Thursday, August 18, 2011

Volunteer Recruitment - Helping Others

In 1995 the Tutor/Mentor Connection began to organize an annual Chicagowide Volunteer Recruitment Campaign intending to help all programs in the city and listed in the Tutor/Mentor Directory get volunteers and donors. This photo shows how the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program of Metropolitan Chicago was part of that effort.

Between 1998 and 2002 we received a $26,000 per year grant that enabled us to hire a part time Recruitment Campaign Coordinator. Through his effort the campaign grew to include Mrs. George Ryan as honorary chair, and leaders like Paul Vallas, CEO of Chicago Public Schools, as speaker at campaign press conferences.
This link shows the Campaign Manifesto from one of those years.

We don't do a printed Directory any longer but have created a map-based Program Locator that can be searched by type of program, age group served and zip code.

We've tried to enlist financial support from foundations, businesses, the Mayor and other leaders for this strategy but with inconsistent success. Even when we've found a major donor the terrible economy of the past decade has caused many to cease giving after one, two or a few years.

Yet the violence has not gone away, schools are still not able to change the aspirations and motivations of too many kids who come to school unprepared to learn and there are too few well-organized volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in most Chicago or suburban neighborhoods.

Too few leaders have this strategy in mind when they talk of improving schools and improving the workforce.

Due to a lack of funding the Tutor/Mentor Connection no longer exists as a non profit structure. I've created the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC to continue to support the T/MC services in Chicago. My hope is that big and small investors will see what we're trying to do and see how this strategy can also apply to other cities and will support us with time, talent and dollars.

Yet, while we seek support, all tutor/mentor programs throughout the region are now searching for volunteers and donors to support their efforts, too. While each program has limited funds for advertising, business, media, sports celebrities and elected leaders can adopt these leadership ideas and help create the advertising needed to attract and motivate volunteers and donors to browse the Program Locator and get to know the various tutoring and/or mentoring programs operating in the region.

They are all different. Some are better than others. They call can grow from good to great if enough people make the commitment to help them.

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