Library Diva's Guide to Volunteering…

{November 30, 2009}   The Volunteer Mission Statement

I’ve been writing about the feel good stuff, but I need to throw in the “business” part of the job every once in a while. Yes. Volunteers are great. Yes. Volunteers and managing them is about building and maintaining relationships. But how do volunteers fit into the mission of your organization?

First, you need to look at your Mission Statement for your organization~ read it, relate to it, understand it and apply it. Once that’s accomplished, look at how you want to mesh your volunteer program in with the mission statement. You can have a sub volunteer mission statement that attaches on to your organization’s mission statement.

Our Library’s Mission Statement is very broad, as it should be. It encompasses the sharing and retrieval of all information and resources. Instead of creating an official ‘sub mission statement’, I preferred the creation of a culture. The creativity and energy of our volunteer program comes from me. Things in the library world change rapidly. It needs to. Technology, information and resources change. Interests, science and the biological world changes. Libraries need to keep up with it all. And the volunteers and management of volunteers must be ready to change too.

Basically, find the purpose of why you need and/or want volunteers and work off of that keeping the overall organization’s Mission Statement in mind.

Audrey Hepburn had a great saying. “The helping hand may be at the end of your own arm. But you were given two, one to help others and one to help yourself.” How awesome is that?

When starting a volunteer program at your library, just ask why…? It’s not difficult like the meaning of life, just know the purpose and build from there. And remember, it’s not all on you. Include your administration and staff. Everyone should be working toward the same mission, it’s easier than you think.


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