Welcome to Charity Navigator's Blog!

The team from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest independent charity evaluator and leading donor advocate, shares their thoughts on emerging nonprofit-sector issues and offers tips to better inform your intelligent giving decisions.

Return to Main Site   |   Find a Charity   |   Receive Email Updates   |   Support Charity Navigator


Monday, April 19, 2021

Midwest Food Bank: Putting people first, and leading with their volunteers

Many great nonprofits are built on incredible volunteer programs. Not only do volunteers deliver operational efficiencies (free labor!) but they are also the best donors (per Fidelity Charitable, volunteers donate 10x more over their lifetimes and over 60% of donors volunteered last year).

Great volunteer programs share a number of attributes, including…

  • Engaging a cross-section of the local community (ages, court-ordered volunteers, organized groups, companies and more)
  • High number of return volunteers
  • Hiring policies that consider current volunteers

But more than that, great volunteer programs have great volunteer managers and great volunteers. Today, we at Golden, introduce you to two.


Volunteer Spotlight – Nancy Stone

Nancy is a Midwest Food Bank (MFB) volunteer, providing over $32 million in food monthly to 2,000+ nonprofits across the US. They also provide disaster relief and have regular operations in East Africa and Haiti.

And none of this would be possible without their 17,930 volunteers.

How did you first learn about MFB?

“Midwest Food Bank has been a presence in our community for years. I volunteered for a number of projects in the past, and then, two years ago, MFB needed a data entry role filled. As I had recently retired after a 37-year career, this was the perfect opportunity to make a difference.”


What about MFB keeps you coming back regularly?

“The staff and volunteers at Midwest Food Bank are a caring, nurturing family. Volunteers are welcomed warmly, be it their 1st or 100th visit. Project teams work together to accomplish a goal and celebrate each milestone along the way. Making a difference in another person’s life and KNOWING it is a powerful motivator.”

Why should someone consider volunteering at Midwest Food Bank?

“Your work will have an impact on a VERY large number of people. It’s one of a few food banks that does not charge destination pantries for the products they distribute, and Midwest Food Bank’s focus on local and international communities stretches your impact exponentially.”


What would you tell the world about Shelby Moore?

Shelby is the first person that volunteers meet – she sets the tone for the culture and environment. Her smile and welcome are honest and heartfelt. Shelby is always willing to help volunteers with whatever they need to make their experience both positive and rewarding. 


Volunteer Manager Spotlight - Shelby Moore

Shelby Moore of Midwest Food Bank’s Bloomington/Normal location is an incredible volunteer manager who combines a warm heart and operational excellence. Her focus on people and relationships is a driving force in her success.


What prepared you for your current role?

“I’ve been blessed by my relational leadership experiences with Josiah Venture and the Eastview Christian Church Residency Program. That training taught me to prioritize the person, not the process. That has really helped me here at Midwest Food Bank.”


Many court-ordered volunteers work with you well after they fulfill their requirements. What’s your secret?

“There’s no secret. We just do our best to make them feel welcome and build a connection. They are more than their mistake, and we want them to know that. 

“But truthfully, when they connect with other volunteers who love what we do, there’s a relationship from a bond of mutual servitude. It doesn’t matter why one person came in – they are serving together to help those in need.”


What keeps your “core” volunteers coming back every week?

“Plain and simple – they are passionate about the Midwest Food Bank mission and have found a place in our family serving alongside us.”

What’s a tactic that not enough volunteer managers employ?

“The beautiful thing is that building relationships with volunteers is literally in my job description. I get to know who our volunteers truly are. It’s not a trick or tactic, but if you take the extra time to understand and know your volunteers, wonderful things happen.” 


Is there one thing that consistently puts a smile on your face?

“Pets! Anytime I hear about, see pictures of, or meet one of our volunteers’ pets. They know that I love this, so I get to see a lot of sweet puppy pictures.”


Both Nancy and Shelby exemplify the power of community that builds incredible volunteer programs and experiences. We, at Golden, hope you can find the same!


Written by Steve Sherrill, Chief Operating Officer at Golden, the world's most award-winning volunteer management software, and most popular volunteering app. http://goldenvolunteer.com 

Golden is appreciative of Midwest Food Bank’s (MFB) participation in this post. MFB is a participant on Golden’s platform and a volunteer partner of Charity Navigator. MSB is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity providing industry-leading food relief to those in need while feeding them spiritually. https://midwestfoodbank.org/ 

No comments: