The New Wave of Nonprofit Volunteers

Gen X volunteersOne of the issues that many of our client organizations face is an aging population. How do you do something as monumental as ensure the future or your organization or create an age-diverse board when you have limited access to those under 50.

One theory is to focus on volunteers.

Generation X – those born in the 60s and 70s – as well as Generation Y – those born in the 80s and 90s have shown that they are much more likely to give their time initially than their money. And, the data show that volunteers are more likely to give—and to give more—than people who do not volunteer. The real question is what kind of volunteer opportunities do you need to provide in order to attract high caliber volunteers?

A New Way of Volunteering
This is the catch. These volunteers are not looking to just stuff envelopes. Sure, that can be a portion of their role. But, if you had a choice of building houses for Habitat for Humanity, helping students prepare for a mock-trial for Citizens Schools or lick stamps, what volunteer opportunity would you seek out?

What roles can you give to your volunteers?

* Invite a couple of 25-year-olds to help bring the holiday food/toys/clothes donations from your organization to a shelter
* Ask someone in advertising to help create new flyers for the next set of special events
* Ask a librarian to help choose books for the book fair.
* Ask a sales professional to train the staff on inter-personal skills.
* Ask a professional organizer to help re-arrange the executive director’s impossibly messy office.
* Ask someone what he/she does and whether you could find a role in the organization that is mutually beneficial for both of you.

Consider the process a fabulous human resource development and cultivation tool rolled into one. And these people are volunteering to do it. The key is to create a way for people to feel good about themselves while benefiting your agency.

And, of course, once that person is in the door as a volunteer, you can explain your need for help with mailings, too.