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Volunteer Enthusiasm: Gotta Get Me Some!

August 26, 2013

by Becky Lunders, teamWorks

I love being around really passionate people who deeply believe in the mission of the organization for which they volunteer. The enthusiasm that fills the room at such a gathering is addicting. It’s like a drug. You can’t get enough of it. You want to bottle it up and take it with you. You want to experience that natural high every day. Although I’ve never done drugs, I do understand wanting to duplicate that feeling of euphoria! During my years as a volunteer management consultant, nonprofit staffer and volunteer, I have sipped the Kool-Aid many times in many different organizations!

I recently had the honor of speaking at the National Volunteer Leadership Conference for Canine Companions for Independence. These folks raise highly-trained assistance dogs to partner with people with disabilities, providing independence and companionship. Aside from the adorable puppies-in-training (they do just melt your heart!), Canine Companions has passionate volunteers. Like your volunteers, they are deeply committed to the mission and the life-changing work they do. The result is enthusiastic volunteers who are ready to work!

So once the conference is over, what do we do to keep the enthusiasm running high? Volunteers feel a sense of urgency to raise more money so they can serve more people. Non-profits are wise to capitalize on this by providing action steps towards the goal. Create a way for volunteers to step into leadership roles while they are still flyin’ high! Develop a plan to engage your volunteers and put them to work on something. Heck, give them a project and let them run with it! Time is of the essence.

Don’t let the conference buzz wear off before you mobilize your volunteers. This drug called enthusiasm is readily available to any organization that has a visionary staff, a strong volunteer leader and a group of volunteers ready to work. And the best thing is no prescription is required!

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