David Roman

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David Roman
Posted over 1 year ago
What if every full-time employee volunteered one week of every year?
It warms my heart to think that people would be willing to volunteer one-week of every year. The reality, however, is that the costs of coordinating or managing volunteers is often a significant barrier to bridging well-intentioned people to resource deficient nonprofits. In the for-profit world, profits from the labor produced by additional staff cover the costs of coordination, oversight, and the tools/materials needed to do that work. In this example, the budget grows by growing profits. In the nonprofit world, where budget flexibility depends upon donors rather than profits, you can't add volunteers if you don't have additional cash resources. Few of us would expect for-profit businesses to manage additional staff without having the cash to pay for coordination or oversight, yet some people forget that nonprofits incur costs when they work with volunteers. Creative and positive volunteer opportunities that have lasting and real impact for the both the volunteers and the organizations require staffing and the provision of tools, materials, and space necessary to make a volunteer experience fruitful. I have worked alongside other volunteers in the past, and many were turned off by the experience because a well-intentioned organization was not able to maximize the value of their skills. While I would love to have more volunteers engaged with my nonprofit organization, Families In Schools, I cannot ignore the reality that we do not always have the capacity to work with more volunteers without additional dollars. I know in my heart that we could do a lot more with greater resources.