The Funder’s Guide to Investing in Volunteer Engagement

Posted by Leighty Foundation on May 7, 2018

Most of us would agree that our current and future grantees are facing a daunting future of shrinking financial resources and dramatically escalating needs. We also know that only a small fraction of the necessary dollars will come from the philanthropic sector. Many are in very vulnerable situations with looming cuts to budgets and programs.

BUT, there is a vastly underutilized and virtually unlimited renewable resource from which to draw—Volunteer Energy!

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the challenge won’t be as simple as increasing the number of people who want to volunteer. Effectively tapping this resource requires building innovative organizational infrastructures to connect those who volunteer with high impact opportunities that empower them to make a real difference!

Volunteer energy represents a resource that has only begun to be tapped and all too often is poorly stewarded. People of all ages want to be involved in something beyond themselves: from children who raise money with lemonade stands to newly retired men and women (many of whom were professional leaders in the corporate and nonprofit sector) who seek encore volunteer careers and are eager to share their wisdom, expertise, and encouragement.

Deploying large numbers of volunteers, however, does not necessarily translate into success for the nonprofit or the community. Success results when an organization engages and empowers its volunteer resources to produce the greatest possible impact on a problem or need.

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