Thank You Notes to Volunteers' Workplaces
Many of our volunteers have busy careers. We
began sending letters of recognition to their places of work. These letters
often find their way directly into the personnel files and reflect well on the
organization has actually received donations from companies whose employees
have been our volunteers. A letter from our organization has often prompted an
inquiry from a company about who we are and what we do.
This method of recognition
has become greatly appreciated by our volunteers.
- Submitted by Christine Cooper
Share Your Recognition Idea
You cannot help someone get up a
hill without getting closer to the top yourself.
-General H. Norman SchwarzkopfShare Your Quote
|Energize Volunteer Management Update
|May Hot Topic: The Role of Volunteer Resources Managers in the Serve America Act: Stay Up-to-Date and Lead
The lengthy and complex Serve
America Act has been signed into law. As a profession, we have a
unique and strategic chance to influence effective implementation of the Act,
draw attention to the skills of volunteer resources management, and assure that
the volunteer community is truly strengthened by the new initiatives. Learn how you can get involved with tips from Guest Writer Paula Beugen (and
some editorializing from Susan).
Read this Month's Hot Topic
can subscribe to the Hot Topic as a podcast or
RSS text feed --
or listen to the audio online.
Archives to Help You
sending these monthly Volunteer Management Updates for many years, but there
has been no way to access past issues. So, by popular demand, we have created the Update Archive. While some of the news items we
tell you about in these e-newsletters is time-limited, other sections provide
information that remains useful, especially Susan's Tip of the Month. We've opened the Archive with editions from
the past year, with direct links to each issue's Tip. From this point on, we will add each new
issue to the series.
we've also created a new Book Buzz Archive, opening with the last year of these monthly e-mails highlighting and
excerpting books we offer in the online bookstore.
both of these prove useful, especially to new subscribers who may want to look
at some of the material they missed earlier.
In case you
haven't found them yet, we already have full archives of all of the Hot Topics (since 1997!) and all nine years of e-Volunteerism.
|And. . . New Ways for You to Stay Current
The Energize Web site is sometimes overwhelming because of
its size, and we add new things all the
time, in all areas of the site. That is
one of the reasons why we started this monthly Volunteer Management
We have a just created a range of additional ways to keep
you current on the latest articles, resources, news and information posted to all
our online sites and programs (including e-Volunteerism, Everyone
Ready® and our bookstore). Read about all your options.
For the press and media, including editors of organizational
newsletters or Web sites, we also issue periodic press releases. See our press/media page for more information.
Tip of the Month: It's All about
activity is more important to volunteer management than communication, which is
critical to making volunteers feel included, informed, and appreciated. We communicate all the time, even when we are
not aware of the messages we send.
The way we bring new volunteers on board, for example, is
all about conveying both information and a friendly tone. From our screening interview to orientation
and training, and in written manuals and instruction sheets, we are saying more
things than simple content. Do we jump
right into rules and regulations or do we take a moment (or a page) for a warm
welcome? Do we show that we take
volunteer contributions seriously by anticipating good questions and providing
Throughout the year we hold meetings (one-on-one and with
groups; formal and informal), run events, send e-mails (individually or blasted
to everyone), and ask for responses to surveys and questionnaires. And each communicates on different
levels. Pay attention to all your opening and closing statements
and consistently thank volunteers for their time and efforts. Explain the context of any information, since it's easy for volunteers to feel "out of the loop," especially those who do their service away from your central
office or online.
Set up a routine feedback
cycle by asking specific questions ("do you have an idea where I might
find...?") rather than vague "what do you think?" questions -- and always make
sure you report back the results of what
you were told! If you want
volunteers (and paid staff) to take your missives seriously, you have to prove
that you read their responses. Begin the
next meeting or e-mail with something like "thanks to the 27 of you who gave me
such excellent leads, including _______________." Do this every time and people will be much
more likely to keep responding.
Things to Consider
true that even something like the way your office looks (cosy, cluttered, dark,
whatever) sends a message, most of the time you will be intentional about
wanting to communicate something. Is the
message bad or great news? Is it something open for discussion or out of your
hands? How quickly do people need to
know it? Here are a few more questions
to consider as you decide how to communicate:
personal the communication seems to be, the better. A handwritten note is the most appreciated of
all. And remember to always include an
e-mail address or phone number where someone can contact you to ask questions
or make comments.
- What do you want or need to say?
- Is it routine or special?
- Is the recipient an individual, a limited group, or the public?
- What's the tone you want to convey?
- Is it one-way or two-way communication? (Announcements vs. information needing a response.)
- Will you make a record of the discussion and/or any decisions?
- What response or feedback do you most want and have you clearly asked for that?
- How long should it be?
- How will you highlight the most important parts to help the reader or listener pay most attention to those?
- What's the follow-up plan?
- What would a volunteer feel as well as know after getting this communication?
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!
Pass on this update to interested
news groups and others who work with volunteers.
Material may be re-posted or
printed without additional permission, provided credit is given to Energize,
Inc., and our Web site address is included: http://www.energizeinc.com/.