How Volunteers Can Bring Control to an Uncontrollable Situation

Imagine this. Your home is ablaze. In sheer panic, you escape through the front door desperately gasping for air. Your fingers, barely cooperating, find their way, fumbling across that three digit sequence programmed into your mind since childhood – 9-1-1.

Operator: Hello, what is your emergency?

You: *out of breath* We have a fire! My home is burning out of control! We need help!

You managed to blurt out your address and have been assured that help is on the way.

Within minutes, sirens crescendo as emergency personnel approach the scene. With professional precision, these heroic men and women bring a sense of control to an uncontrollable situation. No doubt about it, without the efficient provision of this essential service, your home – maybe your entire neighborhood – would have burned flat to the ground.

The fire is extinguished, cause of fire determined, reports taken, and next steps advised both to rebuild and prevent a future fire. You could not be more grateful for the skillful service rendered by this team of firefighters. What would have happened without them?!

Ponder this. Did you know that the US Fire Department thrives on the strength of their volunteer base? According to a 2017 study, an astounding 70% of firefighters are volunteers, nearly 42% of which have given 10+ years of active service! It is a consistently proficient system because they have a structured and proven approach.

This could not depict more profoundly the work of Self Directed Volunteer Teams in assisting organizations that also have essential services to offer communities in great need. As a proven and well-established team-based, project-focused, outcomes-driven approach, the Self Directed Volunteer Team model of volunteer engagement helps to bring thriving changes to organizations and the beneficiaries they serve. 

There are thousands of willing and able individuals who are prepared to give of their time, knowledge and skills to address real issues and align their efforts with the mission of non-profit organizations and other social ventures. However, too many organizations spiral deeper into the red or fall short on their missional goals, missing the opportunity to maximize the skills and experiences of volunteers.

Similar to a raging fire, the needs out there are overwhelming. Most nonprofits are unable to rely on organizational resources or internal capacity to fulfill their mission. This must not prevent big outcomes! The good news is this: like the fire department, the structured approach of SDV Teams makes it absolutely possible to thrive through volunteers!

Do you need such a solution for your “firestorm”? Do you wish to extend the reach of your services to better meet the needs for which your organization exists?  

We’d be thrilled to walk you through how Self Directed Volunteer Teams can bring a sense of control and abundance to what feels like an uncontrollable situation in your corner of the world. Email us at to receive our theory of change, and let’s begin the conversation about how Self Directed Volunteer Teams can serve you.

By: Kylah Martin, Operations Manager –

Visit SDV Institute to learn more about Self Directed Volunteer Teams.


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