Benefits of Having a Diverse Base of Volunteers

 

Any organization that has successfully developed a diverse base of volunteers and helpers can attest to the innumerable ways that such a base can help an organization. Some of the benefits are similar to the benefits of creating a diverse board of directors and staff. (Refer to Board of Directors and Personnel, for more on benefits.)

For example, if an organization has a small staff and a diverse client base, then volunteers can help bridge cultural gaps between clients and staff.

 

Furthermore, volunteers and helpers can bring cultural awareness and expertise that can help reach untapped communities.

For example, if an arts organization has been unsuccessful in attracting the attention of diverse communities, then volunteers may be able to provide valuable insight into the reasons that the organization is not successfully reaching communities of color.

In addition, when someone in a household volunteers, financial contributions from the household generally increase by more than 100 percent, so attracting new volunteers from any background can result in increased contributions for your organization. (Giving and Volunteering in the United States 2001, http://www.independentsector.org/)

Of course, most organizations want to diversify their volunteer base because this expands the number of volunteers they have involved in their work. In 2000, 84 million Americans engaged in some kind of volunteer work. The average volunteer gave 3.6 hours per week and the total value of contributions by volunteers was over $15 billion. (Ibid) By opening up possibilities to work with volunteers of color, you're sure to increase the total pool of available volunteers and helpers to accomplish your mission.

Complete Benefits of Having a Diverse Base of Volunteers and Helpers.

 

Overview: Volunteers

Motivations and Barriers to Volunteering/Helping

 

Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Base of Volunteers/Helpers

 

Managing Volunteers: Policies and Benefits