Help is such a beautiful thing.
When you are responsible for management of a volunteer based organization it makes you hyper-aware of how important the helping hands of a volunteer can be.
The Chamber takes pride in keeping our ways of operation business-like with sustainable practices. The Chamber Board makes their choices based on having the right resources to get the job done as efficiently as possible, or they seek out resources so we can accomplish our goals. Most of those resources like funding, equipment, staffing and tools you can easily acquire, train and put to work immediately with the expectation that they will do what they were hired to do. Volunteers are a different kind of resource.
Volunteers come and go and the expectations are typically defined first by where and how they want to contribute to the organization.
Most volunteers are more passionate about digging into a project if it is tied to something they already enjoy. Love classic cars? Try the AtlanticFest Car Show. Have a green thumb? Design and plant until your heart’s content. Own a fabric store? Maybe the quilt show is for you. These volunteers tend to give more hours, thought and energy to create some pretty extraordinary Chamber events and programs.
These people are dedicated.
Then, there are the volunteers who just pitch in because they see a need. We stuff lots and lots of envelopes at our office. We also organize many databases, deliver thousands of flyers and generally answer hundreds of phone calls. Those volunteers who have an hour here or there, or just want to pitch in on occasion have covered the office when needed, stickered many mailing labels to envelopes and some even driven across the region to deliver flyers for a special cause. They have a truck bed when you need to haul folding chairs, and they have golf carts when your feet are exhausted from trekking around an event venue.
These people are invaluable.
They are the face of our community. They are the ones working the pop stand at AtlanticFest and giving directions to the visitors that day. They are in the loop because they serve on volunteer committees and share the information far and wide. They are the many hands making it possible to recruit new businesses, invite vendors to our shows, set up and teardown events and reach into a larger network to communicate.
They are the fuel to our fire.
And, the opportunity is remembering that they are a volunteer. It’s so easy to forget that they are giving their time for FREE. Anything they can accomplish above and beyond what paid staff does is a reach into something we wouldn’t otherwise be able to get done. It is very important to be appreciative and not take their help or their time for granted. And, their involvement is what drives the direction of our community.
So, I challenge anyone who works with volunteers to remember just that. You are working with volunteers. They are generously giving their time to serve you and the organization you represent. They get paid in pats on the back and thank you notes which often go unseen by anyone but themselves.
We couldn’t do it without you.