As a nonprofit leader, you likely know many people who are passionate about your mission. You hopefully also know that passionate people are more likely to share their time and talent (not to mention their treasure) with your organization.

How can you best tap into that passion so that these individuals can be involved in ways that are truly helpful in addressing organizational needs? Start by generating a list of organizational needs.

What skills or talents would benefit you and your department in achieving your highest priorities? If that question is difficult, then try this “$10,000 Question”:

Imagine that an anonymous donor just contributed $10,000 to your department for the sole purpose of hiring a part time contractor for one project or activity over the next 12 months. Whom would you hire?

Amazingly, that question really gets the ideas flowing! And, what’s more amazing is that 95% of the time, there are passionate, skilled volunteers in your world who have the skills and interest to take on one of those tasks. Furthermore, they won’t require the $10,000 – though they will require an investment of time and support in developing and nurturing a successful staff-volunteer partnership.

Here are a few roles that volunteer partners can fulfill:

  • Consultant: Provide professional skills and/or content expertise
  • Coach/Mentor: Share wisdom, advice, and support in a specialty area
  • Trainer: Impart knowledge and understand adult learning
  • Evaluator: Assess results and impact for the purpose of quality improvement
  • Project Manager: Facilitate a process from beginning to end
  • Team Leader: Volunteers leading volunteers and creating team culture

What type of partner could help you achieve your goals, build your capacity so your job is easier, and make a difference for your organization and community? Reimagine what partnership can look like… and the possibilities are endless