Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Create New Community Partnerships With A Volunteer Fair

Later this spring our library will be hosting its first ever Volunteer Fair.  We are so excited for this event as it brings value to the community and lays the foundation for new partnerships with many local organizations.

volunteerWe considered a volunteer fair for our community for several reasons.  First, our library is fortunate to be located in a village that is dedicated to civic service and philanthropy.  This event is also a great way for us to target and engage two elusive age groups for us– tweens and teens.  Finally, a volunteer fair supports one of our library’s missions: “to act as a responsive resource for lifelong learning.”  We hope a successful fair will further strengthen the library’s position as a vital center of the community and create lasting partnerships with local organizations.

Finding and securing participants in the fair has been a great education in the breadth of service opportunities available.  If you’re interested in holding a Volunteer Fair, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Begin with existing partnerships.  Does the library partner with any other local organizations for programming or outreach efforts?  Does your Friends group use volunteers?  Does your library display flyers or brochures from organizations that could use volunteers?
  • Collaborate with colleagues.  Are any coworkers actively volunteering?  Or do they have a connection to an organization in need?
  • Look at which other organizations are present at community events. Farmer’s Markets and festivals are a great way to make contact and learn about other local organizations.
  • Research national organizations that may have a local chapter nearby in need of volunteers.  These can include: American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Alzheimer’s Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and many others.
  • Perform an online search to see what opportunities are available in your area and contact those organizations directly about your event.  Websites like volunteermatch.org and createthegood.org are a good place to start.  Also your community’s website may list opportunities.

Enlisting participants may seem like a daunting task, but the mutual benefits of a volunteer fair encourage involvement and support.  The organization is able to recruit volunteers and increase public awareness of their mission while the library is able to connect its patrons with meaningful service opportunities.

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Today’s post was written by Sophie Kenney. Sophie is a Children’s Librarian at the Glencoe Public Library and is currently serving on the ALSC Liaison to National Organizations committee.

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