By: Kristin Clements-Effner, MSW Training Coordinator
Last week Melissa posted about a brown bag luncheon featuring Derrick Feldmann from Achieve Consulting and their research about Millennial Donors. One major take home was that individuals may not be attracted to your mission, but want to assist with an internal issue. This is a very out of the box concept in the volunteer world and I thought it was worth writing a little bit more and how it could take your organization to the next level.
While we would hope everyone would be gripped by our mission and be passionate about volunteering their time mentoring a child or distributing food at a food pantry, the reality is that is just not true. Many individuals are passionate about using the skills and talents they bring from their professional world and assisting nonprofits with internal challenges. They are passionate about IT work, marketing, etc and want to use those skills to help organizations around the city become more effective in their internal practices. An example of this is from our own experience at Catalyst. We needed a website and one big hurdle was the enormous cost associated with getting a professional looking website. We took to it the pros and put an ad on an IUPUI listserv and solicited the help of a couple students who were about to graduate. They took us to the next level with a professional looking website and by the end become ambassadors for our organization and our mission.
One of the key considerations of finding internal skill based volunteers is being willing to admit you are having challenges internally within the organization. The next key consideration is understanding the volunteer may not be passionate about your specific service mission, but does have the skills to address your challenge. The last key consideration is that through the process these type of volunteers can become passionate about your wider mission and decide to volunteer in a different capacity, give a donation, or spread the world about your cause. In a nonprofit climate where resources are limited and staff time is spread thin, this volunteer option is critical.