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April 2009
Spring Clean Your Volunteer Program
In This Issue
Featured Book: Volunteer Management Audit

More Resources to Help with "Spring Cleaning"

Book Excerpt: "Are We Doing the Best We Can with Volunteer Involvement?"

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You're probably doing some spring cleaning around your home (or fall cleaning, if you're in the southern hemisphere!), and maybe your office, why not spring clean your volunteer program? Take a look at which of your practices are working and which need some "sprucing up" with these helpful evaluation tools.
FeatureBookFeatured Book
Volunteer Management Audit
Featured Book: Volunteer Management Audit by Susan Ellis
A validating tool for analyzing the effectiveness of an organization's volunteer management practices, with complete scoresheets and instructions to conduct the process successfully.
Order the Audit (electronic version only)
  • US $20 for Single User license
  • US $125 for Administrator license (Permits buyer to administer the Audit repeatedly in different agencies by copying the Audit Scoresheets and handouts as often as necessary)
See a sample section of the Audit's Scoresheet here and read on below for the excerpt, "Are We Doing the Best We Can with Volunteer Involvement?"
ResourcesMore Resources to Help with "Spring Cleaning"
The Youth Volunteer Audit
An assessment and planning tool for developing best practices for dealing with young people as volunteers, complete with forms to copy and use again.
Measuring Up
Dozens of forms to plan for and then fairly assess your program readiness, success, climate, volunteer performance, training, change, customer services, communication, recruitment, recognition, image and much more.

Mutual Performance Reviews: Module 8 in the 55-Minute Training Series
Train staff in how implementing mutual performance reviews (during which the volunteer also has an opportunity to evaluate the organization) can make evaluation an affirming, sharing event. Included in the module are learning objectives, suggested script and expandable activities, key concepts and notes to trainer, PowerPoint slides, handout masters, a bibliography, a workshop evaluation form and more. Also available:  55-Minute Training Series Module 10 on Volunteer Program Evaluation.
e-Volunteerism Training Design article: "Examining Moments of Truth"
Every one of us has experienced a time when we approached an organization and were treated in a less than satisfactory way. For example, how many of us have called an organization to get information only to be put on hold and transferred repeatedly, causing us to re-tell our story over and over again? These experiences are "moments of truth": moments that cumulatively create our opinion of an organization. This Training Design provides strategies for recognizing "moments of truth" and eliminating the negative ones, so that you create mostly positive moments of truth for your volunteers.

Measuring the Difference Volunteers Make: A Guide to Outcome Evaluation for Volunteer Program Managers
With permission of the Minnesota Department of Human Services and author Melissa Eystad, this extremely useful 1997 guidebook (now out of print) is available free of charge in electronic form.
Resources Book Excerpt
Teaser Checklist: Are We Doing the Best We Can with Volunteer Involvement?

From Volunteer Management Audit, Susan J. Ellis, 2003, Energize, Inc.

Download a printable version of this checklist here.

Ask your executive director, department heads, and other decision-makers to take this "quiz."
Test your understanding of our volunteer involvement by indicating your opinion next to each item below:

Y = Yes       N = No       ? = I don't know
Our organization...
  • Has access to highly skilled volunteers as on-call consultants or advisors.
  • Lists current volunteer opportunities with free Internet registry sites.
  • Participates in local National Volunteer Week celebrations.
  • Has a volunteer corps that reflects the diversity of our community.
  • Knows what volunteers are saying about us to their friends.
  • Provides training for staff who work with volunteers.
  • Is tapping into the new trends in volunteerism such as singles and families as volunteers, online service (virtual volunteering), and student service-learning.
  • Invites financial donors to participate as volunteers to increase their long-term loyalty.
  • Fulfills legal requirements for screening volunteers.
  • Benefits from national and local days of service like "Make a Difference Day."
  • Is implementing the best practices of volunteer management.
  • Sees the connection between direct-service volunteers, fundraising volunteers, board members, student interns, loaned executives, and other people who contribute time and talent to us without going onto our payroll.
  • Gets and uses input from volunteers on how we might improve our services.
  • Can create useful assignments for volunteers who offer us unexpected skills.
  • Has a vision for what we would like the volunteer program to look like in 10 years.
Do these questions make you wonder if you are maximizing volunteer involvement on behalf of your agency? They should! Volunteerism is all about tapping the community to help meet agency needs. The only limits are imagination and not providing effective support once volunteers have been recruited. (If you answered N or ? to more than half the questions, a Volunteer Management Audit may need to be in your future!)

Permission is granted for organizations to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must provide full acknowledgment of the source, as cited here:
Excerpted from Volunteer Management Audit, by Susan J. Ellis 2003, Energize, Inc. Found in the Energize, Inc. Online Bookstore at

Energize, Inc.
5450 Wissahickon Ave., C-13
Philadelphia, PA 19144

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.
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