2006: Managing Hundreds of Volunteers

Volunteers have always played an integral role in SourcePoint’s success—after all, we were founded by volunteers—but it wasn’t until 2006 that a formal management program was developed. By that time, SourcePoint had 459 volunteers, and that number continued to grow. Today, we have more than 1,000 volunteers! Our work in the community is made possible by our team of dedicated volunteers, and we welcome one and all to get involved.

Upon reflection:

This may come as a surprise to some, but volunteers are not free. Like most good things in life, high-quality volunteer programs require an investment. If you don’t regularly recruit volunteers and promote the benefits of volunteering, you won’t have a strong program. If you don’t match the volunteers’ interests with the organization’s needs, your volunteers won’t be happy. If you don’t provide training, supervision, and support, you won’t benefit from the volunteers’ commitment. If you don’t make continual efforts to thank the volunteers for their hard work, your volunteers won’t feel appreciated. All of these things require an investment of time and money, and now that volunteers are integrated into almost every aspect of what we do, it’s important that we remain committed to that investment.

It took us many years to figure this out, but once we did, our volunteer program blossomed and now returns many times the amount of our ongoing investment. Our volunteer management program is part of our human resources department; so in essence, SourcePoint has paid employees and unpaid employees. And no matter if the position is paid or unpaid, we want the work to be meaningful and the recognition plentiful.

Today, we have many different jobs for volunteers than we had in the early years. We also have many more volunteers working many more hours which helps us further stretch our funding. The last calculation showed that the financial value of SourcePoint’s volunteers exceeded $1.3 million in one year! What’s harder to measure is passion, dedication, and the emotional impact that our volunteers have on the people who benefit from their work every day. And that goes both ways—a frequent comment from volunteers is, “I get way more out of this than what I give!” Amazing!

It has been wonderful to watch our volunteer program grow and evolve from a handful of dedicated individuals to the very large group who today help drive our mission at SourcePoint. My hope is that these efforts will continue to grow and evolve. Lord knows, we have enough work still to be done.

 

 –Bob Horrocks, Executive Director