The Junior League of Billings Skills Bank

The Junior League of Billings strives to create the best volunteer experience possible. One of the ways we plan to do that is to keep an up-to-date skills bank of our member volunteers’ skills. This might strike you as tedious and unnecessary or you may think you don’t have a skill or talent. We’d like to share why implementing a skills bank is best practice for nonprofit organizations.

According to Stanford Social Innovation Review (, the national volunteer rates are declining. Between 2005 and 2006, 36% of volunteers did not return to volunteering the next year. Why is this? The 2003 Volunteer Management Capacity Study conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service concluded that fewer than half of nonprofits that manage volunteers have adopted important volunteer management practices. Here are five of the main reasons why volunteers are not returning:

  1. Failing to Recognize Volunteers’ Contributions.
  2. Not Measuring the Value of Volunteers.
  3. Failing to Train and Invest in Volunteers and Staff.
  4. Failing to Provide Strong Leadership.
  5. Not Matching Volunteers’ Skills with Assignments.

Junior League of Billings is constantly striving to find new and innovative ways to accomplish all five of these practices. Junior League offers exceptional leadership. As new members join Junior League, the New Member Trainer guides them through the entire first year. Leadership doesn’t end then, as volunteers may join clearly defined councils.  Each council has a council leader that organizes and leads each group. Junior League offers many training opportunities including personality and strength assessments, as well as bringing in professionals to teach specific skills on effective community leadership and organizing. Junior League of Billings is quick to publicly recognize and thank volunteers for their time, effort and good work.

To achieve number five, Junior League needs a clear way to track and record the skills of our volunteers. That’s where the Junior League of Billings Skills Bank comes in. With the Skills Bank, our League will be able to implement one of the best practices of organizing volunteers— skills based volunteers (SBV).  When a non-profit implements SBV, they are matching needs of the organization with the skills of the volunteers. This not only makes the organization more successful, it leads to volunteer satisfaction and retention. According to Basil Sadiq from, there are clear steps to utilizing SBV.

  1. Identify the Need: What are you trying to accomplish within your organization — what are the needs, outcomes, and goals?
  2. Define the Role: What is necessary within the role and its design? How will this person be expected to fulfill the needs, outcomes, and goals within a specific position?
  3. Explore the Possibilities: once you have designed the role, how can it be fulfilled? A board position? A volunteer?
  4. Attract the Talent: Now it’s time to promote the role by using the information collected in the organization’s skills bank.

Please help Junior League of Billings be as effective as possible this year and take a few minutes to fill out the Skills Bank survey. Some people have a difficult time recognizing their talents and skills, feel inhibited because they do not want to come across as arrogant, or do not think their skills are worthwhile or at a level of expertise necessary to be of value.  We know you recognize the strengths in the women around you; take the time to acknowledge the wonderful skills and talents you possess, as well as the ones you’d like to cultivate.  We want all our volunteers to have a wonderful experience and the Skills Bank is the tool to make that happen!  Please go to to complete the Skills Bank survey.  Thank you for helping us to make the Junior League of Billings be the best that it can be!


Blog Article By Kiely Lammers

Junior League of Billings Member

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