As we traveled through Maui, Sacremento, Seattle and Victoria airports at Christmas, I thought how fortunate we are. With a ton of amazing family, work, volunteer and personal success in 2016, I was awakened by a single parent taking two small children on standby and a disabled veteran with his army dog going through TSA. Both amazing people helped by dozens of overworked airline, TSA, transportation and hotel workers. The hard work needed to help people doesn’t start or end at the holidays, but it is a good time to make Charitable donations and volunteering the top of my New Years resolutions.
On the charitable front, I reflected on the amazing work volunteers are doing at two organizations, I worked closely with in 2017. One public safety volunteer Vice President Role and a Member Recruitment role, of which the VP role I decided to resign from with mixed emotions.
After three great years volunteering on Marine Public Safety, we moved from financial and governance shambles to a financially stable and well organized transparent Charity. Key to this was leadership by Presidents, Members and Board Executives who ensured an increase in communication, developed multiple revenue streams, moved to cloud-based platforms for accounting, document sharing, donations and partnering with the right external business and community partners.
2016 was also interesting given the focus on Presidential Family Foundations “Charities,” as I realized that our Non-Profits and community Charities must pay special attention to legal status. A huge thank you to the Chairs, Secretaries, and Finance Chairs of our organization for keeping us from bending charity rules and keeping us in good standing.
After our success fundraising and developing our governance, a move to increase volunteer recruitment was a natural fit for me as a recruiter. Unfortunately reflecting on efforts made and personal values, I realized I was no longer a fit. This was a difficult decision, but I have been having excellent success on recruitment a non-profit and sometimes it is best to focus if I have learned anything from 2016!
On the recruitment front with a different non-profit, I have learned four great lessons that can be transferred from Charities to any organization. Track progress, make the process repeatable, create a hiring demand and be generous to prospective members.
We developed a volunteer recruitment process that we tracked using a Google Sheet, similar to an Applicant Tracking System/CRM. We hosted education lunches to present our organization and allow us to preliminary screen volunteers. Before each luncheon, we had applicants complete long applications and we then committed to buying them a great lunch. This showed both of our levels of commitment but having a group invited, showed the demand to become a member. The steps to move to become a member continued after the luncheon and only those truly interested, committed and with the time to give made it through. The final lesson was making this repeatable and only take on new members 3-4 times a year!
Steering back to Charitable donations. One trigger was seeing an amazing Army Service dog helping a veteran through the airport. I have a special spot in my heart for what dogs can do to help us heal. Two amazing charities are Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs supporting Veterans, where I am from and our company supports, and http://www.guidedog.org/
which has a Veteran’s K-9 Corps program. We also support a local women’s victim support service, a Food Bank and Cancer Research but will have more to do and give in 2017.
Thank you to all the amazing Volunteers I was able to work with throughout 2016!