I would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and New Year through this succinct but heartfelt personal and professional tribute to volunteers. A broad survey of the myriad contributions volunteers make internationally, and the economic, human, and operational benefits to organizations and to the non-profit sector, are beyond the scope of this year-end salute.
Volunteers range from the most courageous care-givers for cancer victims to young people tirelessly cleaning up streets to compassionate soup kitchen employees to business and legal leaders serving as trustees. In my view, there is no hierarchy. Each organisation, and indeed each volunteer, has unique needs in terms of volunteer service. Every volunteer strengthens every other – as well as every paid employee, the organization’s capacity to deliver on the mission to beneficiaries, and even the donors’ value for money donated. Volunteering can provide important work experience and compelling letters of recommendation, particularly in a challenging economic and employment environment. Volunteering can provide important human contact for beneficiaries of services or equally important behind the scenes grease for the complex non-profit wheels.
A future blog will address how to structure volunteer arrangements to maximise efficacy, ethics, and accountability. For now, all my very best wishes for a healthy, happy, creative, and productive 2012 with new adventures and accomplishments in volunteering. I salute all volunteers – their generosity, contributions, and positive impact on the non-profit sector and society more broadly. I extend a particular thanks to those who have helped me at Imaginer Consulting Limited. Here’s to increased appreciation for volunteers, the organisations that welcome them, and their positive impact on society.
Copyright 2012 Susan Liautaud. All rights reserved