Volunteers or Partners. Who are you recruiting?

I need more volunteers.  Sound familiar?

This word gives me the cold sweats at night because that is exactly what you do not need…more volunteers.

Any organization filled with volunteers will take more effort and energy, will keep quality people away, and will never make the impact you hope for.  Volunteers drain life out of organizations by the very essence of who they are..volunteers.

Now maybe that is too harsh because you volunteer somewhere.  Keep reading…

The Comparison:

Volunteers say-

  • I’m giving my two hours…you should be happy with that.
  • I’m sorry I won’t be able to make it tonight…said no volunteer ever.  Instead, you just won’t see them with an apology later (maybe).
  • Things to do…let someone else have the joy of doing them…they probably will do the bare minimum.

Partners say-

  • what is there that can still be done?
  • Who is that person I haven’t met yet…I should go help them feel included.
  • Wow…I think you could have done this better…because I believe that it would be better for the growth and transformation of everyone in our community.

The reality. We have a lot of volunteers. And we may not even know it. Change your culture and start setting the bar higher.  Invite people to something bigger than themselves rather than simply calling them to do stuff.  When you ask people for a favor all you get are volunteers….when you call people to a vision you will get partners for the journey.

Have you ever recruited people for a non paid role?  How have you identified partners in your organization?


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