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Friday, January 27, 2012

Volunteers: Valentine's or Villains?

This is the first in a series about volunteering by Russ Stoddard, CEO and Chief Do-Gooder for Social Good Network.

Do you appreciate your volunteers or do you take them for granted?

I’m certain you fall into the former camp. That’s a no-brainer, right? After all, your volunteers extend your resources by sharing their time and talents. They often ADD to your resources with the treasure of their financial generosity. And in today’s social media driven world, they have the ability to share their influence with others and amplify your message thousands of times owner.

So, as a mere formality, let’s quickly verify your affirmative answer to the question of volunteer appreciation. When was the last time you thanked or recognized your volunteers? Um, well, we’re waiting…

Here are a few starters to jumpstart your recollection. It could be a simple, old-fashioned handwritten note you sent. Or a photo of your volunteers and a quick biographical sketch prominently placed on your website. Heck, you could even have posted something to your Facebook page. “Big shout-out to Sherrie Johnson for all the good she helps our organization achieve by helping produce our events.” You do all of this, right?

Now if after considering this, you might realize that, despite your best of intentions, this opportunity to share the love gets pushed to the back burner. So why not use the letter V as inspiration to get back on track.

V is for Volunteer and Valentine’s as well. (Yes, it's also for Villain as well, but mostly that's used in the title of this blog post to get your attention!) This Valentine’s Day, tell your volunteers how much you love them. Call them on the phone. Send them a direct message on LinkedIn or Twitter. Give them a small box of chocolates or proclaim your love publically in your email newsletter. Heck, even a text message will not go unnoticed. Go ahead and give it a go – I predict you’ll be amazed by the results you get. After all, you know how how rare, and good, it feels to be thanked for a job well done.

Here at Social Good Network, we announce our love for the world every day. That’s the photo of our office headquarters, the "I Love You/Oliver Russell Building," that appears with this blog. So here it is from us, all you nonprofits – and volunteers – we love you! Thanks for all the goodness you bring to the world.

(P.S. I’d be remiss in not telling you that we’ve got a special Valentine’s Day shopping section on our website: Things We Love for your Valentine. Go ahead and tell your volunteers they can turn their online purchases into donations for your cause by shopping through our site. It’s free, easy, and doesn’t cost one cent extra.)

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