Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{November 18, 2009}   Making the Volunteer Connection

One of the most rewarding parts of Library Volunteer Management is developing relationships with the volunteers and making that connection. Taking the time to get to know the volunteers can only increase a positive experience, increase productivity, tap into great ideas and establish a connection to the community the library serves. Remember, Library Volunteer Management is a collaboration of Human Resources, Social Services, Management, Public Relations and Marketing. Getting to know the volunteers on a personal level also allows the Volunteer Manager to match volunteers to tasks according to interest and strengths.  I had an older gentleman who was staying with his daughter and her family for a few months, he was looking for an opportunity that was short-term to get him out of the house for a bit. He came in my office and over a cup of coffee I had found out he had recently sold 3 golf courses. He wasn’t interested in putting away books, working with our genealogy department, or in our youth services area or literacy. He liked business, he liked managing, he LOVED golf.

I poured him a second cup of coffee and he talked more about golf, the celebrities he had worked and golf with all intermingled with golf jokes and stories. Listening and smiling, I thought of all the work I had to do, then I realized, I was doing work! I asked him if he ever had any golf fund-raising experience! DID HE EVER!

Over the course of the few months he was in town, he put together a great portfolio on how to plan a golf fund-raising event that we turned over to our foundation office. I’m so glad he came to the library to seek opportunities to fill his time, I’m so glad he came into my office to chat so I can find out about his background and his interest but most of all..I’m so glad for that second cup of coffee! Taking the time to listen, did not handicap me one bit! No MULLIGANS here!


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