The Power of Volunteers

Lorraine Alcott, Volunteer ManagerMany non-profit agencies often state that they could not operate without volunteers. Well, at the Action Center that’s not just lip service—we truly could not open our doors without the help of volunteers every day. Did you know that we utilize the skills of between 60 -80 volunteers daily?  That means that volunteers out number staff 2 to 1 every day!

Did you also know that our volunteers participate in every part of the organization, from donations, to helping clients, to fundraising; they help us make it happen. We currently have about 20 different volunteer positions each day. These positions vary from phone receptionist to client advocate and everything in between. Some folks work directly with clients, others serve behind the scenes, but they all share a wonderful dedication to helping folks in need!

In Volunteer Programs we try to “match” our volunteer’s skills and desires to the right position.  This is our version of Match.com for volunteers!  Just like in the dating world, we sometimes find the perfect match right away, and sometimes our volunteers test out different positions until they find the one that that works best for them.  In some cases, volunteers have created their own position by seeing a new need and then filling it.

Here are some fun facts about some of our lesser well know volunteer positions.

E-Bay Volunteers – We have volunteers who take pictures and place items up for sale on e-bay.  Thanks to the generosity of the community we sometimes end up with unique items of value that our clients do not want or need—these can be sold to help the Action Center.

Team Leaders – These volunteers go through additional training and take on lead roles assisting our staff in managing volunteers during all our yearly special events as well as with packing and inventorying activities at the warehouse.

Telephone Receptionists – This hard working group of volunteers make sure that everyone who calls in for help can speak with a person, not a machine!  This is all part of our core values of providing respectful service to all our clients.

Tenant-Landlord Volunteers – A team of volunteers help callers to this hotline from all over the state navigate tenant-landlord issues, potentially keeping folks in their homes instead of becoming homeless.

Santa Shop Volunteers – Yes, even in April our Santa Shop volunteers are hard at work inventorying all the items that are donated!  Although we receive most of our toys in November and December, many donors give throughout the year.

Historians – Every week volunteers help us scan and archive all the newspaper clippings, newsletter articles and photos that have been taken of the Action Center since 1968.  This new electronic history chronicles the powerful engagement of thousands in our community dedicated to making a difference for their neighbors in need!

If you’ve thought about volunteering, I urge you to come take a tour and see what we’re all about. Perhaps we have a volunteer position just right for you! Contact Andrew for more info.

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