Increasing Capacity for Skills-Based Volunteers

Displaced workers, retirees and the currently unemployed are responding to the President’s call to service in large numbers. As Julie Bosman of the New York Times mentioned in her article* “From Ranks of Jobless, a Flood of Volunteers,” “Many who run nonprofits have marveled at the sudden flood of bankers, advertising copywriters, marketing managers, accountants and other professionals eager to lend their formidable but dormant skills.”
 
However, are non-profit organizations ready for all of these skills-based volunteers? Bosman is not sure.
 
“But others grumbled that the current love affair with volunteerism, encouraged by President Obama’s nationwide call to public service, can be a mixed blessing. Smaller organizations, with staffs of fewer than 20 and no full-time volunteer coordinator, have struggled to absorb the influx, especially since many of them have simultaneously had to cut back on projects in the face of dwindling donations and government grants,” she wrote.
 
Unfortunately, non-profit organizations are balancing fewer resources and increased demands. This situation has left them struggling to find the time necessary to adapt to this new type of volunteerism.
 
In order to aid theses organizations in their efforts to engage the skills-based volunteers effectively, HandsOn Network has worked with a team to create a Skills-Based Volunteering Readiness Assessment. This assessment will help organizations assess their current capacity to activate skills-based volunteers and identify ways to improve their capacity.
 
This unique tool is now available online. In order to access it:
 
2. Create a free account if you do not have one with the CNCS resource center 3. Type “Non-profit Readiness Toolkit for Pro-bono Volunteering” into the search engine.
 
HandsOn Network is ready to help you if you have questions accessing the assessment or determining ways to leverage skills-based volunteers. Please contact Veronica Parages for more information: vparages@handsonnetwork.org.
 
* New York Times, March 16, 2009.