Since inception in 1999, Words Alive has relied on the leadership, creativity, and dedication of volunteers to deliver and grow our programming. Our volunteer team makes us unique and effective - enabling us to reach over 5,500 students and families each month with contributed hours that more than double the impact of our staff alone. As our organization grows to meet increasing needs in the community, so does our volunteer team. The means to that growth? Personal invitation.
Our volunteers are some of the most capable and accomplished teachers, librarians, school administrators, lawyers, corporate professionals, and students in the community. Their networks are also flush with talented and compassionate people, just waiting for an introduction to the right organization so that they can find a meaningful and impactful connection to giving. Tobi Johnson, President of VolunteerPro and seasoned volunteer manager, writes in her 2017 Volunteer Management Progress Report that 85% of people do not volunteer until asked. We encourage our volunteers to ask. Volunteers are the leading champions of an organization. They are able to talk to your mission and provide heartfelt stories of their experiences with your served populations. New supporters they bring in to your organization will be just as powerful.
Asking, or referring, friends and network contacts to volunteer within our organization has proven to be the most effective means of volunteer growth for Words Alive. Last year we piloted a volunteer recruitment campaign that incentivized referrals to our program, highlighting the power of personal invitation. We successfully onboarded over 20 referred volunteers within three short months, and referrals continue to come in. In totality, our team of over 550 volunteers has a sourcing rate of 52% by referral.
We have just kicked off the second year of the "Bring a Friend" referral-based recruitment campaign. The campaign runs May through September, and incentivizes volunteer referrals and awareness around the power of personal invitation to stimulate the growth we need to staff our upcoming fall semester with qualified and dedicated volunteers. Any Words Alive volunteer who brings a friend to a session, to an event, or to an orientation is entered into a drawing to receive a prize at the culmination of the campaign. All volunteers will receive thanks and recognition for participating.
With just a little over a month left in the school year, now is the time to bring your friends along to your own session or to one of their interest! Contact Christina Meeker, Volunteer Program Manager, to set up a visit! We also have new volunteer orientations scheduled monthly which provide an overview of the organization and the ways one can get involved.
Join the campaign now through September, and bring your friend to meet our organization!