The Volunteer Workforce Solve your staffing shortages while using your business as a tool to accomplish amazing good in the community. Tony Collette - The Volunteer Workforce
Column Who Is This Guy?
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So you want the skinny on me, huh? Here ya go . . .

What Do I Do For A Living?
Tony ColletteBefore devoting myself exclusively to the Volunteer Workforce movement, I was an Outsourcing Account Manager for a London-based information design firm. We were a worldwide group of 430 info design professionals, plus support and management staff.

It was my job to oversee the financial and commercial arrangements in North America for the outsourcing of information design personnel and services within a huge Finnish telecom company. (Can't name any names here, but you know who I'm talking about! If you need a clue, try this: 3 syllables – first syllable, the opposite of 'yes'. Second syllable, the thing you put in a lock. Third syllable, what you say when you scratch an itch.)

It was a great job because I used to live in Finland, I still speak Finnish and have loads of friends there, which made it fun to travel to the UK and Finland on business. It was also rewarding to participate in an outsourcing effort that focused our client company on their core competencies and improved their competitive advantage.

Working in a firm that provided staffing solutions on a global basis for very large corporations helped me appreciate just how valuable Volunteer Workforces truly are.

Where Do I Live?
Ever heard of Red Oak, TX? No? I live in the countryside about 20 miles outside of Dallas. Out here we enjoy wide open spaces, wheat-scented breezes, and an abundance of the three 'b's — birds, bugs and bunnies. It's quiet, it's beautiful, and it's a great place to think, dream and grow.

How Did I Get Mixed Up In This Volunteer Workforce Movement?
A few years ago, I invented a cool motivational tool. It lays flat on the dashboard of your car, and projects a message up onto your windshield. Kinda like having a personal teleprompter in your car. Very neat.

Auto AffirmationsSo I patented my invention, and people started ordering them. I literally put them together on the kitchen table. When a client ordered 20,000, the kitchen table scenario was definitely out.

I began asking friends in the community how to put AutoAffirmations™ together on such a large scale. Along the way I accidentally bumped into the Volunteer Workforce concept through a friend. She told me about BlueCross/BlueShield teaming up with her non-profit to collate and prepare an enormous mailing.

One thing led to another, and before long a variety of people were enthusiastically telling their stories about solving staffing and fundraising problems with Volunteer Workforces. I was hooked. I contacted Volunteer Workforce program managers all over the country, and interviewed in person everyone who would see me.

Before long a heavy-duty New York City book agent and I signed a contract, and CNNfn and BloombergTV asked me to introduce the Volunteer Workforce concept to their audiences by appearing on their national programs. Newspapers, magazines and websites began writing stories and the phone started to ring.

So now, after years of research, interviews, writing, publishing, teaching and speaking, I have the dubious distinction of being the nation's foremost authority on the Volunteer Workforce concept. It's obvious that Volunteer Workforces have arrived – in a very big way – and this fun, cool, incredibly effective solution is rapidly growing in popularity in America.

Did I Dream This Up?
Please know that I'm nowhere near smart enough to make this stuff up. I didn't invent Volunteer Workforces. I, like most of the big businesses and non-profits which benefit from them, accidentally stumbled upon them.

Although completely new to small businesses, and most large businesses for that matter, there's actually a 30-year track record of very successful Volunteer Workforce implementations in large businesses all over the country.

While other people clearly understand how Volunteer Workforces benefit them within their tight industry segment or market niche, it's the bigger picture that constantly amazes me, and the shocking implications for small and large businesses of all kinds.

Why Am I So Passionate About Volunteer Workforces?
So why do I spend all my time researching, writing, publishing, speaking, consulting and teaching workshops about Volunteer Workforces?

Because I know that each time I encourage a non-profit or a business to engage in these programs, amazing things happen. Community literacy programs get the funding they need. At-risk kids enjoy amazing educational opportunities they wouldn't otherwise receive. Businesses solve their staffing shortages and compete more effectively in the marketplace. Their customers' opinion of these business is forever changed for the better.

Volunteer Workforce programs build churches, send people on humanitarian relief missions, and fund medical research.

So I can either spend my time popularizing the Volunteer Workforce Solution, or I can spend it watching Three's Company reruns. Nothing against Three's Company, but the choice is easy.

Do You Want To Know More?
There are very few sure things in life, but this much I can tell you: as far as Volunteer Workforces are concerned, the water's warm, the air is safe to breathe, and this whole concept is tried, true and proven.

For the businesses and non-profits that have benefited from these programs for years, the fit is as comfortable as a pair of well-worn jeans. Except these 'jeans' save businesses enormous amounts of money, solve their staffing shortages, and generate enough funds for non-profits to accomplish their missions.

I warmly invite you to learn more — completely free — by downloading the 28-page whitepaper, The Volunteer Workforce. Inside you'll find a great rationale for using Volunteer Workforces, along with 6 case studies of businesses and the non-profits which participate in their programs. While you're at it, sign up for the free, 7-day e-mail minicourse. Once a day for a week you'll receive a short e-mail loaded with useful information about successful, real-world implementations. Read them yourself, share them with friends.

Meet My Buddy, Herman
Herman The FishThis is my studly fish, Herman. I raised him from an egg. At a very early age, Herman's parents died in an unfortunate accident while moving, but let's not talk about it . . . the memories are still fresh.

Herman's a very social creature. Just like a dog, he's thrilled to see you when you come home, hurrying over to the side of the fish condo he shares with five of his closest friends. Herman enjoys swimming, aquatic ballet, and just about all water sports. He aspires to be a fish underwear model. You can e-mail him at: .

Thanks for spending time with me.

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