Strategic Volunteer Engagement: A Pathway to Mutual Benefits

Nonprofit organizations like Food on Foot are increasingly turning to strategic volunteer engagement to meet the growing demands for their services amidst tight funding and staffing. This approach aligns volunteer skills with nonprofit needs, enhancing both efficiency and impact. This article explores the benefits of strategic volunteerism, emphasizing its role in nonprofit resilience and growth, and illustrates its effectiveness through the exemplary practices at Food on Foot.

The Importance of Strategic Volunteerism in Nonprofits

Strategic volunteer engagement is vital for nonprofits facing increased service demands and funding gaps. By engaging professionals as nonprofit volunteers, organizations can:

Enhance Capacity: Strategic volunteer engagement benefits nonprofits by adding valuable skills to their workforce, allowing them to expand and improve services.

Boost Efficiency: Skills-based volunteer opportunities in nonprofits contribute to more effective operations, optimizing resource use and service delivery.

Increase Reach: Volunteer involvement in nonprofit services often extends the organization’s network, attracting more support and raising awareness.

For volunteers, this strategic approach offers significant personal and professional growth opportunities, enhancing community connections and personal fulfillment.

Food on Foot: Maximizing Impact Through Volunteers

Food on Foot uses strategic volunteer engagement to further its mission of helping people experiencing homelessness receive nutritious meals on Sundays and achieve self-sufficiency through its Jobs & Housing program.  Food on Foot’s strategic volunteerism includes:

Marketing and Social Media:

At Food on Foot, marketing volunteers create and manage social media content, a crucial strategy for engaging the community and enhancing the organization’s visibility.

Professional Workshops:

Food on Foot also excels in utilizing volunteers for their professional expertise in its Jobs & Housing program. The organization hosts a variety of workshops led by volunteers, including:

Resume Building: Helping participants craft standout resumes.

Budgeting: Teaching effective financial management strategies.

Job Search Strategies: Guiding participants through efficient job search techniques.

Interview Training: Preparing participants for job interviews with actionable advice and strategies.

Claire Strofield, a volunteer at Food on Foot, shared her enriching experience leading an interview preparation workshop:

“I ran a workshop on interview preparation skills. I covered how to sell yourself to the specific job, how to handle the question of salary, how to use your previous experience to give examples of why you’re the best candidate for the job, questions to ask that will enable you to excel once in the position, and a Jedi mind trick to help the hiring manager imagine you in the position. Leading the workshop was uplifting. I felt really good about myself. I felt more connected to my community and was on a high for the rest of the weekend. It felt really good to be sharing my knowledge with those in need.” – Claire Strofield


The strategic engagement of volunteers not only supports nonprofits in achieving their goals but also enriches the volunteers’ lives, fostering a synergistic relationship that propels charitable missions forward. By effectively integrating strategic volunteerism, organizations like Food on Foot demonstrate that when volunteerism aligns closely with a nonprofit’s goals, the impact can be extensive and transformative for both the community and the volunteers involved.

Interested in volunteering your expertise to help further Food on Foot’s mission? Please reach out to Director of Community Services, Randi Wyatt:

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