by Katie Grills, Community Relations VISTA

Don’t you just love Google Doodles? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this one from Valentine’s Day. While charming and a great way to celebrate Love on Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t help but look at this cute, creative device as a metaphor for recruiting volunteers.

In the world of non-profit organizations, recruiting volunteers is much like finding and wooing your perfect sweetheart. Plan one might seem absolutely brilliant. Surely it will bring in droves of committed, talented volunteers who are in love with the work you do. That witty posting that you put on every volunteer posting site imaginable will break servers because the whole city will flock to it at once! The emails you have sent out to prospective volunteers will be responded, and your inbox will overwhelm you! And don’t even think about being able to answer all of those phone calls.

Alas, this usually isn’t true. You have to move on to plan two, sometimes plan three, and, more frequently than not, there are many more plans after that are more creative than the last. Sometimes that involved standing outside on one of Austin’s only cold winter mornings, hustling Dum Dum suckers and pamphlets to whatever which students might take the bait. I’m so happy that so many of you are eager to eat suckers and listen to me talk, too!

This is why I love what I do. Recruiting volunteers is one of the best challenges that I could imagine taking to task. I have been so lucky in the past six months to work with so many interesting, talented, exceptionally unique people. Every time I find a volunteer, I feel like the little boy in the video once he finally makes it to skipping rope.

The challenge is always worth it, and I’m eager to have more volunteers in my life.

We still need volunteers for the Zilker Park Kite Festival, and especially people willing to puppeteer during the first and last shifts (11am-1pm and 3-5pm). Please email me at to set up your time to volunteer.