Where Possible, Make Sure You Keep Volunteers In Your Focus

One of the underlying foundations of being a leader is the ability to harness everything that is at one’s disposal.

One should be ready to utilize everything in their environment, both that which is obvious and that which is not, to improve and grow that mission with which they are entrusted or toward which they are working. We should be ready to take advantage of tools that have always been realized and used, and those which we have to dig deeper to find.  Seeing that which others might not is part of being resourceful.

“Harnessing the power of volunteers is part of the resourcefulness of being a leader.”

But sometimes it is hard to find those resources that will make one’s missions easier to achieve. Our environment needs to be studied, picked apart, and put back together to determine what works, what doesn’t, and what should. Finding the correct areas to target can be an arduous task, nevermind finding the solution.

What is not arduous is taking advantage of people that can possibly assist in that endeavor.  What’s even easier than that? Taking advantage of people who are volunteering to make your mission and work better through their assistance. Their FREE assistance.

And that’s why volunteers should be considered and taken seriously.

Harnessing the power of volunteers is part of the resourcefulness of being a leader.  Volunteers are resources that are easily demonstrating their commitment solely in the act of coming forward, sometimes unsolicited.

And still some leaders do not understand that power that might stand in front of them. Volunteers who, through free will, have made it known that they want to help in any capacity are a blessing not in disguise. They are explicitly demonstrating to you outright a major expression and step of their commitment.

“…a leader should not let a volunteer fall by the wayside or slip through their fingers…”

And yes, their coming forward is an initial step as there should be a complete vetting process of his or her intentions, skills, ideas, and goals. Much in the same way it is important to find the right fit in full-time staffing efforts, so too is it important to do so with volunteers.

But once that process has been executed through a deeper initial discussion, a leader should not let a volunteer fall by the wayside or slip through their fingers. That leader should first determine what the volunteer can handle, both from the standpoints of capacity and ability and, second, consider workplace or entity protocol which might outline and dictate what volunteers are allowed to work on.

In this day and age, especially as the economy is slow to recover from the Great Recession causing companies to be slow to increase their spending on workforce growth and expansion, leaders should never easily dismiss volunteers coming forward to assist.

“There is so much that volunteers can provide if given the chance.”

Too often, because volunteers might not have been welcomed to take part in the mission where they could’ve and were available, the mission of the organization or entity has chosen to pass on some important resources. If the decision to not utilize a volunteer is arrived at by completely vetting the volunteer and it is found there was no assistance or added value the volunteer could provide, that is one thing, but it is another to intentionally dismiss or unintentionally let that opportunity pass.

There is so much that volunteers can provide if given the chance.  The contributions might not be what is expected and so a leader can be pleasantly surprised and benefit immensely. It can be a win-win transaction.

Give careful consideration to, and be sure to harness, those whom can offer such help for they may provide varying levels of expertise you may not even know you need.

Great volunteers might be right outside of and just beyond your field of view, so be prepared for when they step in to assist.

So…What About You?

  • How have you addressed, vetted, and seen through volunteering offers and the resulting relationship?
  • How did such offers benefit your business or mission?
  • Is there anything you would have changed about how you handled previous volunteer offers?

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