hands love color

In many ways, September is a season of sign ups. This month inundates us with opportunities to volunteer at school, with sports and with various activities that kick off in autumn. And while I’m a big believer in the power of the word “no,” this world isn’t going to run itself. Occasionally you need to say “yes” so stuff gets done!

If you find yourself in the position of needing volunteers, there are some great ways to keep this process organized, and make it a more rewarding experience for you and those who step up and agree to help. Keep yourself sane and your volunteers happy by following these simple steps:

  • Establish clear goals. Before bringing others on board, know what you want to accomplish and how you plan to get there. Write it down and share it widely.
  • Break goals down into small, manageable steps. This will help guide you when it comes to recruiting volunteers so you know what skill sets you’re looking for and how many volunteers will get the job done.
  • Organize your materials, tools and supplies in advance. Whether you’re organizing a car wash or a complex political campaign, know what resources you need to get the job done and have everything ready so your volunteers can get to work.
  • Respect the time of those who said “yes” to the cause! There’s nothing more frustrating than giving of your time and then feeling like it was wasted because the person in charge wasn’t ready. Arrive early, set up your space, and be ready to delegate from the get go.
  • Make marching orders clear and concise! It can help an event run smoothly if each volunteer has detailed instructions and knows exactly what is expected of them.
  • Smile and be grateful! Volunteering can be a lot of work, but it can also be a lot of fun! Jumping on board for a cause and doing it with someone who truly appreciates your time and shares their gratitude freely makes volunteering worthwhile. No one simply wants to add things to their do-do list. But if the task is rewarded with a smile, genuine thanks, a note of appreciation or even a luncheon, volunteers will want to come back.

There are plenty of great causes in this world. Run your events well and you can bring about some real change in this world. That’s what volunteering is all about!

Happy fall, y’all, and keep neat.