President's Corner: Volunteering Improves Nonprofits' Bottom Line

by Paul Janssen and Kris Janssen

I am a bean counter by trade, and because I have those three little letters after my name, (CPA), I am always looking out for how to best use funds and land “in the black”. Listen, I am all about the bottom line. Besides donating money, which, of course, is really important, the next best thing you can do for a local nonprofit is to volunteer your time. Why?

1. It feels good. You may think I am not a “warm fuzzies” type of guy. However, when I hear about kids not having enough food to eat, I am there to pack Buddy Backpack meal kits or to distribute free Meet Up and Chow Down summer lunches.

2. You can involve your family and friends. Sometimes at UWNEMN we use the word “voluntold”! If I am “voluntold” to help out as a Board member, I love to involve my wife, Kris. I like to call her the “Queen” of whatever activity we are doing. People like me – only because they like her. She makes sure I have my ducks in a row and am “voluntolding” right. We just signed up to volunteer at UWNEMN’s table at Kids Day at the St. Louis County Fair together and I guarantee she will be everyone’s best friend by the time we’re done.
3. I encourage volunteerism at our company, Minnesota Twist Drill, and let our employees leave work to volunteer with UWNEMN and other organizations. Turns out, when I support them in supporting our communities, they like me better as a boss!
4. Last, but not least, by volunteering your time, you add value to the nonprofit which translates to dollars saved. If you volunteer and do a job that the nonprofit staff simply doesn’t have the time to do, you saved them staff time and staff salaries, so that they can focus on providing and delivering their needed services.

As Board president of UWNEMN, I want to thank the 44 volunteers who participated in our first annual Week of Action. They volunteered at the UWNEMN, as well as at many of our local agencies. This summer so far, 95 volunteers have been involved with serving Meet Up and Chow Down meals at nine different sites. Amazing. During the previous school year, 1,000 volunteer spots were filled to pack Buddy Backpack meal kits. Volunteers delivered 100 holiday meal baskets to local Iron Range veterans in need.

There is simply no way that UWNEMN could provide staff to ensure all of this gets done. Volunteers make it happen. They feed kids. They paint walls. They hand out books. They deliver groceries to homebound seniors. They pack meal kits. All in all, volunteering equals a big win for all involved.