Guest Column: Volunteer and be kind to volunteers

By Paul Gorski

Volunteers are the backbone of many local community groups. Some groups are better than others in managing volunteers. Key to recruiting and retaining volunteers is to: 1) Encourage volunteers to contribute talents they already have, and 2) Avoid burnout, don’t ask your volunteers to commit so much time that it interferes with their normal lives.

Many residents already volunteer your services to a church, club or nonprofit, and I thank you for that. For those who have some extra time on their hands, but don’t volunteer yet, consider committing just one day of the year to volunteer for a local community group. Plenty of charities and nonprofits would appreciate that single day of your time.

One such group is Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful (KNIB) (www.kniborg), whose mission includes “educating, developing public awareness and providing service to the citizens of northern Illinois with regard to the abatement of litter, the preservation of our local resources and the management of solid waste.”

Most people know KNIB through its annual metals and clothing drives. A medication collection drive will be held this weekend, June 9, at Machesney Park Mall from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Many KNIB volunteer opportunities are available, and the folks at KNIB are respectful of your time. Some of their volunteers work just a few hours one or two days a year, and KNIB appreciates every hour volunteered. So, when you stop by the medication collection drive this weekend, please fill out a volunteer form. Or, simply keep reading this paper and follow-up on volunteer opportunities listed in the many press releases printed here.

The lesson here: please volunteer and treat your volunteers kindly.

Paul Gorski is a Cherry Valley Township resident and a former Winnebago County Board member.

From the June 6-12, 2012, issue

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