To grow and adapt in today’s continuously changing society, a nonprofit organization must recognize the value and contribution of both its paid staff and volunteers. Simply recruiting large numbers of volunteers, however, does not necessarily translate into success for the nonprofit sector or the community at large. Successful results are achieved when an organization is able to support, mobilize, and manage its volunteer resources for the greatest possible impact on a problem or need.
In a competitive environment where resources are often scarce, nonprofit executives and boards of directors have become more strategic about how they leverage the various resources at their disposal:money, space, inkind donations, equipment, technology, and employees. Unfortunately, however, one of the most powerful and plentiful resources of all — volunteers — continues to receive short shrift from nonprofit leadership. This paper is intended to educate nonprofit executives about volunteering as a key human resource strategy, illustrate that volunteering is not just nice but necessary, and demonstrate the value volunteers bring to an organization that strategically plans for how to use them both to support infrastructure and to deliver programs and services.