Why Volunteer Involvement Deserves Attention from the Board of Directors

By Betty Stallings with Susan J. Ellis
From Leading the Way to Successful Volunteer Involvement, Energize, Inc., 2010, p. 173
  • Many volunteers are financial as well as time donors to the organization. Therefore, involving volunteers should be seen as part of any resource development strategy which the board surely monitors regularly.
  • Volunteers are not free. Organizational resources are expended to engage them and so it’s necessary to ensure that there is a legitimate return on investment. Conversely, it’s important to allocate the tangible resources necessary to enable volunteers to contribute effectively. The board approves the organization’s budget and so needs to understand this expense area.
  • Volunteers are the “unpaid personnel department” and often outnumber employees. Since the board is aware of the staffing of the organization, this significant group of service contributors should not be invisible to them.
  • Volunteers have enormous potential in public relations, fundraising, public education, legislative advocacy, and other community outreach functions. What volunteers are saying about the organization to their circles of family, friends, and contacts should be of interest to the board because it affects the organization’s image.
  • As community members with a demonstrated commitment to the organization, volunteers are a source of valuable information for planning and evaluation purposes, if someone asks their opinion or tries to understand their perspective.
  • Board members are governance volunteers and should be involved in how they and other volunteers are engaged in the organization.
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