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In this issue...
August Hot Topic: Limiting Volunteers Through Insurance Requirements

Need to Educate Your Organization about Volunteer Management?

While Supplies Last: A Chance to Buy Out-of-Print Books

Tip of the Month: Learning from Supporters and Detractors of Volunteers
Recognition Idea
On-the-Job Photos
For two months before the annual recognition event, the director of volunteers of a mental health center began to take photographs of volunteers while they were "on the job." They thought this was for PR purposes.

At the event, each volunteer received a photo of him/herself in a matte frame imprinted with a thank you message. It certainly showed "we see you" as a volunteer!  

-  Observed at Hall-Mercer Mental Health Center, Philadelphia, PA

Share Your Recognition Idea

Volunteerism Quote
"I did not find the world desolate when I entered it. My fathers planted for me before I arrived, so I plant for those who come after me."

- from the Talmud

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Everyone Ready logo
Energize Volunteer Management Update
August 2010
a1August Hot Topic: Limiting Volunteers through Insurance Requirements

Self-help and other volunteer groups are increasingly being prevented from serving the community because of demands to carry liability insurance. It may sound reasonable to require insurance, but is this just another way of saying "no" to volunteer initiative? The real question is: "What is the risk of not doing something?"

Read this Month's Hot Topic
You can subscribe to the Hot Topic as a podcast or RSS text feed -  or listen to the audio online.

a2Need to Educate Your Organization about Volunteer Management?

In the past few months we've welcomed some wonderful national organizations as new members in Everyone Ready, our online volunteer management training program, including AFS-USA and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. But we thought it might be helpful to remind everyone that you do not have to be a huge, multi-site organization to get the benefits of this great resource. In past Updates we've told you about individual enrollment, but this time we want to focus on the plan we offer for organizations wanting to enroll up to 75 learners. 

The Limited Basic membership is designed for smaller agencies, generally with one main location. In many ways, this special enrollment option provides the same resources as what national organizations get, but at a lower cost because of the limit of 75 learners. This means that up to 75 staff members (and/or leadership volunteers) get:
  • Year-round access to Everyone Ready monthly training materials: six online seminars and six self-instruction guides, plus 365 days of discussion board Q&A with the expert trainer for each featured topic. There are 12 new topics each year.
  • A library of self-instruction guides and the introductory seminar, Building the Foundation for Volunteer Involvement, that remains available to learners for as long as you continue enrollment.
  • Full access to the current issue of e-Volunteerism: The Electronic Journal of the Volunteer Community and to the complete archive of all past journal articles (over 320 and growing).
  • Interaction on the discussion board with the learners in all Everyone Ready member organizations.
All of this for less than $9 a month for each of 75 people! This makes it cost-effective for staff development in a hospital, museum, private school, county park system - all sorts of settings in which volunteers are active, but the staff may never have been trained in how to partner with and support volunteers. 
Note, too, that larger organizations may want to pilot test a more extensive enrollment in Everyone Ready by starting with the Limited Basic plan and allowing some staff to experience it.

Not in the USA?
Finally, a special note to our non-American colleagues. We have had organizational members in Canada and Australia, and individual members from several other countries - and trainers from outside the United States, too. While the materials are presented in English, we work hard to make the examples universal. We invite you to try Everyone Ready and see how applicable the principles are to your work anywhere. We're so sure you will find the seminars and guides useful that we promise to return your enrollment fee if you feel the content is too American to adapt to your situation. And we always welcome suggestions from all our members to make our materials even better.

Upcoming Topics
Right now, Everyone Ready members are enjoying the seminar on "Generations: Adapting to Volunteers of Different Ages," led by trainer Peter Brinckerhoff. It will be succeeded in mid-August by Katie Campbell's self-instruction guide, "Mandated Service: A Human Resource Opportunity."  In mid-September it's another brand-new seminar on emerging trends and issues facing volunteer projects, presented by Susan Ellis. See the whole list of upcoming topics.

a3While Supplies Last: A Chance to Buy Out-of-Print Books

Sue Vineyard of Heritage Arts was clearing out her inventory and offered us the remainder of three classic titles that are now out of print:
So, we are offering these titles in our online bookstore while supplies last.
At the same time, we have several copies of Linda Graff's respected risk management books in printed form. We normally only carry Linda's books in e-book form, so now is your chance to order them in paperback and have them shipped from our office in the U.S.      
Many of these titles are available both in e-book and printed versions, so please be sure to add the edition you want into your shopping cart by selecting the correct button.
And for one more perk, we are offering Ivan Scheier's last book, Making Dreams Come True without Money, Might or Miracles, at a special 50% discount! It is only available as a print book. If you haven't been inspired by Ivan's unique perspective on the role of a leader of volunteers as a "dream catcher," you should get this volume now.

a5Susan's Tip of the Month: Learning from Supporters and Detractors of Volunteers

If you're like me (and a lot of volunteer managers I've known are!), you really want to please everyone. Of course this is unrealistic, but it ought to be possible to create more supporters of volunteers in your organization than detractors.
Begin by identifying who on staff is a real champion of volunteer involvement - the people you go to if you need a creative role for a volunteer or anything else special. On a piece of paper or an Excel spreadsheet, write down their names in a column (if you don't want anyone to see your list, use code names!). Then, next to each, identify why you think each person is so positive.  Is it because:
  • The volunteers you've assigned to them in the past have been exceptionally good?
  • They are secure in their work and so able to share it more easily?
  • They are naturally warm and welcoming?
  • They have a good relationship with you?
  • Their direct supervisor rewards success with volunteers?
Obviously there are many other possible factors.

In the third column, identify what benefits the staff member seems to derive, personally, from success with volunteers. Things like gains a sounding board for new ideas, access to many different skills, more ways to help their clients, etc.

Now draw a line across the page and do the same thing for staff members who are often positive, but not always. Can you find reasons for their occasional reluctance by comparing your answers in columns two and three to what you identified above for the greatest supporters?

Draw another line across the page and repeat the process for those who seem "on the fence" or neutral. Do it once again for those staff who are more often negative than positive. Finally, analyze those staff who really seem "bent on destruction" - who are always negative about volunteers.
As you look at the possible reasons why detractors might be that way, you will be able to separate issues out of your control from things you can possibly do something about. Are their attitudes based on bad experiences with recent volunteers or on unsubstantiated prejudice?  Might they be completely untrained in how to partner with volunteers, and yet not realize that?  Do they receive feedback from their managers about how well they do or do not work with volunteers?

So now you can make a fourth column headed "What I Might Do." Consider how you might use what you have diagnosed about supporters to approach resisters. Are there real issues that you can take care of and change the situation (such as not assigning volunteers at particularly hectic times or requisitioning another workspace)? Is there a way to ask for the help of supporters to do some peer outreach to their more negative colleagues?
The real point is that rarely is there only one reason why volunteers are welcomed or not. It comes down to personal relationships with each staff member - both with volunteers you may ask them to supervise and with you as leader of volunteers. 

About Us
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.

Energize, Inc.
5450 Wissahickon Ave. C-13
Philadelphia PA 19144
Phone: 215-438-8342
Fax: 215-438-0434
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