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Thursday, June 16, 2011

If you build it, they will come - Leah

How do nonprofits continue to foster a strong volunteer base with the economy in the situation it has currently found itself it? Although there are many organizations struggling to get volunteers in the door, much less to put in the time needed to get certain jobs done, there are also some organizations that are somehow maintaining the volunteer base previously owned, as well as growing that base. So the question arises, what are they doing so well?

When studied by Peter O Donnell, president of a training and consulting company focusing on nonprofits, the phenomena proved to be a result of a strong mission driven, value-laden approach to nonprofit management. The reason that people are drawn to an organization is because the focus of the mission is so strongly felt, because people are excited about what they are doing for that cause and they are working towards making sure the mission is achieved in the best way possible. Or, as a reading from class said, people are drawn to success not desperation.

The study found on the Nonprofit Quarterly site here shows that when the organizations had a compelling vision, constant communication, willing workers, and a results-oriented structure, they were more likely to draw in volunteers and individuals from the community for support. On the other hand, when means become ends, roles become professionalized, methods become traditionalized, and leadership becomes maintenance-oriented, organizations are less likely to be seen as attractive to the community and less people will be willing to volunteer for that group.

Although this may not seem to be ground-breaking news, it is important for nonprofit managers to realize that when we become complacent in what we are doing, when we stop focusing on the mission and lose the drive to achieve our dreams with which we created our organization is the same time that that lackluster feeling translates to the community. In order to sustain the life of the organization, we must sustain our passion and drive for the mission. That passion will then be mirrored in individuals who will want to serve the organization in their own ways – by volunteering their time, money, and skills.

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