Do You Have Triple Crown Award-Winning Volunteers?
I have worked with hundreds of volunteers in my career. I love volunteers because they freely enter the world of a charity with the intent of helping an organization grow and serve its constituents.
That said, I am continually disappointed that many volunteers just don't get it. Many individuals never make financial donations to the charity they serve. I'm not talking about a $1,000 or more gift. I'm talking about a gift of any amount. Other volunteers may make personal financial gifts but never open a door for others to engage or learn more about the organization. When you have a special event, do you have people sign up but never show?
Many say they are too busy; some fear that if they engage someone to help your charity, others will want them to help their charities in return. For other non-staff members, another calendar year may roll by without attending a single charity-sponsored event. How can a volunteer gain understanding and a passion for the mission of a charity when he never sees people helped by the charity? In addition, if a volunteer doesn't attend an event, how can she invite others to join the party?
In Major League Baseball, a player earns the Triple Crown Award when he leads a league in three specific statistical categories during one specific season. When used without a modifier, the Triple Crown generally refers to a batter who leads either the National or American League in batting average, home runs and runs batted in over a full regular season. The Triple Crown has been accomplished 17 times, most recently in 2012 by Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. Prior to 2012, Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox did it in 1967. The Triple Crown is not easy to achieve, but it represents achievement in three areas at the same time.
How does this relate to volunteerism?
I contend that charities should motivate their volunteers to strive for their own individual Triple Crown Award each fiscal year, which represents a new season. Instead of baseball terms, the charities should seek each individual engagement in the areas of time, talent and treasure.
- Time: Spend the time to open a door or doors for others to engage in your charity that leads to either a financial gift or some other type of service.
- Talent: Recruit at least one or more new volunteers annually to serve on a board, committee, program, etc. Also personally participate in annual activities where volunteer service is needed.
- Treasure: Make a personal financial gift to the best of your ability, either for one year or a multiyear pledge.
Each season should begin with the beginning of a fiscal year. Create a Triple Crown Award, and seek potential members from your board first, volunteer groups second and the general public third. Create a new Triple Crown recognition plaque at the charity, and provide this award annually at a proper recognition event, hosted by charity leadership.
My organization began its fiscal year on Oct. 1, and I have two people who have already made gifts and volunteered at a major organizational event for a day! All they have to do now is open a door for new prospects, which they plan to do — and they are Triple Crown Award Winners!
All of us talk about time, talent and treasure, but how many of us have seen all aspects in action by one person? Ask yourself if you have a Triple Crown Award Winner Volunteer or potential winners. If you do, good for you. If you don't, what are you waiting for as your season has already begun?!?
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.