Quick & Creative Gifts
Pair an inexpensive gift with a clever card. Gold chocolate coins
: "Volunteers are worth their weight in gold." Andes mints/ peppermint patties
"Your service is worth a mint to us!"Ruler/Tape measure
"It's easy to measure the difference you've made -- you're amazing!"Light bulbs:
"You light the way -- thanks for your glowing enthusiasm."
- Submitted by Danielle Hamilton
Share Your Recognition Idea
A candle loses nothing of its light when lighting another.
-Khalil GibranShare Your Quote
|Energize Volunteer Management Update
|April Hot Topic: Confidentiality
and Other Objections to Volunteers
It's easy for staff to stop any creative idea involving
volunteers by raising concern over confidentiality, risk, or other issue
solemnly pronounced as protecting clients. And too often it works.
We must be prepared for these sorts of reactions and stand our ground.
Are these valid concerns or really smokescreens hiding a general
resistance to volunteer involvement?
Read this Month's Hot Topic
Remember you can listen to the Hot Topic as a podcast, too!
New Online Resource for Local Volunteer Coordinating
is a free online sign-up tool that simplifies grassroots volunteering. The site makes it easy for anyone to quickly
mobilize and coordinate volunteers in their community, congregation or social
network. This is a wonderful tool for all-volunteer
group officers, committee chairs, special event planners, and others who need
to schedule and organize many other volunteers.
The leader creates a schedule of volunteer needs on the
online calendar and invites people to sign up with an e-mail. Volunteers click
a link to see what spots are available and choose when and how they want to
help. VolunteerSpot sends automated
confirmation and reminder messages, helping everyone keep their commitments. Since it happens in real-time, the schedule is always current, significantly
reduces coordination time, and makes the process easier for everyone. And it sure beats the old clipboard and
telephone tree system!
Note that this resource is for anyone, anywhere. International users may find that the
automatic reminder messages are slightly out of sync with their time zones, but
the scheduling calendar is always done on local time.
VolunteerSpot is a free service for local-level volunteers. Corporations and larger groups wanting to
brand the Web site or obtain planned premium features, such as hours tracking,
will be charged a fee. But you can test
the system immediately at no cost.
Volunteer Management Institute:
June 21-22, San Francisco
After a successful first run last year, the Advanced
Volunteer Management Institute (AVMI) is back as a 2-day pre-conference option just
before the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Facilitators Martin J. Cowling, Susan
Ellis, Linda Graff, Rick Lynch, Steve McCurley, and
Betty Stallings will lead this high-level, engaging exploration of advanced
topics in volunteer program management for nonprofit, government and community
details and to register, click here.
- Explore cutting-edge approaches for effective volunteer engagement
- Focus on the challenges facing volunteer programs in our rapidly changing world
- Engage in individualized conversations with other advanced volunteer program
|Susan's Tip of the Month: "Beyond the Norm"
As a field,
we've become much more savvy in developing meaningful and appealing work for a
wide range of volunteers way past the old model of regularly-scheduled
helper. We've learned to run single days
of service and deal with spontaneous volunteers. We can assign projects to corporate employee
teams, intergenerational families, and those who want to volunteer virtually. Yet
we are still missing some opportunities.
of volunteer work might you design for the following less traditional prospects
(and this is only a partial list)?
suggesting that every organization needs the sort of help these people might
offer. But how did you react -- in your
gut -- to each group on this list? If you
can get past some preconceived notions about who is a potential volunteer, you
can vastly expand the pool of community resources available to you.
- Seniors over the age of 90 (the fastest growing
age category today)
under the age of 14
people wanting a bridge between their old job and finding a new one
(people spending vacation or conference time in your area - from one day to a
season - and who want to be of use to the community)
- Current clients who want to get involved to help
- The CEOs of the major companies in your area
- University professors (not just their students!)
we simply avoid potential resources because we can't picture how we would work
with them. Maybe that's why so many
senior volunteering programs are focusing on people in their 50s (who don't
identify at all with the concept of "senior") and not on healthy nonagenarians. It's just easier -- and there are fewer
transportation and health concerns. It's
the same with engaging young children in service. Yet both ends of the age spectrum offer
unique perspectives and skill bases.
can't imagine that a group might even be interested in volunteering with
us. We approach students, but not their
teachers or professors -- and who is more skilled? We recruit secretaries and salespeople, but
not their managers and certainly not their CEOs. And why not?
Do we offer any volunteer work executives
would find appealing? What do we think
similar vein, it's fascinating how rarely we reach out to labor unions, trade
councils, or blue collar businesses. We
won't think twice about asking a white collar professional to volunteer as a
consultant or donate training services, but do we invite plumbers or roofers to
give their labor (also professionally skilled) pro bono? Why not?
wondering how you'll ever be able to coordinate and support these populations,
who will need extra time and attention.
Don't forget the strategy of recruiting interested volunteers
knowledgeable about each group to run a pilot project with the target
population, or to be team or shift leaders for the group.
If you find
yourself with a very homogenous volunteer corps, it may be because you are
gravitating towards the "usual suspects" in your recruitment. Whether you intended to or not, the volunteer
assignments you offer appeal to a narrow slice of the community. Try
welcoming people who fall outside the norm you've established of age, status,
schedule, and other factors. They may be
delighted at the invitation to get involved and you'll expand the value of the
volunteer effort for your organization.
Energize empowers and inspires leaders of volunteers worldwide. Our specialty is creating and selecting the most relevant, innovative resources in volunteer management. We're advocates for the power of
volunteers and for the recognition of the leaders who unleash it.
5450 Wissahickon Ave. C-13
Philadelphia PA 19144
|Pass It On!
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