by Neel Hajra, President & CEO
We live in strange times. Unemployment is rampant, which is supposed to cause a surge of volunteers. The President himself has issued a strong call to service. Yet conflicting signals make it unclear if volunteerism (and civic engagement) are thriving or on the decline.
Let’s set aside this ambiguity aside for a moment and focus on a truth we can all agree upon: the nonprofit sector is struggling more than ever. Demand is up, resources are down. We could all use more resources, right? Resources come in many forms and flavors, but human resources are an asset that will never go out of style.
That’s why I was intrigued by Civic Enterprises’ striking report about the lack of civic engagement by military veterans, and their clear desire for more. What I like about this report is that frames the returning veterans as a vast untapped resource for civil society. These are heroes with amazing experience, and people who are MUCH more inclined to volunteer than the average U.S. citizen. Looking for volunteers with discipline, leadership experience, strategic and logistical perspective, passion for civic service and a strong work ethic? Look no further.
I view this report as a clear call to action – according to the report, nearly 70% (!) of veterans received no proactive outreach by community groups. Apparently, this call to action is already being answered: Mobilize.Org just announced an effort to bring attention to the challenges faced by millenial veterans. I’m going to work with my staff to explore how our board matching services can reach out to veterans groups to engage them at the leadership level.
Nonprofits need more resources. Returning veterans are a vast untapped resource. Hmmm, sounds like a promising combination…