When a Nonprofit Lacks Volunteers

A nonprofit I’ve been working with had their board members resign for personal reasons. They were past their terms and had not found any volunteers to take over.

There are still nonprofit members, just no board members. This is a problem with nonprofits that are volunteer based—it is hard to find people to be on the board because it is time consuming and can be stressful. Board members must be motivated and the work satisfying to justify spending time volunteering. This nonprofit has not found those people.

The board resignations happened while several grants were still active with unspent money. When situations like this happen, the foundations still involved should be told.

But in a good way. I am encouraging the project members to contact these foundations to alert them of the situation and, hopefully, that the project will continue. I am sure foundation members have come across this situation before. However, this does not help with the lack of board members for this one.

Foundations like to see someone leading the nonprofit. Until volunteers are found, no more grants should be submitted. This doesn’t mean the end of the project, but at least a pause in operations. The remaining money can be used to get the project to a decision point for later.

Although I like to have hope, I’m not sure if volunteers will be found. I have been president of a writers’ nonprofit group for well past my term. I can find no volunteers to help. I am debating shutting down the nonprofit.

Is volunteerism dead? I hope not. Volunteering has been a wonderful experience for me. I enjoy helping people. However, lately I feel I’m in the minority. Meanwhile, if a foundation loses its volunteers, it should not ask for money.

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