As National Volunteer Week draws to a close, I hope you feel valued and appreciated by your community and those who benefit from your gifts of time and energy. If you are part of Kin, not only do you volunteer for your club’s specific events and causes, but you might also have involvement in helping grow membership and recruiting extra volunteers. Volunteer Centres are a pillar in any community and are there to serve volunteers, non-profits, and as a result, the community’s needs. Connecting with your local volunteer centre has many benefits - some obvious, and some less known.
Here is an obvious but often under-utilized benefit. Most volunteer centres have public volunteer postings online that allow interested volunteers to search by type of cause, availability, skills required and more. To use this tool properly, ensure you give enough information for your post to come up in the appropriate search. Make your posting sound enthusiastic and welcoming to garner more interest.
Signing up as a member usually also gives you an opportunity to have your information posted on the volunteer centre’s social media, community newsletters and other outlets for special events or positions.
Networking and Collaboration
Never underestimate the importance of building relationships with staff and volunteers at the volunteer centre. When I worked as a volunteer coordinator for a food bank, I had a great relationship with the local centre. This made it possible to call in a crisis and ask for a special posting. If you have a rapport with someone there, they will be more likely to fit your information in at the last minute in a community newsletter, e-blast, local paper listing, etc.
On top of that, staff and volunteers will have a great knowledge of the local services and events, as well as resources/recruitment platforms available. Checking in with your volunteer centre can help your club keep a finger on the pulse of your community.
For what is usually a low yearly fee (around the $100 mark), the value your group can get from networking opportunities and collaboration is endless. You will often see postings for guest speakers, brainstorming meetings, workshops and other gatherings. A community hub with hundreds of like-minded people connecting. What more could you ask for as a volunteer organization?
Maybe a lesser-known benefit, volunteer centres often rent out meeting space and equipment at a much more reasonable price than other businesses, especially if you are a member. You can rent rooms, presentation equipment, and often resources and books on subjects ranging from volunteer management and fundraising, to running an effective meeting and other professional development topics.
There are so many benefits, tangible and intangible, to joining forces with your community volunteer centre. As an individual, it is a great way to stay informed. As a club, by joining as a member, you may have access to tools you were not aware of. Every centre is different; get to know your local centre and start reaping the benefits of community connectedness.