Harry S. Truman reportedly said, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish, if you don’t care who gets the credit.” That’s particularly good advice for volunteers looking to serve veterans. According to the IRS, there are more than 45,000 veterans service nonprofits in the United States today. Working together may be the only way to solve problems for our nation’s veterans.
For advice on how to start and build good partnerships, we asked another Kansas City Elk member, Darrell Quinley, for his advice. As a Representative at both the Kansas City VA Medical Center and the St. Michael’s Center (which provides veterans with safe, stable housing), Quinley knows that partnerships are key to accomplishing goals. Here’s his wisdom, gleaned from years of volunteering for veterans and working as a funeral director.
- Find as much common ground as you can; family, children, activities, veterans in the family, etc.
- Don’t take up a great deal of their time at the onset. Ask for their business card and follow up a few days later.
- Don’t give up! First or even second impressions may not be a true indication of future working relationships.
- Be truthful, be consistent, be prepared.
- Try to always take the high road on any contentious discussion, or better yet avoid them completely.
- Be complimentary. Thank them for what they do. Find no fault in their operation.
- Tell them you have Elks members just waiting to help veterans.
Above all go in with a positive attitude. Your heart shares their heart, in the love of service to veterans.