Tomorrow is MLK Day, and, like many others, I want to get involved with the day of service. Problem is, I can’t find a project. How can this be possible, you’re thinking, when there are sites dedicated to matching volunteers up with projects for MLK Day? Well, I answer, I am moving cities in less than 20 days, so I can’t commit to any long-term volunteer project.
This leads me to the Tip of the Week for your nonprofit organization: Be open to one-time volunteers.
I know, I know. It seems counterintuitive to the whole idea of effective volunteer retention. But, before you can start retaining volunteers, you must first recruit volunteers. One of the easiest ways to get a fresh pool of volunteers is to allow for one-time service projects. For example, allow the local student council, church group, or family the opportunity to volunteer with your organization for a day. It doesn’t have to involve anything spectacular…office work and odd jobs could easily fulfill their eagerness to get involved.*
While it may put more work on your organization (to deal with handling one-time requests and finding opportunities to match those requests), the pay off could be exponentially worth it. Those one-timers could turn out to be your most loyal volunteers (as became the case with me and many organizations).
So remember that “everyone can be great because everyone can serve” this MLK Day. You just have to give them the chance.