Friday, May 14, 2010

An Unalloyed Good Thing? Not Necessarily

As volunteer managers and nonprofit leaders know, the limiting factor for volunteer impact is NOT a shortage of volunteers, stipended or not. Instead, the limiting factors are the capacity of nonprofits to deploy them effectively, and the unusability of untrained, ill-prepared, temporary volunteer workers. ~ Blue Avocado, on the 'sacred cow' of volunteering

So true. That's why we just produced The Hidden Workforce, a toolkit and promising-practices report for child- and youth-serving agencies considering starting, or hoping to improve, their volunteer programs. We believe that 1) it's foolish to squander resources, and the volunteers are a resources; but that 2) if you don't manage volunteers correctly, you'd be better off without them. In other words, you have to train them and manage them like you would staff. The benefit? After that, they're free. Better yet, they bring all kind of offbeat skills and perspectives that can enrich the work you do.

Check out the toolkit.