For National Volunteer Month, we’re talking about how volunteers are impacting the lives of StreetWise mentees and job seekers.
by Dave Font, Senior Program Director, New York
April 26th, 2023
Volunteerism in the U.S. is a powerful force for social impact. According to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 23% of people ages 16 and over (60.7 million people) formally volunteered through an organization between 2020 and 2021. They contributed 4.1 billion hours of service and an estimated economic value of $122.9 billion. Further, 51% of that same age group (124.7 million people) reported informally helping others during that same period.
Given these significant numbers, it may seem that recruiting volunteers is an easy lift and the more volunteers, the better. While attracting large numbers of volunteers may appear beneficial on the surface, savvy nonprofits looking for long-term impact and growth know that quality transcends quantity.
It is true that the more mentors we recruit, the more mentees we can serve. However, more important than quantity is finding volunteers who will have a measurable and lasting impact on the mentees in our program.
How do we determine those volunteers? First and foremost, we look for someone who is connected to our mission: to support mentees in getting equitable access to employment. During our volunteer application process, we conduct an in-depth interview with incoming mentors to match them with a mentee. This process includes ensuring that our volunteers are dedicated to empowering our mentees to take leadership over their own development and success. We want to make sure that our mentees are not paired with a casual professional development advisor but with a mentor invested in the relationship long-term.
We also consider a potential mentor’s industry experience and knowledge, their ability to effectively communicate that experience and knowledge to meet mentees where they are, as well as genuine enthusiasm to help mentees and job seekers attain success in their job search. Across the board, we look for diverse experience and multi-generational representation in our volunteer pool.
We consider ourselves very fortunate at StreetWise Partners: based on the strength of our program, we find ourselves regularly benefiting from the right quantity of highly-qualified volunteers. Our volunteers are the most dedicated and focused I have seen in more than 20 years of nonprofit work. We achieve this through consistently seeking a diverse group of volunteers who bring the breadth of experience, commitment, and connection to our mission to best serve our mentees and job seekers.
Thank you to every current and past volunteer for the incredible work you do as a catalyst for change.
StreetWise Partners currently has a variety of volunteer opportunities available in New York and Washington D.C., including our Mentorship program, Mock Interview Day, and Speed Networking. We’d love to have you work with our next generation of job seekers! This is your time to help close the opportunity gap. Sign up to learn more today.