Turns out data-entry volunteers are cool after all

Last week I blogged about a volunteer opportunity with Special Olympics Texas that I thought … well, that I thought would be hard to find volunteers for. To prepare for the Winter Games in San Antonio next month, Special Olympics Texas is enlisting volunteers to perform … yawn … data entry.

Erika Corbell, the director of volunteer services for Special Olympics Texas, wrote me back and let me know that, ahem!, actually lots of people like to turn up and enter data. See our little Q&A below:

1. Okay, so you DO get people who volunteer to do data entry. Is is hard to enlist them?

We do a data entry project three times a year – prior to each of our three state-wide competitions. The summer and fall  data entry opportunities are not as hard to recruit for as the winter one, since it begins right after the holidays.

2. What kind of people are they? Corporate teams? Retired? First-timers?

Yes, all of the above – Dell teams, retired, college students, high school students.  We have a crew from Whole Foods that volunteers for at least two of the evening shifts for all three data entry projects each year.

3. Do you think they feel the same satisfaction as they would in other volunteer opportunities? What do they get out of it?

Absolutely – it is definitely not an “edge-of-your-seat” opportunity, but volunteers quickly see that they are contributing to an important and necessary part of the process.  Overall, we usually get varied reactions – lots of amazement about seeing behind-the-scenes at what it takes to put on one of our events.

So there you go!

This makes me think I’m going to have to get a hold of these volunteer coordinators at these Austin corporations to find out how they choose where to invest their employees’ time. What a rewarding job! Is there any downside to coordinating tons of man power and applying it toward a good cause? I’ll find out,


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