Leveraging human resources for development

Most people view resources solely in terms of money. Money is the first thing that comes to mind when they hear about resource mobilization or fundraising initiatives. Consequently, many African organizations and projects have struggled with growing their resource bases, especially in Malawi. Why? The only resource they believe their organizations need to grow is money. Of course, I agree, every organization needs money. Money is needed to pay bills etc. Despite this, most organizations overlook the most important resource – human capital. These can be the organization’s staff members or even volunteers, I will put much focus on volunteers later in the article.

Every community has a special set of resources on which to base its future, and it is a well-known fact that most organizations function inside such communities. The initial step in resource mobilization is to recognize and compile the range of financial and non-financial resources of the people, and community (including NGOs, groups, and associations). The term “non-financial resources” refers to abilities, talents, and crafts, among other things. You may be able to work with local people for free or at a reduced cost to provide services rather than engaging an outside expert if you are aware of your community’s skills. You may localize your resource mobilization effort, motivate residents to invest in their own future, and promote a sense of hope and control by focusing on the community’s assets. Furthermore, this would promote ties between locals, groups, and institutions.

One of the ways to make the best use of the human resources available in a community is to leverage the presence of volunteers. Volunteers can be retirees, technical specialists, young people, and interns from schools. The world today has recognized that volunteerism is very powerful in various development efforts. That is why even big institutions like the United Nations have volunteer programs. Your organization can benefit greatly from the contributions of volunteers. Most of the time, volunteering is done out of a sense of altruism and without the expectation of payment. You must comprehend the goals and expectations of volunteers if you want to attract and retain them. People volunteer their time because they benefit in some way from the service they offer. Young professionals might acquire knowledge or experience to apply for upcoming possibilities, for instance. They may serve for a long time, such as on your board, or for a short time on a project or initiative. To make the most of this priceless human resource, you might want to consider managing volunteers strategically, regardless of who they are or what talents they contribute.

Before you start giving an excuse that you have no resources to hire people, think of recruiting volunteers. Start with volunteers from your community and your country. Get people who have passion, and they share your vision.

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