Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who volunteers?

Who volunteers? This is a large question that you need to look at from a couple of different views, I'll try to not make this too long but its important.
First look at the profile of volunteers over all in your area. Try starting here. Do two things, look at the percentages by age groups and then look at your volunteers. Look at your advertising material. Do they match? Does the demographic match what you see? If so, you aren't done. If not you have some work to do.
You should look at the type of volunteers you want (age, skills, time to give) and go get them! In volunteer management we often recruit in the same old way; because its the way we do it.  Remember it's advertising; if you advertise and only show gray hairs (like me) that is what you will attract. Advertise and use photos of a mix of age, race and sex.  That is what you want to attract.

Now don't send me hate mail saying I am advocating for not attracting baby boomers and older, that's not the point. The point is many people equate volunteer with older Americans! Yes the retiree has more time to volunteer, and they have a great amount of experience. But who will they pass the knowledge to?
And if you are looking for sand baggers for flood season, AARP may not be the group you want to focus on.

So what does your city profile look like?

Disaster Dave


Michelle said...

Hi, Dave.

I am currently managing a grant to recruit volunteer firefighters for the State of Washington. It is an incredible challenge and much more difficult than I would have ever imagined. There are far fewer people that are motivated to make this huge commitment than there once was, and so we have to try to appeal to different motivations, teach departments to be more inclusive of new profiles. And by the way, I'm an AARP member and I am totally capable of sandbagging. :-) I think the baby boomers are going to prove to be an incredible resource. Maybe they won't rush into a burning building,but they have an abundance of skills, commitment and for many - the time. I enjoy your blog already! Michelle Harden

disasterdave said...

Michelle great comments, I am glad you mentioned helping the FD be more inclusive, because that is a big part of finding & keeping the volunteer, welcoming and making them feel part of the solution.
I'll put you on my sandbag roster
By the way, it’s amazing we have moved into the same space after working together @ Interact

disaster dave