Engaging Volunteers

November 6, 2013
BY Allison Magat

110813_magat_allisonIn today’s busy, fast-paced world, in which our schedules are filled with obligations to both career and family, free time truly is a luxury. When members of our community make the choice to use their free time to give back to the community in which they live and work, they want to know that the experience will be both meaningful for them and beneficial to the well-being of Jewish Baltimore. The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore helps those volunteers find the right place to share their time and talent.

Realizing that their involvement is a gift and eager to remain respectful of our volunteers’ time, The Associated’s Center for Community Engagement and Leadership (CCEL) ensures that we are making the most effective matches between volunteers and organizations in The Associated’s system of local agencies. Baltimore stands out among federation cities across North America for the investment made in the training and stewardship of leaders in the community. The success of our volunteer training efforts is the reason we can sustain a strong centralized fundraising and planning system that meets critical current needs and plans for the future.

CCEL strives to strengthen and enrich the Baltimore Jewish community by engaging individuals in meaningful opportunities for volunteer involvement and advancement throughout The Associated system. CCEL accomplishes this mission by engaging, training, educating and placing volunteers.

As chair of CCEL, I am able to see firsthand how inspiring a volunteer experience can be if it is thoughtfully planned. Thanks to its centralized system, The Associated is able to offer a broad scope of areas in which one can volunteer. There is truly a place for everyone who wants to get involved. CCEL’s committee of lay and professional ambassadors help make those matches both meaningful and productive. We help our volunteers turn their passion into action.

When a volunteer comes to us seeking a place to get involved, we spend the time getting to know him or her and finding areas that are a good fit. We ask prospective volunteers what excites them about Jewish Baltimore or what issue keeps them up at night. These questions enable us to get to the core of their interests and help make the best matches for them. Only by really knowing our volunteers’ areas of interest can we properly steward them to the right opportunity.

While volunteers bring their own considerable skills to their involvement in the community, they also receive extensive training from The Associated. From formal training in governance procedures to the Jewish perspectives on leadership, Associated volunteers are given access to the tools they need to be successful in their volunteer roles. They are also able to take these newly learned skills with them to the other organizations with which they are involved. A well-trained cadre of volunteers serving our community elevates the work of every organization in Jewish Baltimore and ensures a strong, healthy community for years to come.

By listening to the desires of our volunteers and understanding the needs of our community, we are able to connect our volunteers to meaningful opportunities that enable them to effect real change in The Associated system and our community. This process is critical to both the current strength and future success of our community.

Allison Magat is chair of The Associated’s Center for Community Engagement and
Leadership. For information about getting involved with The Associated and its agencies, contact Mimi Rozmaryn at 410-369-9310 or mrozmaryn@associated.org.

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