Volunteers: Are They Only Disaster-Prone?

board development and revitalization ensuring sustainable resources intentional practices Apr 04, 2022




In times of budget restraint and service reductions, is it time to revisit the volunteer?


Recent disasters – floods, hurricanes, fires, and of course, viruses – have led to an outpouring of community engagement and involvement. All lauded.


But do residents see their contributions limited to disasters?


When will boomers start to demand entry to public agencies as talented, committed, engaged volunteer workers? And are we ready? Do we have the necessary policies and agreements in place around recruitment and selection, vetting, liability and insurance, supervision and “non-renewal”, risk management? Have our partner groups been appropriately consulted?


Why do young people have access to some agencies and not others for community service? (Interesting fact: young people volunteer as much or more as the retired…)


Volunteers for Service Delivery


In many communities, volunteers are a critical piece of service delivery – valued, capable, responsible, and necessary. In others, they are simply blocked, by unions says management, by lack of appropriate policies, say unions, even when there is no mention of volunteers in a collective agreement.


In the U.S. the Cities of Service movement is an organization of dozens of cities looking to connect city agencies with volunteers for maximum benefit. 


Can we afford to sit at the sidelines and look dumbfounded (or negative, or like deer in headlights) when the subject is broached? Yet I don’t hear much discussion of this topic beyond the status quo, or dismissal out of hand.


It is estimated that almost 70 million adults volunteered more than eight billion hours -- services valued at more than $170 billion.


Volunteers benefit too. Young people become more positive about their communities and their role in them. Volunteer work experience leads to higher employment by all age groups. And volunteers become strong advocates for public agencies.


Shouldn’t we start the conversation before the helping hands are demanding to be let in?


What are your main “pain points” dealing with utilizing volunteers?
What advice would be most helpful to you? And we always assume that you are asking for a friend!

Get in touch. We’ll address your questions and concerns in an upcoming blog post.



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P.S. May I ask a tiny favour? 

Would you mind sharing this blog with one person? I would love it. You can post the links in your Facebook Groups, LinkedIn or even send an email.

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