~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
- Volunteer Management and Computers
- Preparing for the Volunteer World of the Future
- Where are Those Volunteer Singles and Seniors
- Confused About Your Generation Designation
Volunteer Management and Computers
Mark Gannon, of the Institute for Volunteering Research in
Britain, published his findings from an unpublished survey of
voluntary organizations around the issue of computer technology
and its implications for managing volunteers.
The research on voluntary groups showed that:
- More than half did not have e-mail
- 75% did not have a Web-site
- Two-thirds had fewer than 10 computers in their organization
- Fewer than 50% had computer systems that were networked.
- Only one-third had an information technology specialist on
Given this information, he outlined the ways in which computer
technology can streamline the work of managing volunteers. Gannon's
recommendation makes a good checklist for anyone wishing to integrate
computer technology into his or her program. It also has excellent
reasons to share with administrators to provide why technology
is critical to the continuation of a viable volunteer program.
Reasons to Share with Administrators
Volunteer Management Software
The most direct means by which computers can streamline the management
process is with the use volunteer database, made possible by one of
the many different types of software. Organizations can create their
own, if they have such programs as Microsoft Access, Filemaker Pro,
or Lotus Approach. If your organization wants to build its own database,
help is available. Gannon recommends visiting this site http://uk.dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Software/Databases.
The site is a link to online user groups, Web Directories, and specific
There is also an index for "off-the-shelf" software for volunteer
organization. The Nonprofit Software Index can be found at http://www.npinfotech.org.
The Internet is another valuable tool for managing volunteers.
- The Internet as a Resource The
Internet is a helpful research tool. Research is not just for academics.
Suppose the organization is contemplating the establishment of a "family
volunteer" program. The access to sources via the World Wide
Web can provide the information needed to do this job right. Reading
Volunteer Today monthly can help in managing a program, or serve as
a resource if you have questions, The "Ask Connie" page.
It is also possible to connect with others who are doing the same
type of job through chat rooms or discussion groups, such as CyberVPM.
- The Internet as Visibility Volunteer
programs need both internal and external visibility. The Internet
can help provide that. A Web site is like a "shop window,"
according to Gannon. That is the most passive use. It can also reach
out and ask people to volunteer, including the application and screen
process being done online. The UK has such a location, The Site Org
(http://www.thesite.org/do-it/) which is an online database of volunteering
opportunities for the whole of the UK.
- The Internet as Accessibility
Increasingly, organizations are finding ways for volunteers to provide
their service online. The notion of "Virtual Volunteers"
is fast moving past the "new ideas" category. Virtual volunteering
is now morphing into sub-categories; cyberservice, telementoring,
or teletutoring, as notable examples. The Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
can be downloaded for free from http://www.energize.com/art/elecbooks.html.
The Virtual Volunteering Project of ImpactOnline is another site for
||An incredibly useful tool for
those managing volunteers is electronic mail. More and more volunteers
have access to e-mail either at home or work. Short reminders,
up-dates, or fast facts can be broadcast to current volunteers
quickly and economically using this medium. Some organizations
are even producing an electronic form of their newsletter for
Gannon concludes his article by saying that these wonderful
technologies are not replacements for the previous ways of doing
things, but tools to help do those things faster and more efficiently.
Source: "Get Yourself Connected: Managing Volunteers
Through Technology." 2000, Voluntary Action, Volume
2, Number 2, Spring 2000 (A publication of the Institute for Volunteering
Research, London, England, UK)
Preparing for the Volunteer World
of the Future
Futurists are offering suggestions and ideas for the world
of employment into the middle of the 21st century. Here is a short
checklist to see if you are preparing yourself and your organization
for the volunteer of 2025:
- Are you offering volunteering choices? Just as schools
are beginning to realize that "one size" does not fit
all students, so too the wise volunteer manager is finding ways
to develop a diverse array of volunteer opportunities. Bringing
volunteers and staff into a planning process can help identify
different ways in which people can volunteer.
- Are you seeking volunteers from previously untapped sources?
This isn't a diversity issue, although that is important, but
one of really seeking people who have never volunteered and seem
like unlikely candidates. One volunteer program manager is working
with a professional colleague, who runs a prison volunteer program,
to have prisoners assist with things such as folding newsletters,
stuffing envelopes, preparing volunteer information packets.
There is even recognition for the inmate volunteers by the organization
during national volunteer week.
- Are you teaching "old dogs" new tricks?
The veteran volunteer is in a position to move into a middle
management in the organization. This can happen only if the volunteer
manager and administration want it to happen. These experienced
volunteers need training and administrative support to become
the team leaders for younger volunteers who are giving shorter
and shorter hours of service. If our programs are to survive,
this requires innovative thinking, new training, and new relationships
between staff and volunteers.
- Are you matching your technology to future needs?
You may not be thrilled with e-mail, Internet, and Web sites,
but in 25 years the young volunteers entering the program won't
know what to do without them. This means beginning now to build
a long-range plan to meet future technological needs. This means
learning about the changes in schools and the workplace. Those
changes have a direct impact on what the people expect from a
- Are you engaged in regular professional development?
Professional development (Join the Association for Volunteer
Administration, pay dues to the Points of Light Foundation, belong
to your local volunteer managers association, take an online
course in volunteer administration, attend the Independent Sector
Spring Research Forum, and so much more) in all its many forms
can help you be ahead of the "ball" game when it comes
time to plan for the future. Professional organizations and conferences
help us grow and see the new trends.
Where are Those Volunteer Singles
Volunteer programs can aim appeals for service to different
markets; employee groups, parents, youth, and so forth. Before
taking the time to design a recruitment campaign for a target
audience, you must know whether it is worth it in your community.
Here are numbers to help determine if your community is awash
in either singles or seniors.
Communities with the highest concentrations of never-married
or divorced men and women in the US:
Communities where seniors (55-64) are likely to settle
in the next ten years
| Austin-San Marcos, TX
|| Austin-San Marcos, TX
| Boulder-Longmont, CO
|| Denver and Boulder-Longmont, CO
| Gainesville, FL
|| Eugene-Springfield, OR
| New York, NY
|| Ft. Lauderdale, FL
| Portland, ME
|| Reno, NV
| San Francisco, CA
|| San Francisco, CA
| Santa Fe, NM
|| Santa Fe, NM
| Springfield, IL and Madison, WI
|| Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
| Tallahassee, FL
|| Spokane, WA
| Tucson, AZ
|| Tucson, AZ
| Daytona Beach, FL
| Fort Meyers-Cape Coral,
| Fort Pierce-Port St.
| Grand Junction, CO
| Lakeland-Winter Haven,
| Myrtle Beach, SC
| Naples, FL
| Ocala, Fl
| Punta Gorda, FL
| Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
| West Palm Beach-Boca
| Yuma, AZ
Confused About Your Generation Designation
Much is written about the different generations, their behaviors,
demographics, employment, and educational achievements to name
a few. To understand the information you encounter each day, it
is important to know the difference between Generation X and Generation
Y. Here is your cheat sheet!
Source: U.S. Census Bureau and American Demographics
||Age in 2000
|% of Population
DAILY POINTS OF LIGHT AWARD FORMS AVAILABLE
The Points of Light Foundation has forms available to nominate
volunteers and volunteer organizations for the Daily Points of
Light Award. It is designed recognize individuals and groups that
demonstrate unique and innovative approaches to community volunteering
and citizen action, with a strong emphasis on service focused
on the goals for children and young people set by the Presidents
Summit for American's Future.
The award is given five days a week, excluding holidays. If
you would like nomination forms, contact Crystal
Hill at 202-729-8000.
By calling 1-800-VOLUNTEER in the U.S., individuals
can be connected to their local volunteer center. This is a national
interactive call routing system designed to get volunteers connected
to people who can help them volunteer.
Copyright by Nancy Macduff.
Some images on this site are licensed from Web.Pix
Copyright 1996 DiAMAR Interactive Corporation, all rights reserved.