about themselves and help someone else? Non-profit programs can be the catalyst to networking and social opportunities and volunteers will not forget where they made a good connection.
  4. Are you looking for a volunteer project to sink your teeth into? Long term volunteer projects don’t always require skills-based volunteers. To be successful, be clear about the expectations from all involved. Set clear objectives, time lines and resources. Again, these longer projects might require more commitment to the organization than bringing a professional skill to the table.
  5. Remember to thank and recognize ALL volunteers. Both non- and for-profit partners need a program in place that recognizes skills-based and general volunteer time and effort.

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Entry filed under: Engaging Volunteers, Resources You Can Use!. Tags: , , , , , .

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