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April is National Volunteer Month

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Volunteers are important to non-profit organizations all year long however April has been designated “National Volunteer Month.”  This is a time to pay tribute to volunteers and focus on the many ways that they help make our communities a better place to live.  On behalf of non-profit organizations throughout Weld County and the State of Colorado, thank you to all volunteers for what you do.  We appreciate you.

Just as there are so many different organizations that do different things in our community there are also a lot of different flavors of volunteers.  For example, most non-profit organizations are governed by a Board of Directors that is made up solely of volunteers.  These leadership volunteers work to ensure that the organization has sound policies, the resources that it needs to accomplish its work, and that the mission is kept at the forefront.  Having the right Board Members can make the difference between success and failure of a non-profit organization and they play a critical role.

Additionally, many organizations will have various volunteers who serve on committees.  Committee volunteers may help plan or execute functions such as fund raising, events, marketing, program development, financial oversight, long-range planning, or a multitude of other options.  Committee volunteers may be board members but that is not necessary for most committees.

Also, many organizations utilize volunteers heavily in fund raising.  For example, the American Cancer Society will be holding their Relay for Life here in Weld County in just a couple of months.  Volunteers agree to recruit sponsors who will donate money in exchange for the volunteer participating in the walk to help find and fund cures for cancer.  Other organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the March of Dimes also rely heavily on volunteer fund raisers.

Lastly there are organizations who count on volunteers to do physical labor.  Weld Food Bank will use volunteers to sort and process donated food.  Habitat for Humanity will have volunteers building houses to help alleviate homelessness.  The American Red Cross uses thousands of volunteers each year in order to respond to disasters throughout our county and nationwide.  Organizations such as these will provide training to their volunteers and count on them for more than 50% of their labor force in many cases.  Volunteers are considered “mission-critical.”

As you can see, volunteers play a significant part in the work of non-profit organizations, and there are many different ways to serve.  I encourage you to contact your local non-profit this month and arrange to donate some of your time.  Research joining a board or a committee.  Take on a fund raising campaign.  Pick up a hammer or help sort some food.  Not only can it change the lives of people in our community but it can change your life as well.

Kevin L. Mullin, CFRE, is director of development with Weld Food Bank in Greeley.  He can be reached via 970-356-2199 x304 or Kevin@weldfoodbank.org

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