Your non-profit has a mission. You have a lot of work to do in the community. You know what you want to achieve, but you do not have the resources to do it. You are stretched too thin. Sound familiar?
I hear this all the time from clients. Particularly in today’s climate, lockdown and cutbacks to funding have meant that more must be achieved for less money. This can seem futile. Yet, there is a money-saving resource to hand that you may not have thought about. Community volunteers.
Using volunteers for community outreach can have many benefits. Below is a list of the top benefits for you and the local community.
The Benefits of Community Volunteers for Your Organisation
Benefits for your organisation include…
Saves money. Volunteers do not expect to be paid. You have a productive workforce but without having to pay salaries. Therefore, you can achieve an outcome with far less expense. You can also get a lot more people on board to help on a project.
Increases understanding. Using community volunteers means that they already understand local grievances and issues. They can be empathetic and sensitive to problems in the area they live in. Having local volunteers will also give you a unique insight into how the locals feel.
Improves communication. Using community volunteers gives local people a voice within your organisation. You will have a direct link to the mindset of those outside. This insight can be used to improve how your charity or non-profit organisation is perceived. Furthermore, you can use it to stay relevant and adapt if needed.
Enhances passion. Using local volunteers to deliver local services gives you a passionate workforce. These people will have joined you hoping to see positive changes in their area. If you can explain how volunteering with you will achieve this, they will work hard to deliver that change. People with passion are at their most productive. Community volunteers will turn up for you because they want to be there. This can bring a new zeal to your workforce.
Achieves the unachievable. Having volunteers gives you people to perform tasks you could not complete otherwise. This is not just about numbers, though it will provide you with many more hands. Volunteers come from all walks of life and have many skills. You can utilise these skills without the cost. This allows you to do things which you may not have been able to afford before. Your non-profit may also be able to expand current services and help more people.
Improves your profile. Using volunteers for community outreach raises local awareness of your ‘brand’ and the problems you are working to address. They will spread your good name by word of mouth. The work community volunteers are doing may help attract the local press.
Increases credibility. Credibility can be gained from having volunteers who are willing to give up their spare time for your organisation. The fact that you have people volunteering for you tells others that your cause is of value.
The Benefits of Volunteering for the Local Community
Benefits for the local community include…
Gives them a voice. They can directly influence the services you offer in their community.
Gives them experience. Through volunteering for you, they can learn skills that can improve their lives. This might include job skills and experience they can add to their CV. It could also be as simple as giving them more confidence.
Improves their health. Volunteering, especially practical work, gets people out of the house and keeps them active. This can have long-term physical benefits. It can have mental health benefits too. Staying active can help to improve mental health. Likewise, mixing with like-minded people can give volunteers a support network.
Builds community. Locals doing voluntary work together helps connect people and builds social networks. It also fosters a lasting sense of community strength.
Gives people purpose and pride. When local people are involved in the building of something, they have a joint mission. They can feel pride in it because they produced it. This all raises the community’s morale.
Improves local lives. By working for your non-profit, volunteers can help to improve the lives of those in their area.
Ensure your work continues. Volunteers form a crucial part of many organisations. They allow services to continue even when funding is reduced. Without them, it simply would not be possible for many charitable causes to be effective.
Community volunteers are not an entirely free resource. To ensure they work effectively, there should be procedures in place to support them. Yet, the benefits that can come from having a voluntary team can far outweigh this.
Speaking to a ground roots community organisation, they agreed:
“If an organisation uses volunteers who are local residents, they are more likely to be able to relate well to local residents and locals will relate well to them. The more a volunteer knows the community, the more they understand its needs and the more they will care for it. This will reflect well on the organisation as people identify the organisation with local community interests.
Volunteering helps individuals as they can give an enhanced sense of purpose and value as a community volunteer. The wider community benefits because when relationships develop and deepen in a community, people who are lonely and isolated get to know their neighbours and become more connected to each other. In turn, the organisation benefits from the PR and goodwill generated from volunteer activity. Therefore using volunteers enables organisations to demonstrate positive outcomes to potential funders and supporters.” – Counties UK.
If you would like to find out more about how I can support you in using volunteers for community outreach, please feel free to get in touch.