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Volunteer Power News — Number 21
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter

© 2004 Advantage Point Systems Publishing

A warm welcome to all volunteer managers - those of you who recruit, motivate and mobilize volunteer workers.

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This Issue:

  • Recruiting the Right Kind of People-a group of drunks that made the difference.
  • What is wrong with recruiting someone who says, "Hey, I want to volunteer, you got something for me to do?"

Recruiting the Right Kind of People
A group of drunks that made the difference

Who are you trying to recruit? What kind of people are going to make the greatest impact? Too many times we make the mistake of going after the important or influential person. Although there is a place for recruiting the person who has some influence, for the most part the hard work of our organizations is done by people who are not superstars. They are the core of our organization and are the ones with the passion to get things done.

Who would you recruit-the wealthy, influential or a group of drunks? The contrast is overwhelming. The recent book, My Name is Bill (2004, Simon and Schuster), is the story about Bill Wilson of Alcoholics Anonymous. In the earliest days AA began with ties to the Oxford Group, a 1940's semi religious self-help group founded by Frank Buckman. The Oxford Group sought to influence society by gathering key, important people--people of money and wealth. Wilson was forced out because all he had was a group of drunks. The Oxford Group's head went to Germany and sought to recruit Adolph Hitler because he was a key person at that time and thought the Oxford Group continued in some new names, it ultimately died and that group of drunks have continued to impact society.

When I was starting out recruiting and managing volunteers in a church, a minister friend of mine gave me some great advice. He told me about a rather wealthy and influential person in one of his former churches that would invite him and his wife out to fancy dinners and even take him to professional football games, but this person never did anything in the church. When he was recruited to serve on the board, he never did a thing.

Then the minister said to me, "The people who keep the church going are not rich, influential, or powerful leaders in the community. They are the faithful, committed workers who just love to serve because of their faith. And I learned to spend my time with them rather than going to fancy restaurants and ball games with people who did nothing."

What is wrong with recruiting someone who say, "Hey, I want to volunteer, you got something for me to do?

I recently received a question on our Ask Tom page. The question was, "I live in ______ and I want to volunteer somewhere. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Now I know that some of you are asking, "Where is that person? I want to talk to him." After all in most of our volunteer programs we end up looking for warm bodies, and what is get is what I call the "BIC" syndrome. We don't get a committed volunteer, what we get is a "Butt in the Chair". Anyone who fogs a mirror will do.

I answered this young man by saying the following:

To find a place to volunteer ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is your passion? What excites you?
  2. What are your gifts? What abilities do you have that you want to offer in volunteering?
  3. What is your temperament? Are you easily offended? Do you take criticism well? Are you high energy? Do you like to work alone? Do you like team work?

These three questions are important in looking for a place to volunteer. After you have answered these questions, seek out an organization that needs your passion, your gifts and your temperament. For example

  1. Your passion is helping the poor
  2. Your gifts are carpentry
  3. Your temperament is that you are a high energy, team oriented person who takes criticism well.

If this is you, then seek out a local chapter of "habitat for humanity."

I hope this helps.

Thomas W. McKee
Volunteer Power

Tom McKee is a leading volunteer management speaker, trainer and consultant. You can reach Tom at (916) 987-0359 or e-mail him at tom@advantagepoint.com

For more articles by Thomas McKee, visit the Articles section on our website.


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