As the service year draws to a close (just over 4 weeks to go, eek!), many VMCs are beginning to look for post-service jobs, if they have not already started applying and interviewing. With all of the activities VMCs do to insure the sustainability of the volunteer programs they’ve nurtured over the last 10 months, it can be pretty stressful to try to fit in a job search at the same time. So, if you’re a nonprofit reading the VM Blog and you have a few openings, first of all, send them our way (I’m looking for a job too!), and second of all, keep reading for a little list of reasons why you should hire a VM AmeriCorps alumnus!
1) They are well trained! Volunteer Maryland provides around 100 hours of training to our AmeriCorps members on topics ranging from the basics of volunteer management, to conflict resolution, to storytelling for nonprofits, to time management, and the list goes on. Not only that, they also have a toolbook that contains all the secrets to volunteer management that they get to take with them after the service year ends. That thing is a brick and contains a ton of information that they can share with you and your staff to help the whole organization better understand volunteer management.
2) They are committed. There is no better way to judge a person’s commitment than to offer them a difficult, full-time, 11 month job, for an AmeriCorps living stipend of $13,000 (after taxes, it’s more like $10,000). When you work that down to the hourly rate, it’s really not much money and for the challenges some of our members face, it shows how dedicated to the cause they are that they are willing to do the work for so little (after all, the goal of AmeriCorps is not to get rich, but to serve others).
3) They are creative problem solvers. VMCs either work with existing volunteer programs to make them more successful or work on creating brand new volunteer programs for organizations that have never worked with volunteers before. Either way, they generally face challenges in doing this and need to rely on their own creativity to solve the problem at hand.
4) They are fun to work with. When you work in a nonprofit, you deal with some pretty serious issues, but knowing how to have fun at work can make facing those issues a whole lot easier. Well, VMCs are a fun group of people—they like karaoke, gardening, going to the beach, bowling, etc.—and they could definitely help lighten the atmosphere at your organization.
5) They are part of a great network of AmeriCorps alumni that your organization can tap into. Since 1992, Volunteer Maryland has had over 500 AmeriCorps members serve at nonprofits across the state. Not only that, but thousands of people have served in AmeriCorps since its inception, every single one of them knows how much passion and determination it takes to serve in AmeriCorps, many still work in the nonprofit sector, and they are willing to help their fellow alumni succeed in life after AmeriCorps. So, if you need some connections in the nonprofit world, hiring an AmeriCorps alumnus (specifically, a VM alumnus) can really help you tap into that network.
So, if your organization is hiring and you are stuck on where to look for good candidates, I suggest you look to current Volunteer Maryland AmeriCorps members and alumni, you won’t go wrong. Has your organization hired AmeriCorps alums in the past? What was your experience like? Are you an AmeriCorps alumnus? Do you have any suggestions or connections you’d be willing to offer our current class of VMCs as they begin the next leg of their journeys?