Thursday, June 15, 2006

Volunteer Recruitment for 2006-07 School Year - Get Involved

At the Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference in May, many of the discussions focused on recruiting volunteers. In the photo at the left I'm talking with a leader from Rockford, Illinois.

Today I met with other members of the Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Lend A Hand Program ( to review nominations for the annual Lend A Hand Awards which will be presented in a gala event on July 12.

One of the nominations was submitted by Beth Palmer, Executive Director of the Inspired Youth Program. In her nomination of an attorney from the firm of Holland & Knight, Beth wrote "We met Lisa in September 2004 at Borders Books on N. Michigan Avenue at the recruitment fair, "What a Difference a Day Makes". In October 2004 she came to tutor in the Inspired Youth Tutoring Program."

Beth's nomination went on to tell of all of the ways Lisa has been making a difference for the Inspired Youth Program and the kids it serves.

This happened because the Tutor/Mentor Connection has been organizing the annual volunteer recruitment campaign every year since 1995 and because Beth Palmer has been participating for most of those years.

Since 2003 we've not had funds for a part time staff person to organize the annual campaign, so it's been more difficult. Yet, it was 2004 when Beth's volunteer joined her, so this shows that what we're doing is still helping programs get new volunteers.

It's time to get serious about the 2006 campaign, which kicks off on August 1. This campaign is mostly a media campaign. It works when lots of programs find ways to tell the story of individual youth and volunteers who meet in their program. Our goal is to get tutor/mentor stories into all sorts of print, radio, TV and internet media, starting in early August, and continuing each week, like Advertising, through the middle of September.

The goal is to have each story point to the program that originated the story, and to have a line saying "learn more about tutor/mentor opportunities in the Chicago region. Go to the Program Locator at"

As long as each story finishes with this line, every story will contribute to the movement of an army of potential volunteers to the Program Locator on the T/MC web site. In this section people can search by type of program, age group, time of day the program operates, or the name of a program, to locate contact information and web site links for specific programs in those areas.

Of course, this dose not work for you if you don't have your contact information up to date in the Program Locator.

We've added a new feature that enables you to edit your information, or to add a new program location. You'll need to email the T/MC at to learn how to register to use this. Once you do, you'll find its easy to keep up to date.

Beth wrote about Lisa, "She was an innovator in Inspired Youth from the beginning." Imagine having a few volunteers like that in your organization.

It can happen if you take an active role in the recruitment campaign, and if you start planning for the campaign now, when there are still a few months to develop stories and find ways to distribute them to potential volunteers.

If you're reading this and you're not in Chicago, contact me and let me help you create a Tutor/Mentor Connection strategy in your own community.

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