It takes a community to accomplish successful downtown revitalization work. With the many events local Main Streets put on and the committees that put in the time to strategically implement the Main Street Approach™, Main Street can never have enough volunteers. The good thing is each Main Street district has a community full of people that are proud of their downtown, want to see it thrive, and be a place to spend time. Volunteer recruitment is easier said than done with many challenges arising including lack of time and interest of community members. Don’t be discouraged by the challenges as some may need only a little nudge or personal invite to participate and join Main Street as a volunteer. There are many ways for organizations to recruit volunteers from innovative campaigns to partnership or relationship requests to booths at events manned by current board and committee members to personal invites. If you are lucky you may even get that outgoing person who shows up at your office asking what they can do to help!
Warrensburg Main Street submitted two nominations for the “I Spy… Great Work” award that show, despite the challenge in recruiting volunteers, it is possible if you look around your community because you never know who will say yes unless you ask. In appreciation for their work, Warrensburg Main Street has nominated the Whiteman Air Force Base for “I Spy…Great Work”. This nomination enters the base into the running for Volunteer of the Year at the 2022 Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference in August. The nomination was submitted by Jill Purvis, Executive Director from Warrensburg Main Street:
“In 2019, Warrensburg Main Street began working towards a stronger relationship with our neighbors, Whiteman Air Force Base. There are approximately 3,800 active duty member and 5,000 family members that call Whiteman home. Located about 15 minutes from Warrensburg, this ever-changing group has historically been very challenging to engage. Through various connections within our organization and utilizing connections from community members, we have been able to increase our name recognition and support at Whiteman AFB. Since 2021, Whiteman Air Force Base has become a HUGE volunteer hub for Warrensburg Main Street! Our goal is to connect the community members on the base to our downtown for events, shopping, services, and volunteer opportunities. The Whiteman team has helped volunteer at Burg Fest, Piccadilly, Farm to Table, Downtown Clean-ups and our annual Dickens' Christmas event. Whether we ask for 4 volunteers or 30, they show up ready to help and get work done for our organization. They have become such an important group to our organization as a volunteer base with their willingness and the enthusiasm they bring when they come to volunteer. In 2021 alone, they contributed over 450 volunteer hours for Warrensburg Main Street. We have also been able to identify leaders on the base to join committees and our board that brings much need diversification to Warrensburg Main Street. We are excited to see how this relationship progresses in the future and are continuing to find ways to engage this important group of community members.”
Warrensburg Main Street also submitted a second nomination for “I Spy… Great Work.” This nomination nominates the youngest Main Street volunteer in Warrensburg and maybe even Missouri, Emerson Elkins:
“Emerson and the Elkins family are residents of downtown and live in a beautifully renovated loft. As Emerson frequently walks in downtown and often visits the Farmers' Market and Main Street events, he started to notice an increase in trash downtown especially during the winter months. We recently spied Emerson doing his part to keep downtown beautiful and vibrant by taking it upon himself to pick up trash on his frequent walks downtown. He can be seen on his gator driving around the streets of downtown picking up trash in the alleys, parking lots, and streets. Emerson is doing his part to keep his community and our downtown clean and tidy for all residents and visitors. The best part is Emerson is only 4 years old and the youngest Main Street volunteer!”
The Whiteman Air Force Base and Emerson are not the only volunteers with Warrensburg Main Street. They reported 2,671 hours of volunteer time in 2021 equating to $72,677.91, which is a huge community investment in downtown! The Independent Sector values volunteer time in Missouri at $27.21 an hour (as of April 2022).
Missouri Main Street Connection recognizes the time and sacrifices it takes to volunteer at a nonprofit. Along with our local Main Street programs, we thank everyone who has volunteered with Main Street. Nominations for this year’s “I Spy…Great Work” have concluded, but if you see individuals in your community that are completing great work by volunteering for Main Street, contact your local Main Street program and recommend they be highlighted in the future.
If you want to find resources on how to recruit, train, and recognize your volunteers, look through our resource library which is open to MMSC investors. Not an investor? Email Staci at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how.