Posted by: Don Linnen | 24 June 2007

Help From The Vols

So you’ve got a bunch of volunteers showing up to “help” in a few weeks. What are they going to do? What are you going to do?

Which of those questions is more important?

If you just wait for them to arrive, hand ’em a bottle of water and a t-shirt, point them to the tools, and show them where to go to get started, you can get some pretty good stuff done.

Sometimes free labor is just worth what it costs.

You’re competing for volunteer time with other organizations who love to use volunteers. If the time is well spent, the vols will want to come back to you.

If you’re not ready to efficiently make the most of their time or if they feel like their contributions are minimal or just a band aid for what’s really needed, you may not see them again.

Depending upon your staffing, you might not always be able to prepare much in advance. You may not even have a process to hand off to a temporary volunteer coordinator. It is what it is.

That just means you spend more time recruiting new volunteers…re-inventing the wheel for your next lalapalooza. What are you going to do?

It’s your choice. Spend the time before the vols show up so that they make real progress, learn to love your mission, and want to come back as experienced volunteers (and recruiters), or spend the time recruiting the next batch of vols so you can throw something together and make things look good. For a while.

It’s your choice. What are you trying to accomplish?

O yeah. Did I mention that good volunteers often turn into good donors of things besides time?

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