Meals on Wheels is an organization that helps feed people, most commonly the elderly, who don’t have access to food otherwise. The people who receive the meals count on them everyday. Luckily, there are people who volunteer to help ensure they get fed, but not enough. Without volunteers some elders will be put on a waiting list and no longer receive meals, and very possibly the only food that will eat at all.
To help alleviate the problem of lack of volunteers we should use incentives to motivate people to volunteer. Another concern I have is funding, I believe bringing the community together to raise money will benefit the elders who rely on these meals and the people who prepare them.
My concern of not having enough volunteers comes from the fact of when I volunteered at my local Meals on Wheels I, more than half of the time, was the only volunteer there. Being the only volunteer is a problem because I had to do the work of a few people, which made it less enjoyable to go, even though I really enjoyed preparing, serving the food and meeting some very nice people while doing so.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, volunteer rates have been dropping since 2011, but people aged 35-44 still continue to volunteer the most. (Patterson, T.) It’s believed people aged 35-44 volunteer the most because they’re no longer worrying about their job as much, because they’re nearing retirement.
Unknown to many people volunteering has multiple benefits such as lower levels of stress, anxiety, and anger it helps fight depression, and increased self confidence among many other things(volunteering and its surprising benefits).
Incentives will entice people to volunteer. I will argue that the volunteer rates would skyrocket if they realized they could get something out of it because people value their time and if they get something out of it they’d realize it’s worth it. By incentives I don’t necessarily mean money, it could be something as simple as having “Volunteer of the Month” and putting their picture on display (Kani, Amber).
That would would make them feel appreciated. They could provide volunteers with other small awards to make them want to come back and grow it with as the volunteers grow (providing incentives for staff and volunteers).
Some might say that incentives are wrong to provide for volunteers that they should do this out of the kindness of their heart (Johnson), but so far this is not going well. Another thing is people value their time, they work go, to school, have a family to take care of or a million other things to do. Most of the time people aren’t worried about volunteer work, incentives will give them something valuable for their time that they value.
An incident that occured while I was volunteering at my local Meals on Wheels was the refrigerator broke and some food went bad. Inturn, money was lost and potential meals had to be thrown away. Therefore that led me to believe more funding can help ensure everyone eats. I call for fundraisers such as a cash/purse bashes, or to raise money.
In order to raise money I would suggest activities such as a cash bash on the weekends in the dining hall in the building of my local Meals on Wheels (fundraising events for your nonprofit). An example I found after expenses and everything they had to pay, they made $13,295 (Freedom cares.) This could be beneficial to the program and to the community. Another way to raise money is have a family bingo night, people can pay to play bingo and if you open the kitchen like they do during the day they could sell food and drinks and this would improve profits greatly.
Overall, incentives are the best way to get people to trade their valuable time to an organization as a volunteer and to benefit the the elderly and the community. And if my local Meals on Wheel would have simple cash bashes or bingo nights they could have large margins of profits that can be used for the organization.
- 70 Engaging (and Easy!) Fundraising Event Ideas For Your Nonprofit. (n.d.). RetrievedOctober 25, 2018, from https://www.mobilecause.com/fundraising-event-ideas/
- Kani, Amber. (n.d.). 20 Great Free (or almost free) Volunteer Incentives. Retrieved October 25, 2018, from http://www.amberkani.com/blog/20-great-free-or-almost-free-volunteer-incent
- Patterson, T. (2018, July 20). Stats reveal how many Americans volunteer. Retrieved October 25, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/19/us/volunteering-statistics-cfc/index.html
- Section 2. Providing Incentives for Staff and Volunteers. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2018, from https://ctb.ku.edu/en/table-of-contents/maintain/reward-accomplishments/staff-volunteer-incentives/main
- Freedom cares. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://freedomcares.org/cashbash.html
- Johnson, A., Gazette, K., & Kalamazoo Gazette. (2009, February 07). Should people be rewarded for volunteering? Retrieved from https://www.mlive.com/opinion/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2009/02/should_people_be_rewarded_for.html
- Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/volunteering-and-its-surprising-benefits.htm