If you and your organization want to take on the biggest challenges facing humanity you will need an amazing tribe of volunteers. The key word here is “AMAZING”.

The standard volunteer is insufficient. Mediocrity is lethal. More dangerous than the standard volunteer are the ones that either suck up your time and energy or those that show-up without generating any results; what I call vampires and zombies.

The great news is that amazing volunteers do exist. And their impact is extraordinary. You want them in your tribe. They are essential to scaling.  There are 7 distinct qualities of amazing volunteers. I have seen this first hand at Beacon of Hope Uganda, an organization I co-founded in 2006 and at Go Volunteer Africa, an organization connecting volunteers to local organizations in Africa.  Here are the 7 qualities of amazing volunteers


You want volunteers with a positive mindset. They want their causes to generate major positive impact. This means implementing great programs, meaningful fund raising and attracting more amazing volunteers. They are driven by the bottom line: results.


People bring their best to work, so they should bring their best to their volunteer effort. Mix that professionalism with passion and the result is impressive.


Most non-profits run on lean budgets. The upside of this is you need to throw open the doors of your organization. You need to invite in others. In fact, you need an entire eco-system of excellence to emerge. And the best volunteers understand this and work with the non-profit’s leadership to identify, cultivate and realize highly value added partnerships.


They stick to their commitments. They have a zero flake factor. If they say they will contribute something specific, they do their absolute best to make it happen. They are problem solvers and hack, tinker and persist till they find a way forward.


Amazing volunteers have no off switch. They always find a way to spread the word. It may be as simple as asking their friends to follow their organization on Twitter, Facebook or Linked-in. They may find ways to bring visibility to the story in corporate newsletters, local radio shows and newspapers. They create speaking opportunities to demonstrate thought leadership in classrooms. They strengthen the organization by enlisting their best and brightest friends, family and professional relationships. The purpose and passion for the mission integrates into their daily lives.


They are the original energy drink. You feel amped when collaborating with these folks. When the different volunteers get together it is magical. Friendships form, fun is present and it feels like family.


Amazing volunteers think less about what they can get from the experience of volunteering and more about what they can contribute. Sometimes there is a mismatch between what the volunteer wants to contribute and what the organization needs. The best for the organization is to suggest alternate organizations to the volunteer.

Volunteers bring a wide range of contributions to the table. It could be seasoned skills or raw energy. It could be fund raising power or field expertise. They could be one-off contributions or on-going commitments. Regardless of the particular contribution or the duration of that volunteer’s presence, if you want take on the super sized challenges, then put a sign on your door that says: AMAZING VOLUNTEERS WELCOMED. You will be glad you did and so will the cause you are championing.