Organization Info

Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly – Cincinnati Chapter
Type: CBO
Sector: Programs for Seniors, Veterans, or the Disabled
City: Cincinnati
Best Practice Program: Recruiting and retaining volunteers and board members

Organization Mission

Friends of the Elderly is a national network of non–profit, volunteer–based organizations committed to relieving isolation and loneliness among the elderly. We offer to people of good will the opportunity to join the elderly in friendship and celebration of life.

Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly – Cincinnati Chapter

As a volunteer organization, Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly treats their elderly friends as individuals, offering them the gifts of respect and love. 

Strong Volunteer Practices by Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly

Little Brothers 3rd Th - Rochelle Fall 2008-1In 2012, the Cincinnati chapter of Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly (LBFE) conducted a survey of their volunteers. Overwhelmingly, volunteers reported that the #1 factor motivating their involvement was the joy they received from working with the elderly. But that doesn’t mean the organization can ignore other key practices in volunteer management in order to recruit and retain quality helpers.

LBFE recruits volunteers by word of mouth, through its website, through the United Way’s Volunteer Match website, and even by the occasional passerby on the street.  Prospective volunteers are then enfolded into the organization and the mission by attending an orientation meeting. They participate in subsequent discussions to help best match them in a program and volunteer opportunity that best fits their interests and gifts.

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This whole process is run by the “Force of Five,” a team of five volunteers each with their own very specific tasks and roles that are used to recruit, retain, and track the organization’s volunteer base.  Yogi Wess, Executive Director of LBFE, says that “giving volunteers ownership of the program and what they are involved with” is what helps the organization realize their mission. Ms. Wess also tries hard to make sure the volunteers know they are appreciated by sending thank-you notes and putting on an annual appreciation event.

Their approach works. In 2012 LBFE utilized 370 volunteers to provide 2,260 regular visits to elderly clients. That equated to the impressive total of 16,030 hours.

“We are really mission-driven; real simple,” says Wess. “We are not a big bureaucracy. People can find their niche and stay.  What we do is needed and it really becomes like a family for our volunteers.”