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Organizational Development and The Vital Role of Volunteers

Road to success
Organizational development

Across the world, leaders recognize the significance to volunteers in their organizational and institutional development. Not only do volunteers support the development of the mission, but they also ensure impact remains sustainable and reaches the individuals or communities in need. From faith-based organizations to corporations, reaching out to volunteers to support organizational development has been a critical part of growth.


Rebecca Sharp wrote in the Stanford Innovation Social Review:


In the nonprofit sector, wise investments in people operations can propel organizational success—especially during exponential growth. As the number of wealthy philanthropists has increased, so have forms of collaborative philanthropy and individual donors providing “airdrops” of unrestricted funding for promising programs. The scale of these funds often numbers in the tens or hundreds of millions. And while unrestricted financial support can increase the impact potential of small nonprofits, this fast path to growth presents major challenges to talent management.


Here are the top five reasons why organizations should invest in volunteer recruitment and establish a volunteer management system to support their programs and services.

1. Cost Effectiveness is increased with use of volunteers

In the United States, the hourly in-kind donation value a volunteer is providing to an organization is worth over $30 USD per hour.  Dr. Tamara Gray, an American scholar and Executive Director of Rabata, often says volunteers provide their time, treasure, and talent without cost. They bring a wide range of individual skills, experience, and knowledge that can enhance the quality and effectiveness of an organization’s mission. Volunteers who are involved in managing and supporting programs allow organizations to save on costs and put forth more of their budget toward their missions and programs.

2. Community Credibility is improved with volunteers

Volunteers can be critical in establishing an organization’s credibility and reputation. A strong volunteer base demonstrates how community members are invested in a particular mission or program that supports a greater purpose. Volunteers and their network within different communities ensure a deeper connection between the organization and different constituents. This connection to potential stakeholders often leads to increased awareness, additional support, and long-term success

3. Developing Future Leaders is a part of organizational development

Organizations that want to make a tangible difference understand the significance of succession planning and leadership development. Engaging volunteers provides opportunities for leadership development and skills training. This system helps to ensure knowledge and skills are continuously being carried forward instead of being kept in an intellectual bubble and restricting advancement and growth. Developing volunteers as leaders in an internal method which creates a pipeline of future leaders who benefit from professional mentorship and individual tutelage.

4. Supporting Sustainability Efforts

Development relies on collaborative efforts to ensure sustainability. Fundraising and sustainability is a pivotal space for volunteers as they play a vital role in connecting with other organizations and even organizing events. Their personal and professional connections can significantly enhance fundraising and sustainability success. Volunteers can increase an organization’s capacity for programs to impact beneficiaries and also bridge the gap between donors, philanthropists, and supporting corporations. With multi-talented volunteers, organizations can begin to think of ways to secure their sustainability through diverse streams of revenue and obtain more financial health.

5. Mental Well-Being 

Modern society has become aware of the significant role of mental health. As medical experts, spiritual leaders, and lifestyle gurus increase awareness of ways to bring feelings of peace and stability into people’s lives, a common thread mentioned is being of service and giving back. Volunteering provides individuals with a purpose which brings increased happiness, higher confidence, and stress reduction. All of these and more are reasons why it is imperative for organizations to enlist volunteers. According to Nami, an institution can be impacted positively in addition to individuals in the community which creates positive social change and healthier societies.


In conclusion, volunteers are invested in the organizations they want to give their efforts for and their trust has a palpable positive effect. Not only are the families and friends of volunteers exposed to a particular mission, but their professional and academic networks also gain insight on a cause that is credible, important, and verified through a trusted colleague. Utilizing social media platforms and professional networking tools such as LinkedIn should also be encouraged. Volunteering is beneficial to individuals across different stages of life and enhances their resumes, builds their skills, and keeps the connections going.


As often noted by the Pan African Leadership Institute, your network is your net worth!


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