Manna is a very small organization. There are 6 full time staff members spread between four countries, nineteen Programs Directors, and in the 2010-2011 fiscal year, MPI operated on a budget of about $427,000. To give you some means of comparison of annual budgets in the non-profit sector:
Pencils of Promise: $1.1 million; WorldTeach: $3.15 million; Invisible Children: $8 million; Charity Water: $11.6 million; Falling Whistles: $104.7 million; Habitat for Humanity: $285 million.
The point is we're small in almost every way. We don't have the manpower or resources to publicize and market ourselves with the big guys. Even when it comes to recruitment, truth is, the majority of our volunteers hear about Manna from one of our current or past volunteers, and we rely on that. I personally found out about Manna from my high school friend, Jackie Weidman who was a PD in Ecuador before MPI Guatemala ever existed. I remember reading MPI's website and wondering why I had never heard about the experience before, and MPI isn't the only one. There are so many life-changing opportunities out there looking for candidates, but seldom do the interested candidates and opportunities meet.
In a few days MPI Guatemala will welcome a new PD named Lorena Zamarelli, who--you guessed it--is also a friend from high school, and Manna is currently recruiting summer and 13-month volunteers for 2012-2013. Posting to Facebook and other social networking sites does help, but it's not enough. We need a grander advertisement, a broader PSA.
These are my best friends from high school. 75% of them have either volunteered themselves with MPI, visited an MPI international site, or donated to the cause.
So do me a favor, tell your friends. Share our story, and spread the word. To beef up your Manna knowledge, visit our "about us" page, or our volunteer page.