Mar 02, 2009

Volunteers Love Behind-the-Scenes Access

dog1.jpgConfession first: I based that headline on a sample of one. Namely me.

But I've noticed over the years that one of the secret pleasures of volunteering is feeling like I'm part of the "inner circle" of a cool group that's providing a great service.

Most recently, in volunteering to walk and socialize with dogs at the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society, I actually get to meet the adoptable dogs before members of the public do. Like the two here: The smiling Pomeranian is Popcorn, and the cone-wearing one, whose parentage I don't know, is Pippi. If I were looking for a dog right now, I'd be in a prime position to choose my new friend (not that it didn't take all my willpower not to tuck these two into my car and drive off... ).

Pippi.jpgI'm sure nonprofits can do more to capitalize on sentiments like mine, both to recruit and keep more volunteers, and to get donors interested as well. I've already heard of theater companies that give major donors a "backstage tour". What else can your group do?