By: Kristin Clements-Effner, MSW Training Coordinator/Cofounder
Stay at home moms are more than just diapers, minivans, and kids sporting activities. Stay at home moms are smart, talented, and passionate individuals that make great volunteers for nonprofits in our community; however, they are often overlooked in recruitment efforts of organizations. Young families are one of the fastest growing segments in Indianapolis and many stay at home moms were in the professional world before they decide to stay at home. They are searching for a way to use their skills and make a difference in their community.
Here are some ideas to expanding volunteer opportunities to tap into the talents of stay at home moms:
1. You have to go where they are. Contact local MOPS and play groups. These are groups of moms who meet up on a regular basis to talk, network, and get away from the demands of caring for children. It is a great resource to obtain inkind donations or have a group complete an activity for your organization. Also look at mom discussion forms online to advertise opportunities or upcoming events: http://indianapolis.momslikeme.com/members/exploregroups.aspx?p=126
2. Rethink your recruitment strategies. After work networking events downtown is not going to attract this group of potential volunteers. Think morning coffee at a local coffee shop, tabling at family friendly events, hosting fun recruitment activities that the whole family could come to, etc.
3. Rethink your current volunteer opportunities. You may have to get creative and think of new ways to get your volunteer tasks completed or think of new opportunities entirely to overcome some of the obstacles to stay at home moms getting engaged with your organization. Are there things that could be completed by someone at home or virtually online? Could you have teen volunteers or other adult volunteers provide child care for other volunteers’ children? Are there projects that could be completed as a family?
One example of an organization that has created an opportunity perfect for stay at home moms or families is Shepherd Community Center. They provide free medical services and breakfast to people in their community on Saturdays. Individuals can volunteer their medical services, volunteer to serve breakfast, or volunteer in the child care for the clients children. At the same time, volunteers can bring their children to the child care. This allows families to volunteer together and provides a great way to teach children the power of volunteering by watching their parents make a difference.
These are just some easy questions to assess how you are outreaching to stay at home moms in the Indy area. The benefits that this group of potential volunteers can bring to our community is huge, we just have to rethink and get creative.