VolunteerThe largest fire in LA County so far has burned 220 square miles and devastated hundreds of families. There’s a centralized volunteer response team organized by L.A. Works, in partnership with the Volunteer Center of Los Angeles. Find out more at the L.A. Works website.

Whether you are currently job hunting or not, volunteering can be a great way to advance your career.  The Forth Worth Business Press reports that Volunteering in recession can be professional development

Speaking of what motivates people to volunteer, Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth has some great insights:

It is essential that people begin to discover their intrinsic motivations for volunteering. Why? Because when the things we do connect to who we are, we become personally invested. Our own identity works itself out in conjunction with volunteering. As we reach out to others, we begin to take a journey inward. We begin to discover and express our truer self.

See: Want Good Volunteers? Forget The Altruistic, Find The Self-Interested (Part 1 of 2) for the full post.

Many people like short term volunteering gigs. Mashable website offers 20 Ways to Change the World in Only 15 Minutes a Day – if these fit with your nonprofit’s mission, promote these ideas in your community.

How about volunteering via your mobile phone? Joanne at About.com says Micro-Volunteering is Picking Up Steam

Here’s more on microvolunteering from Generation Y Give: Mobile Tech for Social Change and Micro-volunteering

Especially if your program or event requires a large number of volunteers, scheduling and supporting them can be a full time job.  Now you can do this more easily with VolunteerSpot, an online volunteer management tool.  Using the internet to work with volunteers makes it easier for them to participate and shows that you are organized and on the ball with technology.

Recognizing and thanking volunteers can be done online too.  Here are two examples… First from Volunteer Spot, a profile of Sabrina Lea, Council Director for Girls on the Run, Kansas City, MO.  Heroes for Children is a great organization that supports families who have a child battling cancer.  Each month they profile one of their dedicated volunteers on their blog.  Here’s the September Volunteer of the Month.

Tracking Volunteer Time to Boost Your Bottom Line: A Complete Accounting Guide from Blue Avacado. A great guide for nonprofits on why and how to track volunteering time

The estimated dollar value of volunteer time was $20.25 per hour for 2008. The Independent Sector has a chart of how this estimate has grown over the years.

Remember how much your volunteers are really worth – Volunteers give their time, talents, knowledge (sometimes from a lifetime of professional experience), they give their enthusiasm and can be great at spreading the word about the great things your nonprofit is doing.  Truly priceless!

P.S. See our directory for additional links about volunteering.

Posted on 04 September 2009

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