Last year, Volunteers of America launched a new marketing campaign aimed at raising awareness for our work and the people we serve. The concept for the advertising was simple … basic portrait photos of our clients accompanied by a brief personal letter expressing thanks for the help they received to overcome a particular problem in their lives. The end result proved to be unexpectedly powerful by simply allowing the faces of the people in our programs to tell the story of our work.
When we talk about the 2.5 million people served by Volunteers of America each year, or other comprehensive data points, what gets lost in those big numbers is that each of those people is an individual with his or her own unique experiences and life challenges. It’s important sometimes to stop and focus on the face of each individual rather than the big picture. Our organization is a patchwork of many different clients, each with different challenges to overcome but all searching for a path to the same destination – a stronger, happier, healthier life. It’s important that our programs reflect that diversity and we avoid a one size fits all approach to service.
This focus on the individual extends to the people who work for us, as well. The quality of service provided by Volunteers of America is only as good as the quality of our 16,000 employees. Each of us brings a different set of skills and gifts that we share with our clients. In some cases, our clients ultimately become our employees and use their personal experiences to help others struggling with the same problems they themselves have overcome. Witnessing that full-circle transformation, from someone in need to someone who gives of themselves to help others, is especially inspiring.
- By Mike King, National President and CEO, Volunteers of America