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Banking on Volunteer Talents

Banking on Volunteer Talents

When Elizabeth Ellis was Volunteer Development Manager for the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, she managed, promoted and expanded their “Talent Match” database. This database listed the specific skills, preferred service locations, age group preferences and availability of individuals specifically recruited for this database. Both staff and adult volunteer Girl Scout leaders utilized this resource through a password-protected search to match their unique needs to volunteer interests and availability.

In this feature story, Ellis reviews the multiple benefits of creating a similar "talent" database for organizations, and explores the potential of “banking on volunteer talents” and time. She also reviews the multiple benefits of developing a similar "skills bank," and shares a model for how to make it work. Says Ellis, “Being on the front lines of volunteer recruitment, I had the opportunity to experience the growing interest of potential volunteers using this model, as well as experience first-hand the impact of this end user-friendly matching technique."

To read the full article

Mon, 08/16/2010

Submitted on September 24, 2008 by Anne Schink, Maine
This is an important continuation of the person-centered approach to engaging volunteers that have been successful in other arenas. And volunteers have come to expect it. Especially those Boomers we are all talking about. They expect their expertise to be used and they aren't willing to try to fit themselves into the job descriptions that previously would have been sufficient invitation.

Submitted on September 3, 2008 by the author:
Imagine a national or global network "bank" allowing potential volunteers to search the skills sought in a state or country as they traveled on business or family vacation. Skills based volunteer opportunities could simply be included in an itinerary!

Submitted on August 29, 2008 by Betty Stallings, California:
Excellent article, Elizabeth.

When I directed a Volunteer Center over 20 years ago, a volunteer helped us create a talent bank in the community.  She called it, "Borrow An Expert." It was so successful that over 2000 folks signed up and were available to schools, Girl and Boy Scout leaders, etc.  Eventually the program was so successful that the school districts in our area paid the volunteer center for the service that was available to teachers to augment their curriculum.

You have done a great job of describing how any organization can develop such a bank of volunteers.

Congratulations on your innovation and leadership in the field and thank you for your willingness to share it.