Nonprofits: Don’t leave out small-scale volunteers

By: Melissa Noyes

I was inspired today by a great article from Volunteer Match regarding the large impact that small-scale volunteers can have on a nonprofit organization  Check out the article here.  

There seems to be a decent amount of buzz lately about the small-scale volunteer.  In fact, in my last blog I highlighted an app that allows you to “micro-volunteer,” maybe the smallest of the small-scale volunteer opportunities. 

What exactly is a small-scale volunteer?  This type of volunteer is engaged with your mission and vision, but may only give you a few hours of volunteer service per year.  They love what you do, but they don’t have the time to give you a large committment.  In a world where many nonprofits are striving to grow their cadre of long-term volunteers, I think it’s important that we don’t discount the value of our small-scale volunteers.  The important point here is that a small-scale volunteer can be a long-term volunteer, they just aren’t giving your organization a full-time committment. 

So what’s the benefit to your organization?  First, they are giving you their support.  Doesn’t matter whether your volunteers are giving you 40 hours a week or 30 minutes, they are still supporting what you do.  Furthermore, they will be more apt to donate to your cause (and recruit others to also do so) when they feel this connection.  Second, small-scale volunteers can take care of some of the busy-work associated with running a nonprofit.  This frees up your paid employees and allows them to focus more on mission-centered work.  Don’t be afraid of technology here–virtual volunteering and micro-volunteering are huge up-and-comers.  You’ll attract more young volunteers if there is an opportunity to get involved online or via a mobile app.  Third, your small-scale volunteers can become longer-term volunteers and long-term donors over time.  This builds a strong network of committed people for your organization. 

Yes, we’d all love to have a large group of volunteers that give multiple-year commitments to our organizations.  However, many people (especially younger generations) want to get involved without the committment or pressure.  Ensuring that this group is included in your volunteer structure is crucial and can make a big impact on the success of your organization.

How does your organization include small-scale volunteers?  After reading the Volunteer Match article, what else could your organization do to include small-scale volunteers?

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About catalystxchange

Catalyst X-Change, Inc. is a 501c3 serving the greater Indianapolis area. Catalyst was founded by two Millennials (Kristin Clements-Effner and Melissa Noyes) with a passion and a vision for world change. We believe that significant and positive change can happen when individuals come together and match their passions with tangible actions. Our mission is to advance community through meaningful action.
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