The decision to volunteer, like the decision to donate financially, is an emotional one

Last month I had the opportunity to open the mail and get a welcome surprise. It was a sizable gift from a thoughtful donor, a person I did not know. After further exploration, I found that this individual was not a member. She was, however, a local business owner.

I picked up the phone, called and thanked “Alice.” It’s amazing how many times I contact donors to say “thank you” and surprise them. I’ve been told many times that “no one’s ever called and thanked me before.”

How is it possible for a donor to know that their gift is appreciated and invested in a way that impacts not only the most people but affects people in a way that the donor appreciates? By having open, thoughtful dialogue, that appreciation hopefully leads to additional gifts of treasure, time and talent.

Alice and I visited for 10 minutes about why she chose to include BASC in her giving plan. We discussed a designated area where she’d like her gift to do the most good. Two days later, I welcomed her as a guest at the Center and gave her a tour. She had a lot of questions, and, before she left, she and her husband joined.

One of the topics we covered was how we are able to control our program costs. That opened the door to discussing that volunteers lead our activities and how my team finds private donors and sponsors to offset program costs. That results in a $0 budget line for most programs.

When I have a chance to talk about why the BASC is so unique, I never miss the opportunity to discuss what impact a $20, $50, $100, $250 or $500 gift can make. When I reach the $1,000 level, I transition into what a difference 1,000 volunteer hours makes.

A volunteer who gives more than 1,000 hours of personal time to a nonprofit is vital – and is why our program costs are as low as they are. All told, so far this year, volunteers have made a $175,000 impact through their collective gift of service.

The decision to volunteer, like the decision to donate financially, is an emotional one. Volunteers are motivated by different things. People generally get involved for one or more of the following reasons:

  • They want to contribute to a cause in which they believe.
  • They’re motivated by a desire for change.
  • They want to have fun and enjoy what they are doing.
  • They want to meet new people.

In 2020, you will see a public commitment to our members and to providing opportunities for volunteers to give of themselves. This initiative is being led by members of the Center, members of the board, as well as community partners. There will be a significant amount of change and a new, formal program that will provide opportunities for many new volunteers.

Our volunteers are proud of their own accomplishments and work hard to improve the experience of every member. Welcoming new members will be an extension of that commitment.

Before we get to next year, we will take the opportunity to thank and publicly recognize the efforts of our volunteers who go above and beyond. The Broken Arrow Senior Center’s board of directors will host a Volunteer Appreciation Ice Cream Social on Friday, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. in Heritage Hall. BASC board members want to personally thank the volunteers who help make BASC the best activity center in Oklahoma for older adults.

“Board members want to give back to the volunteers who serve as activity leaders and help according to board member Lisa Ford. “They are always serving others, and this will give the board an opportunity to show our thanks. Our volunteers are a treasured asset, real gems in delivering services to our members.”

Ice cream and all the toppings will be available, and we will recognize the Volunteer of the Year. In addition, door prizes are to be awarded during an interactive game. It will be a calorie-free (not really) fun time. Volunteers are a tremendous resource. We would not be able to offer programs or serve our members without their hard work and dedication.

They reduce costs through their work and provide essential services to our members because of their passion for the organization’s mission – to create a safe place for older adults to be physically active and socially engaged.

If you plan to attend the volunteer appreciation get-together, please sign up in the office.