‘Other’ ways to volunteer
I thought it would be worthwhile to talk about ‘Other Ways to Volunteer’ when there are so many reasons to say ‘No’.
I hear many reasons why people are not offering their time. Many of these are valid and in some circumstances, it is better to say ‘no’ (see my earlier post about this).
There are times, however, when a more creative approach to our challenges can see us helping in different ways. Here are a couple of examples.
Problem: I’m too busy
Yes, we’ve all heard this one!
This is where we need to assure our busy people that we aren’t interested in sucking the life out of them! This is a trust issue. Let them know you only need, say, one hour of their time, but make sure you mean it! Don’t look at them with crazed eyes and beg them to be your president!!!!
If they are still too busy, ask if they have ideas as to other ways they can support you. Do they have any connections who might be interested in sponsoring or donating? Can they donate something themselves? If they are whizz-bang creative and passionate, consider asking them to join a ‘brains trust’ (see my earlier article). Unless ‘I’m too busy’ really means ‘sod off’, persist and see if you can find some common ground!
Problem: ‘I have a toddler and can’t help on the Mother’s Day Stall’.
Approach: Indeed, it is hard enough looking out for a toddler let alone stopping them from destroying the merchandise or getting trampled on by hoards of eager schoolkids. Instead, get a couple of people together who are in the same boat to see if you can rig up a play area somewhere off to the side and supervise a small group of young ones. This will enable more people who otherwise couldn’t volunteer to offer an hour of their time. The gesture will be appreciated by everyone. After all, doesn’t it take a village to raise a child?
Problem: I work full time and don’t get a chance to ‘connect’ with opportunities to volunteer.
Approach: Yep, it’s a very common problem. You will find, though, that even though parents work full time, they are often very happy to help where they can. Don’t forget that the busiest people are often the most effective.
As a co-ordinator of volunteers, make it clear that you welcome any level of support and come up a list of ‘micro-tasks’ that can be done remotely. Promote them as being perfect for the working parent. These tasks might include: Updating spreadsheets, writing grant applications or sponsorship proposals, managing the flow of communication to your community or being the ‘thank-you’ co-ordinator and writing thank-you notes to your volunteers (a very important job!). As a potential busy volunteer, take the first step and offer yourself up for such a role.
Working and single parents often feel excluded as it is harder for them to find that sense of community. A little bit of imagination can go a long way to fix that! Our article, Singled Out has some great suggestions for getting involved in your school or club.
Use an online volunteer rostering platform as an easy way to manage micro-volunteering 🙂
If you have come across other ways of dealing with volunteering challenges, I’d love to hear them!
Mandy Weidmann aka the Fundraising Whisperer