b'DAYTODAY VITAL VOLUNTEERSJosh WindhamThe Three (New) Rs Rethinking postpandemic volunteerismS o much has happened in 2020 to now: Wethis might be an opportunity for us to rethink have faced new challenges, less connection,how we orient and train volunteers to gain a and larger division, which research shows isdeeper understanding of homelessness, poverty, impacting how people are feeling. We need to focusand addiction.on addressing the impact that the COVID-19ReflectionMany organizations are ready to pandemic hasbust the doors open and welcome back a flood of had on ourvolunteers, but it would be wise to caution such communitiesa rush back to normal. The pandemic should and volunteers.force us to slow down and reflect on some of our As we welcomepast practices of volunteer engagement. As we back our volun- relook at our strategies, this might be a perfect teers, are ourtime to involve staff and board members in the organizationsvisioning process for volunteer engagement. It still the same could be reviewing our volunteer opportunities as they wereand determining if what we offer reflects the true pre-pandemic?needs of those we serve.Are the volun- RecognitionOne thing I have noticed with the teer roles that we offer going to change as we movevolunteers here at Union Gospel Mission Twin forward this year? What role do rescue missionsCities is that many of our long-time, consistent and like-minded organizations have in engagingvolunteersmost of whom are retired might our volunteers into these new realities? These ques- not be returning to serve as often or have stopped tions are important for us to consider as we thinkserving altogether. How do we recognize these about what volunteer engagement will look like involunteers, to release them honorably and in a the months and years ahead. respectful manner? No matter the reasons they There has been much emphasis on the threehave for discontinuing volunteer service, how we Josh is the volunteer servicesRs of volunteerism: recruitment, recognition, andappreciate volunteers as we begin to reopen might manager at Union Gospel Missionretention. Coming out of the pandemic, here arelook different in the months ahead.Twin Cities in Minnesota. He hasthree new Rs we can focus on: There are more ways that our organizations will been able to work in a variety ofReorientingAs we welcome new volunteers,need to adapt and change as we begin to reopen nonprofit settings, in volunteer management and communitywe need an updated orientation and retrainingand engage volunteers again, in addition to what is development. He is passionateplan to instruct and educate potential volunteerslisted above. My hope is that rescue missions and about bringing people in hisabout new opportunities, strategic initiatives, andlike-minded organizations will continue to live out community to a deeper understanding of issues like socialother important changes to how we engage volun- the calling of bringing light into the dark areas of justice, homelessness, andteers. Some of our organizations are reopening inour communities and inspiring our volunteers to poverty. You may email Joshphases or never had many restrictions; either way,live out their faith authentically. \x03at jwindham@ugmtc.org.50 WWW.CITYGATENETWORK.ORG JULY/AUGUST 2021'