Sometimes it gets lonely out there in the non-profit sector.
And you certainly don’t feel like saying, “rah-rah-sis-boom-bah” when you’re the only one cheerleading for your cause. You may work in isolation most days and take on the majority of duties doing everything under the sun yourself. But know that volunteers are the secret weapon to helping you run your cause.
But in a world where money talks and everybody has their hand out, there is indeed hope for getting free help through recruiting volunteers. I think a lot of times we look for help in all the wrong places. Putting up flyers in the grocery store is not necessary the best approach.
Volunteerism is the key. Although getting many people to volunteer is somewhat like exercise – it sounds great when you hear about the results it could have but doing it is just not a priority. Volunteerism is a great resource that can’t be left on the table. Some non-profits don’t deploy this resource at all and that’s a crucial mistake.
Organizations like VolunteerMatch.org helps to connect nonprofits with volunteers. Sometimes it’s skilled volunteers devoted to helping various organizations; sometimes it’s a college student who needs credit. Volunteer Match works to support communities by connecting people with good causes. The organization offers a variety of online services to support a community of nonprofit, volunteer and business leaders committed to civic engagement.
Also make volunteering fun. Last year I used volunteers at a Christmas party for Atlanta Diaper Relief clients. The atmosphere was fun and festive. The volunteers truly had a great time and because of that they vowed to volunteer again.
Also make volunteer times convenient. No sense in scheduling volunteer times during the week from 10 am to 4pm if those volunteers are at their own job. If you can’t find volunteers then revisit your volunteer times and consider extending those times to the weekend.
And when your volunteers come in, be sure to tell them what you expect. There’s nothing worse than volunteers who stand around doing little to nothing because they lack direction from you.
Volunteers are a great underutilized resource that you should definitely explore.
Non-Profit Expert – Kia Morgan Smith from Atlanta Diaper Relief, Atlanta Georgia
Kia Morgan Smith is the Founder and CEO of Atlanta Diaper Relief, the first non-profit diaper bank in Atlanta Georgia. She works tirelessly to ensure that families have an adequate supply of diapers for their infants; and works to raise community awareness that “basic human needs” include diapers and that these needs are not being met for children living in poverty.
With ‘diaper need’ being a relatively new concept to many in Atlanta, Kia was up against the odds in proving children without diapers suffer more than a rash; there are emotional and financial consequences that parents bear too. Kia built awareness and strong community support surrounding this issue in just two years, earning endorsements and support from major Fortune 500 companies like Walmart, Huggies and most recently honored as a Ford Unsung Hero.
With her ‘get-it-done’ attitude and gumption, Kia has harnessed the power of community and built a diaper bank with more than 100,000 diapers which serves thousands of Metro Atlanta families through help from partner agencies. Atlanta Diaper Relief has been making a huge impact by helping Atlanta’s poorest and neediest families who are struggling to pay for a basic essential like diapers.
Kia is a mother of five children, a grandmom, and a loving wife. And when she’s not covering “bottoms” she is an active mommy blogger on Cincomom.com. You can find out more about diaper need at www.AtlantaDiaperRelief.org or follow @AtlDiaperRelief or friend Facebook.com/AtlantaDiaperRelief. Or catch her tweeting about life as a mom of many, @KiaMorganSmith or @TheCincomom.
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