Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Tips that may help to attract volunteers

link Robert Arrowsmith


On Tuesday, I shared some thoughts about why our country has a lack of volunteers.

Here are ideas for solving some of those problems right here in eastern New Mexico:

• A central portal, database or website for regional volunteerism: This has come up in several discussions. Instead of the every-man-for-himself approach that comes with staffing and volunteerism, have one website or database where both those that want to volunteer and those that need volunteers can match up. Have a volunteer application available for the volunteer and a registration and screening process for those that need volunteers.

• Organizations and companies need to evaluate their volunteer needs: Are volunteers being used for what should most likely be paid jobs? If volunteers have been scheduled for lengthy shifts, is there a way to shorten the shifts?

• When you do get a volunteer, do not give them more responsibility than what they volunteered for: This is probably the most important. If someone wants to volunteer for one day per week, do not push them into helping five days per week. A volunteer is more than likely to not say no because they want to help. Instead they will most likely just walk away completely.

I shared this information in a column I wrote for my former newspaper, the Sidney Herald in Montana.

When I wrote it, I missed one additional factor that has since come to mind when coming across organizations recently.

Is the organization’s leadership willing to get their hands dirty, so to speak, when it comes to their own needs?

It is one thing to ask for volunteers, but it is something else when the organization is doing everything it can from the top down, and still could use support for its project or cause.

If the top leadership is not willing to put time in to volunteer efforts on a project, it would seem like getting volunteers would be virtually impossible.

I know in my experience as a manager, if I am not willing to do the job myself, how can I convince anyone else to do it?

And so, as I look to play a role in the community in the coming years, I will be looking at these types of factors that will play into my decision making as to how I can help.

I do want to be involved, I do not want credit for being involved, but do want to play a part in what happens here.

Volunteerism plays an important role in any community. It takes a special person to want to commit their time and energy to an organization or event.

As an organization, let’s make sure we recognize this for all volunteers, and do what we can to truly appreciate their time and effort.

But remember one thing: Volunteers are here to support your cause and efforts. They are not volunteering to do the job for you. They are volunteering to assist you in getting your project complete, not to be free help because you do not want to do it. And I do believe some organizations tend to forget that.

Robert Arrowsmith is publisher of Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]

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