Capitalize on Summer Volunteerism

Capitalize on Summer Volunteerism

Ah, summer in the Upper Peninsula! It’s as fabulous as it is fleeting. For just a few short months we get to enjoy long days, warm weather and easier access to the natural wonders that make the U.P. such a special place.

With school out and a growing movement toward “voluntourism, nonprofit organizations often get an added benefit in summer—an influx of potential volunteers.

But if a nonprofit is caught unawares, this influx can feel about as helpful as a swarm of gnats.

The key to capitalizing on this phenomenon is preparation. With a little work up front, summer can be an excellent time to introduce more people to your organization, create good will toward your mission and get some of your projects done that have been sitting on the back burner.

Here are a few ways you can ensure you’re ready when someone calls this summer to enquire about volunteering:

  • Take an inventory of tasks you’ve been putting aside because there just hasn’t been time or extra hands to do them. Make a list. Are there walls that need to be painted? Cabinets that need to be organized? A media list that needs updating? Short-term projects such as these are ideal for summer volunteers.
  • Divide your list into projects that could be worked on by an individual or by a group.
  • At this point, it may not be necessary to write out complete position descriptions, but as you think of responsibilities, benefits, qualifications or restrictions of the job, jot them down. You will be ahead of the game when someone calls. If they sound interested, you can flesh out the details before they come in to meet you.
  • Be sure to have your ongoing volunteer position descriptions updated and available too. Not all summer volunteers will be back to help year-round, but some may. Have brochures or other informational handouts about your organization available too.

Enjoy the summer, everyone!

Linda Remsburg is an Associate with Great Lakes Center for Youth Development.


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