Having spent a morning with a group of “seniors” (their word not mine) talking about ways they can help charities other than giving money on an ad-hoc basis, I got to thinking about how organisations tap into what could be a very valuable source of support.
In philanthropy, we talk a lot about giving money, but giving time can sometimes be more satisfying & more valuable, such as volunteering. (As soon as I saw this on Twitter, I had to grab and use it – thanks Michael Chatman).
Not everyone has money to spare, nor should we expect it of all supporters – there’s more ways people can help any organisation, perhaps supporters can be asked to give an hour of their time a week; others may have product or services they can give.
There’s already many volunteer hours given each year, but with some wise thinking and planning the size of the volunteer sector will continue to grow. People see giving of their time as sometimes easier than giving money – and this shouldn’t be discouraged.
Next time you’re planning a campaign don’t be solely fixated on cash donations; although it is acknowledged that this is needed – so too are skills and time that volunteers can give to your organisation.
If you’re wanting to help in the community take time to look at how your skills and time can be put to good use; there’s organisations in every community that needs people to help them out.
If you’re not sure where to start check local volunteer networks, likewise if you’re a community group needing help ask – in New Zealand there’s Volunteering New Zealand who can offer help, advice to community groups for all things volunteering.
It’s time to start thinking how we can all take part as volunteers, how we can make a difference offering our skills.
Next time you’re asked to support a community group and can’t give cash, will you instead offer time?
Next time your organisation is planning its appeal, will you also take the opportunity to build your volunteer base?