Not every organization is starting from scratch when building a robust volunteer program, but almost every organization can benefit from engaging high-level volunteers. Experienced talent can lend their expertise to specialized projects or even free up additional staff time. Neighbors Who Care (NWC) is one such example of an organization that decided to create more opportunities to incorporate skilled talent in their organization.
NWC is a local nonprofit assisting the homebound, disabled, and/or frail elderly in Sun Lakes and south Chandler, AZ, to “…live at home for as long as feasible with pride, dignity, and independence.” While direct service volunteers have been a core component of NWC for more than two decades, they partnered with Experience Matters to reach beyond their traditional volunteer population. Since they had already established volunteer newsletters, volunteer manuals, and procedures, they were ready for the next step—identifying high-level projects that would benefit the organization, which they never had time for previously.
Experience Matters Engagement Academy (formerly ACTIVE 8) helped transition the organization’s culture from one of using volunteers only in direct service roles to a highly-skilled, project-oriented team. Now current volunteers could step up into leadership roles and help NWC achieve program changes and financial benefits.
As NWC Volunteer Services Coordinator Carol Bowers put it, “our volunteer program is more organized since engaging with Experience Matters. They are a valuable resource to help us better fulfill our mission.”