Saturday, May 30, 2009

Giving back .... BECAUSE?

While facilitating a non-profit board's retreat, an attendee new to that Board said he wanted the "warm fuzzies" about the people he's serving with ... I asked everyone to explain why they volunteer for the organization. Not the standard answer "I want to give back" ... but instead "I want to give back ... BECAUSE ...." or something about the specific person who recruited their volunteerism.

The BECAUSE part brought forward compelling stories ... one appreciated the role the organization played with foster care agencies due to a personal experience, another had a parent who died of a disease the organization supports; one had been encouraged by her boss to volunteer there ... another had been encouraged by his minister. The stories were moving and impactful. And I might have missed it.


1. The warm fuzzy part of a meeting can sometimes be the most meaningful
2. If you hear "I want to give back" ... don't stop there ... the because part may be the most interesting
3. Employer support may be a big reason people are able to volunteer - or the reason they may even start volunteering. Do you support volunteerism in your own office?

1 comment:

Pamela Grow said...

And yet another example of your organization's "story."

I worked once w/ an educational organization that mentored middle school kids. Their story did not lie merely with the kid who came from poverty and became the first in their family to graduate from college. Their stories also came from the parents and the teachers and the college kids who gave up their summers to teach and the board members who found something that touched them and made them want to contribute above and beyond and, yes, even in the donors themselves.

There are so many and they go so far in creating the picture that you will share with the world! Thanks for a great post!