Guest post by Tim Frodsham
Engineers and other high-tech workers are not generally known for joining an organization or following a crowd. If something catches their eye and sparks an interest, however, they apply that same initiative and drive that drove them to the top of their profession, and can move mountains to accomplish a task.
Many nonprofits are missing the boat when it comes to attracting the talent of today’s high tech dynamos. They could be incredibly valuable skilled volunteers for your organization.
1) Pique Their Curiosity
The first step is to attract their interest. For example, look at the website of any nonprofit working on, say, water projects in third world countries. They are filled with human interest stories and pleas for help, appropriate and well done. However, none actually talk about the water projects themselves.
High-tech workers are problem solvers with initiative and drive, and by formulating media releases that describe these water projects and the problems involved, nonprofits will attract the interest of this talented sector.
2) Help Them Prepare
High-tech workers are typically retiring between the ages of 55 and 60, and have the resources to prepare for volunteer service. Rather than “come as you are”, nonprofits can engage these individuals in the months or years before they retire.
For example, reach out and recommend additional education or training that would help them as a volunteer for your organization in the future. Possibilities include courses in nonprofit management, health or public administration, or degrees in international development and social change. The additional education could also be as simple as taking courses on third world hygiene.
3) Go to Them
You can reach these individuals through engineering society journals such as the IEEE Spectrum, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and other professional organizations that reach a diverse talent pool of educated, self motivated individuals. The American Society of Civil Engineers, for example, represents more than 140,000 professionals.
If you can get these highly skilled people involved with your organization now, while they have the time and resources to prepare, you will benefit both now and later from a wave of appropriately trained volunteers ready and able to contribute to your cause.
Tim Frodsham has worked for over 30 years as an electronics circuit designer on the world’s leading edge microprocessors and teaches mathematics at a community college. He is also acquiring additional education in preparation for future volunteer service.