Adult Students In Class With Teacher (Selective Focus)

“I wish I had more help!” Many leaders have uttered those sad words, usually followed by some reason why it is so hard to recruit. However, most people are eager to give their time to something worthwhile. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “62.6 million people” volunteered their time and talent in and through organizations in 2013.

Who is sitting in the “volunteer” section of the grandstand near your organization? More than likely, there are spectators with the exact skills you need for a project or program within reach who would gladly join your team. To enlist them, draw a straight line between their involvement and your vision.

Everyone wants purpose. People do not give their time to something meaningless. They want to know they are not just filling a position; they want to know that they are building a bridge. People are purpose-driven. For example, if a volunteer can be shown how sweeping a parking lot helps change the world, that person will be grabbing for a broom handle.

Everyone has a passion. Approximately 25% of the U. S. population is part of the Baby Boomer generation. The vast majority of those are in the retirement community. And many of those retirees left the workforce dissatisfied with their job. Some have interests or skills that were shelved during the work years that could now be put in service. Connect their passion to your vision and, Bingo! You have a highly motivated volunteer.

Everyone loves clarity. Years of work experience are no substitute for a clear volunteer assignment. Unfocused, unclear tasks seem tedious and pointless. Draw a clear picture of the outcome, and people more readily pitch in to work. A detailed job description linked with a purpose and passion, reinforced with affirmation and appreciation, may be the start of something great.

Do you need help? Scan the grandstands for a spectator who has the experience and skill you need, and begin to talk vision with them. Then, talk it some more. Show someone how their effort accomplishes a worthwhile vision and you will gain more volunteers.


-Stan Toler