Today is International Day of Peace. A big, inspiring name for a 24 hour period. The United Nations General Assembly declared September 21 each year as a day “devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.”
What does that mean? What concrete things can we do to strengthen the ideals of peace?
This year in particular, the UN has provided a focus for today on sustainable development. Most conflicts, the group reasons, are rooted in issues with natural resource management. So to achieve lasting peace, we must work for sustainable development.
As coordinators and managers of volunteers, you can play a special role in this process. After all, it will most likely be nonprofits and volunteers working on the ground who will effect the changes necessary to achieve sustainable peace.
So here are some suggestions for encouraging peace as a volunteer manager:
Regardless of the geographic area in which you work, it’s important to recruit a diverse group of volunteers. In terms of race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion and socio-economic status, your volunteer program and your organization will be enriched by having all different sorts of people working to fulfill your mission. Your organization can be the common ground that brings everyone together.
Volunteering can be an intense experience, and sometimes you’ll need to mediate conflict among your volunteers. Teach them to accept each other and everyone’s differing views. Make sure everyone truly listens to each other, learns from each other, and cycles that tolerance back into the work your organization is doing.
Empower Your Volunteers
Your volunteers have a lot of passion for your cause – otherwise they’d be doing something else with their time. Empower them to spread the message of your organization to others in their lives, to teach their friends and family the value of volunteering. Volunteers can be incredible evangelists for your nonprofit, and the more people they reach, the more people will be working to improve the world.
Many nonprofits are using VolunteerMatch to work for lasting peace. Check out these search results, and add your organization’s volunteer listings for free. Working together with volunteers, let’s make every day a day of peace.