Little affirms human dignity more than honest work. One of the surest ways to destroy self-worth is subsidizing the idleness of able-bodied people. Work is a gift, a calling, a human responsibility. And the creation of productive, meaningful employment fulfills one for the Creator’s highest designs. Because of that, it should be a central goal to our service.
Robert Lupton, Toxic Charity
One thing that changed drastically when I stopped leading A Day of Hope and turned over the reigns to the new team of leaders was that they changed “who” the volunteers were.
In my five years of leading A Day of Hope the primary volunteers I recruited were teenagers who had required community service hours, college students, and adults with kids. Those were the three groups I often sought out as potential volunteers to support our work in the community.
However, when Enclave Community Church began to lead A Day of Hope they enlisted the help of clients to serve as volunteers. This was a group of people which I never thought to or attempted to recruit as volunteers.
For several years Enclave had been running their weekly food program mostly through the work of volunteers, and most of those volunteers were clients in their program. The same people who were receiving a grocery bag of food every week were the same people who were going to the food bank to get the food, organizing it, preparing it to be given away, and then doing the cleanup work after the distribution of food.
Doing ministry with volunteers who are also the clients of the program looks different, but it can be done. In today’s post I show you how the clients of your nonprofit/church program can serve as volunteers.
Opportunities to volunteer must be expanded to all segments of the community—it is consistent with the concept of equal opportunity. Instead of being the privilege of the already privileged, volunteering must become the right of everyone: minorities, youth, seniors, the handicapped, blue-collar workers, business people, the disadvantaged. Remember—those who understand the culture and lifestyles of those you are trying to recruit make the best recruiters.
Marlene Wilson, The Effective Management of Volunteer Programs, p. 118
Photo Credit: US Department of Agriculture