In January, Prevail’s Executive Director flagged an article in the Indianapolis Business Journal titled Let’s become better-quality volunteers, which highlighted the difference between short-term (or one-time) and long-term volunteers. The author pointed out that long-term volunteers—those that show up regularly and stick around for years-- end up having a far more meaningful experience than those that come in once to stuff envelopes or paint an office. I know that that is true here. Don’t get me wrong, we really appreciated the people who showed up to help move furniture after our office expansion and we could not have done it without them, but I cannot help but feel that they are missing out on a deeper, more moving experience. They were filled with the good feelings one gets from giving, imagine getting that feeling on a regular and on-going basis. Imagine becoming an integral part of the Prevail team on your own terms. Imagine making a difference not just by checking off the duties in your job description, but by deepening and expanding, or even redefining your job.
We have several long-termers, and I believe that they have fallen in love with us. Fallen in love with our clients and staff and mission, but more importantly, fallen in love with the way volunteering here for years and years on a regular basis makes them feel. They have become team members and they feel that. They know how important they are to us, and not just because of the Community Appreciation Breakfast, but because they understand that they are uniquely important to our work. They fill roles that they have molded into their own specialty. They play their part with the confidence of a professional. It is my goal as Prevail’s Volunteer Coordinator to nurture that experience for every person that comes here to donate their precious time to us. I want our volunteers to find meaning here. I want them to become educated. I want them to fall in love.