Monday, August 17, 2009

Recruiting Talent Volunteers

I've written several articles in the past about the role of "talent volunteers" in a non profit organization.

I was please today that my friends at pointed me to an article on the Stanford Social Innovation Review, titled "The New Volunteer Workforce".

As we head toward the start of a new school year, and deal with a crippling economy, this article has a lot of value.

I encourage you to also read the comments. One was written by Bonnie Hilory, Executive Director, Haas Foundation. She talks about "the care and feeding of the volunteers." She says, "As our volunteer program grows we need to educate our board, donors and volunteers that more funding will be needed. The more volunteers we have the more financial support/help from the agency we will need."

How about educating the businesses who encourage employees and customers to volunteer? If a company encourages volunteerism, can it also encourage workplace giving that supports places where employees volunteer, or develop some other innovative strategies that provide the dollars and manpower needed to support volunteer involvement in all of the ways the Stanford article suggests?

Furthermore, how about giving employees more choice at where they volunteer. I met with one company official last year after the announcement of a $50 million corporate commitment to encourage talent volunteering. They had already made up their corporate mind as to where such volunteering would take place, thus limiting the number of volunteers who could get involved, or who might want to get involved with that cause.

If companies would point to maps of cities like Chicago, showing where tutor/mentor programs are needed, and providing contact information and web links for existing programs, their employees could choose where to volunteer time and talent, and where they also might provide dollars.

The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator can be used for companies in Chicago who want to provide this range of opportunities.

There are close to 200,000 kids living in high poverty neighborhoods in Chicago. Connecting them to tutors/mentors in constantly improving tutor/mentor programs is a way to help them succeed in school and in life. Providing talent and dollars from local corporations, hospitals, universities and professional groups is a way to help make such programs more available throughout the city and suburbs.

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