West Central Blogger

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Seven tips for tapping volunteer resources during tight financial times

When cash resources are short for nonprofits and government organizations, volunteers count for a lot. Literally. In fact, volunteer time in the U.S. has an estimated economic contribution of $3.4 billion dollars annually. The Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration offers these tips to maximize the value volunteers bring to organizations to help them survive tight financial times.

1. Maintain the volunteer manager position, even if faced with the need to make cuts. The dollar value he/she brings to the organization is many times his/her salary.

2. Intensify the impact of volunteer recruitment messages by drawing powerful images from media attention about increased needs.

3. Look for new pools of volunteers such as job seekers or people who want give gifts of skills and time because they are less able to give less financially.

4. Assess the organization for new ways volunteers can meet community needs and reduce staff stress.

5. Avoid any perception that volunteers might be used to replace staff.

6. Make sure there are volunteer opportunities that do not require out of pocket costs.

7. Increase your ability to take advantage of opportunities available through use of volunteer talent by ensuring that leaders of volunteers are well trained in the best practices for volunteer management, and by placing the volunteer manager on the management team, if he/she is not already on it.

Read more about capitalizing on volunteer resources.

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