Normally when I am working at a United Way fundraising event, I only have a few minutes to chat with the awesome volunteers. This week, I was running down my street and recognized a past volunteer. I was happy to stop and catch my breath for a few minutes and learn that James (hi James!) is also one of my neighbors. We talked about the strangeness in our world right now, and how volunteerism has been affected a bit. Then, I learned more about James and his high tech skills and his business (I had no idea). We talked a little bit about how his skills could be used in a volunteer role. My brain has been working on this idea ever since.
Volunteers can be amazing supports for nonprofits. The value of a volunteer hour of work in 2020 was estimated at $27.20. In a typical year, our United Way benefits from approximately 275 volunteers. On average, each volunteer donates approximately 6 hours of their time to help us, equating to $44,880 in total value. Thank you!!!
2020 was a tough year for volunteering. Many nonprofits were very sad that they had to close their doors to volunteers to maintain safety. I received disappointed calls from volunteers too. Be on the lookout for a return of volunteerism in 2021!
If you have ever been a volunteer for a nonprofit, sports team, church, etc., you probably know that some of the experiences can be better than others. Although sometimes it is nice to take on a task you might not normally do (e.g. stuffing envelopes), I think some of the most amazing volunteer experiences happen when a volunteer shares his or her particular talent with a nonprofit. If someone can build a shed, rewrite an employee manual, or provide IT support, these skills can help a nonprofit build capacity at a lower cost. The tricky part is matching these skills with the nonprofits that need them.
Think about your strengths and how they might benefit a local group. If you email me with ideas about special skills you would like to share, I will gather these ideas and share them with our local United Way partners (firstname.lastname@example.org). As they start to plan for how they can best use volunteers this year, maybe we can find just the right fit for you! Also, you can always check our volunteer opportunities at connectSWCO.org – we expect these will grow as our world starts to open up again. Thanks for volunteering and Living United!
President & CEO
United Way of Southwest Colorado