I just learned yesterday that it’s National Volunteer Appreciation Week. There is a week for everything, I know, especially in the cancer realm. But this one doesn’t discriminate — it’s a week for all causes, everywhere, and it’s detrimental to every non-profit organization’s existence.
I’ll be frank here. Working with volunteers is one of the most challenging aspects of my job. It’s also one of the most rewarding. When I experience working with an outstanding volunteer, I do everything I can to encourage them, empower them and never let them go. I pay my volunteers at Athletes 4 Cancer with 2 forms of payment:
- Athletes 4 Cancer tee shirts and water bottles — all of which my great volunteers have too many.
- Praise & Appreciation — Free, and I can never give enough.
With that said, and in celebration of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, I’m sharing my top 5 traits for what makes outstanding volunteers so outstanding.
- Passionate enthusiasm – They love the cause, the people, the program, the event. They champion the cause in and out of the office, at events and amongst friends. Then, they harness all that love into doing great work.
- Professional – Serving as a volunteer doesn’t equate to slacking. The best volunteers treat their role with pride and professionalism, recognizing the organization is a business and depends on them to help achieve impact.
- Make no excuses – They are committed and dependable. Timeliness and follow-through are top priorities to them. When they say they’re going to do something, they do it.
- Selfless in their contribution – Outstanding volunteers think less about what they can get from the experience of volunteering and more about what they can contribute. This is a big one!
- Mission-driven – Outstanding volunteers understand our mission and the impact we aim to achieve in the world, and are dedicated to being a part of making that happen.
If you want to be an outstanding volunteer, note these five above, then talk to these outstanding Athletes 4 Cancer volunteers below about the work they do. I can’t say enough about these amazing individuals in the time and passion they have given to the work we do. There are many many more I would like to add to this list but it would take me all day. And to all the volunteers who give of themselves, THANK YOU! Social innovation, solutions and systemic change would not happen without you.
Mark Whitehead, Garret Zallen, Jenny Williams, Jon Williams, Kip Wylie, Machelle Dotson, Nikki Hollatz, Jon Price, Terese Roeseler, Richard Hallman, Jen Casto, Sarah Bahn, Rayna Morton, Brian Wolff, Chris Aguilar, Nina Garkavi, Tamar Melen, Brianne Sabin, and many many more.