by Joni King, Senior Vice President, Pride Philanthropy

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things.  He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”  – Ronald Regan  Sound familiar? Does this describe volunteer leaders who are involved with your organization?  All across the country and our world, people are volunteering and investing their time, ideas, resources and experiences to lead others in service for the good of our organizations. Key volunteer leaders, along with staff, are leading projects and programs that help to meet the needs of those in our communities.  Volunteers provide a positive experience so that others, involved can and want to continue their journey of service.  So, are you doing what you can to recruit and retain volunteer leadership?  Here are a few things for you to keep in mind, and to pay attention to, as you build and sustain your volunteer program:  Identifying and recruiting top volunteer leaders who are:

  • Committed to your mission and vision
  • Willing to donate time, energy, support
  • Eager to become a part of your organization
  • High profile: respected and well-known
  • Seen as generous: willing and able to contribute
  • Respected leaders and have the ability to invite others to “Join” them

Work at involving and sustaining key volunteers by:

  • Recruiting a volunteer for a specific committee and task
  • Providing orientation and training as well as ongoing staff support
  • Developing a long term relationship with volunteer leaders as we do with donors is important
  • Recognizing volunteers as you would recognize donors

Involving volunteer leadership is “key” in our fundraising success. We know that the competition for volunteer leadership is most often greater than the competition for donations.  It is easy to write a check; not so easy to give of one’s time.  Folks have a lot of choices of places where they could give of their time, talents, and expertise. If we are able to be the organization they select to give back to by volunteering and if we become their charity of choice, the impact they will have on our programs will be everlasting.  Volunteers like to be successful and to be part of something positive for their community.  Volunteers can bring donors closer to us, create a positive momentum, and make incredible things happen.  Remember . . . People give to people, and people give to leadership!