Raising our community one story at a time.
July 19, 2016
As someone who’s worked in the nonprofit world for more than a decade, I have a deep dark confession: for many of those years, I didn’t volunteer. While I was dedicated to the missions of the organizations I worked at, I ‘gave’ my time at the office but not beyond it. I always knew the value of the donors who supported nonprofits, but for a long time I didn’t understand the huge part that volunteers play, whether they’re on the board, helping at an event, or providing day-to-day services.
Truth be told, when I was younger, I was scared of going places where I didn’t know people and doing something new. And even though I like to think I am reformed now, I still feel that nervousness creep in sometimes. I’ve been lucky that working in the nonprofit space has given me a lot of access to people and causes that I can latch onto. It’s usually the person-to-person connection that draws me in the most. But I know people who struggle to find that place or cause that sparks their volunteer interest, so it’s key to share with your family, your friends, your colleagues what it is that excites you and what inspires you to volunteer your time.
As a volunteer, I’ve played a lot of different roles over the years, some of them have felt like good, old fashioned manual labor. I’ve helped plan and execute events. I’ve asked for donations. And I’ve provided hours of brainpower. Each role I played fulfilled a need for the nonprofit and fulfilled a need for me. Volunteering also has allowed me to learn so much more about nonprofits than I ever would have without that insider experience. It helps me be more empathetic to the struggles and triumphs nonprofits have. And, allows me to be a better advocate for them with my friends and network.
The problems that nonprofits have to tackle are big and they need money to do it. But, they also need more capacity than their staff can provide. I want to set a good example for my daughter by teaching her that giving your time and talents to those who can use them for a larger goal is what we do. I want to know that I’m having an impact by making the community I love so much be better and stronger. Thankfully, I’m surrounded at Butler Nonprofit Consulting with other women leaders who love volunteering as much as I do.
Julie Remde, Associate