I met Cheryl Howard, a fund developer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chicago, at a meeting this week. We started talking about what causes some volunteers to grow into leaders who help the organization grow by volunteering time, talent and dollars. We don't know of research showing what makes this happen. Yet we know from personal experience that some volunteers go from entry level tutors/mentors to becoming deeply involved in the leadership of an organization.
My own path started as a volunteer in 1973. Ray Dowdle, chairman of the Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection board, started as a volunteer in the mid 1980s. Tami Wielgus, a volunteer coordinator at Cabrini Connections started as a BBBS volunteer in Wisconsin almost 10 years ago. There are many stories like this.
What stories can you tell about this? What lessons have you learned? Is there research showing how volunteers in tutor/mentor programs are more systematically growing into leaders, and donors?
There are literally thousands of adults in businesses all over the country who have been volunteers, or have been students in these programs. If we can find ways to motivate them to provide the leaders, dollars and talent it takes to operate our programs, we can survive the economic turmoil and have a much greater impact on kids.