I would like to thank MHVRP for sending me to the AHVRP Conference in August. It was my first time attending this conference and I received so much valuable information out of it! I wanted to give everyone some highlights and key take-a-ways. So I will spare you all of my notes and just give you the top three take-a-ways from each session that I chose.
Legal Issues - Interview & Volunteer Selection, by Julie Meyer:
1. Paper that you use to take interview notes on possible applicant - shred this file when denied or hired (do not use volunteer application to write notes on)
2. Use behavior-based interview structure - past performance is a good indicator for the future (adaptability/flexibility, accuracy/attention to detail, teamwork, communication skills, dependability, customer/patient-centered, compassion)
3. Do not ask questions addressing membership in a protected class (example: What is your religion?) Do not include anything on paperwork about national origin, race, color, religion, sex, age)
Layout, Display & Buying Tips for Growing Gift Shop Income, by Miriam Works:
1. Signage helps the customer find a reason to purchase/benefits of product - "Great Gift Ideas $30 and Under" / "Benefits of eating chocolate..."
2. Boost Awareness of Your Mission - Use pictures to show how money from the Gift Shop has helped patients of the hospital and community
3. Seasonal - You do not need to order so much. Customers want to buy gifts for their friends for Christmas, not just Christmas-themed items. When you do have leftover inventory, mark it down!
No Rubber Chicken - Volunteer Recognition Events, by Frank Hrabe:
1. Make your recognition events fun - Put together a theme and have everything stick to it (ex: Construction theme- everyone in hard hats and construction gear, gifts are lunch bags with lunch for the day, centerpieces are Tonka trucks with goodies inside)
2. Take your volunteers on a highlighted VIP tour of a new space in the hospital - let them be the ambassadors for what is new
3. Make things entertaining - bring in a magician, singer, comedian
Practical Consideration: People, Policies, Procedures & Problems, Panel/Networking:
1. Connect with local colleges to see if there are students in interior design or sales that would like to intern for the Gift Shop. Great experience for them and you - they can help with design layout, help train volunteers to sell, etc.
2. Volunteer Scheduling - give volunteers the tools if they cannot be there. They need to connect with three other volunteers to see if they can sub before calling you. Give the schedule out to everyone three months in advance so that they can let you know about vacations or if they need to switch a time. Keep the volunteers engaged and educated: What's new each time they come in.
3. Up-sell - Make suggestions to customers at the end of their transaction: "Would you like a balloon with that?"
Creating & Creative Annual Reports - Demonstrate Value, by Karen Kerr-Osman/Kaitee Doll: (This was my favorite session - it was great!! )
1. Annual Reports are a great tool for recruitment, so make sure that they are exciting. Do not just put in the total number of hours, how many volunteers. Include: all tracking of how many patients were helped and served by volunteers, what the volunteer mission is, lots of pictures, volunteer testimonials, etc.
2. Put together a video for the volunteers - everyone loves to see their face. See if a college student would like to do this as a project. This is also a great way to recruit and show in orientation.
3. Track everything! Ex: chaplain visits, dog therapy, front desk assistance, how many interviews conducted and how many applications received.