The Value of Volunteers

By Doug Eadie

Giving back to the community through volunteering is one of our proudest American traditions. For more than a century, nonprofit organizations of all shapes and sizes in this country have put volunteers to work in important ways.

The scope of possibilities ranges from hands-on doing, as when docents conduct tours for museum-goers, to leading, as when volunteers serve as governing and advisory board members. Unfortunately, our public school districts around the country generally have been less aggressive in tapping the rich vein of volunteer talent existing in every community.

School board members can make productive use of volunteers in carrying out the district’s governing mission. I strongly recommend that every school board, preferably through an external or community relations committee, take a systematic approach to involving volunteers in district affairs in appropriate ways.

Volunteers have a lot to offer in terms of knowledge and expertise, and they easily can be transformed into highly effective advocates and cheerleaders for your district when they have a positive volunteer experience.

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