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Drop-in Volunteers and the Benefits of Flexibility

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We’ve worked diligently to raise the standards of volunteer management. But we shouldn’t lose sight of some of the things that make volunteering different from paid employment, and help capture the volunteer spirit. In the past decade or so, we’ve tackled two types of volunteering that differ significantly from the regularly scheduled volunteer, namely, the “spontaneous” volunteer and those who volunteer single “days of service.” In this Points of View, we want to examine yet another effective and wonderful volunteering variation:  the “drop-in” volunteer.  We review why drop-in programs work best if they minimize the time between when volunteers show up and when they actually begin work. And we review how agencies can provide such spontaneous opportunities while keeping the agency and its clients safe.