Ken Goldstein, MPPA

Ken Goldstein has been working in nonprofits and local government agencies from Santa Cruz, to Sacramento, and back to Silicon Valley, since 1989. He's been staff, volunteer, board member, executive director, and, since 2003, a consultant to local nonprofit organizations. For more on Ken's background, click here. If you are interested in retaining Ken's services, you may contact him at ken at

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Maximizing Volunteer Impact

Are you fully utilizing your volunteers skills? Are you putting volunteers in positions where they can use their professional skills most effectively, or are you having asking lawyers to sweep up?

According to the 2006 Deloitte / Points of Light Volunteer IMPACT Study, you're probably missing the boat. The study found that the "vast majority of non-profit organizations are not capitalizing on the valuable professional skills of their volunteers."

This is not only a problem for your organization, but for the volunteers as well. Surveys find that most people do want to be used to their maximum potential, and enjoy what they are good at for a good purpose. When volunteers are given chores that they didn't select and are not in line with their skills, they get bored and are less likely to continue volunteering.

The Wall Street Journal recently did an article on this problem from the volunteer's perspective, calling it the Volunteer Trap. The last thing you want is for your valuable volunteers to feel that they've been trapped!

It's not just the potential productivity of your volunteers that is at stake here: This relates to your fundraising as well. Here's a little something to remember:

Money follows involvement. 90% of long-term volunteers to an organization wind up as donors. That's a phenomenal number to consider. Don't blow it by giving that potential donor the wrong task.

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