VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


  • Workplace Violence: A Situation Needing Your Attention?
  • Building the Volunteer Middle Manager
  • Take Time for a Second Chance
  • Timing of Training

Workplace Violence: A Situation Needing Your Attention?

Workplace violence draws increasing attention from staff at nonprofits, government agencies, and corporate offices. Here are some facts on workplace violence.

Most experts agree that preventing workplace violence begins by identifying emotionally troubled individuals before they are hired. The same could be said for volunteers. Here are warning signs that might identify volatile employees according to the 1996 book, Risky Business: Managing Employee Violence in the Workplace, by Lynn McClure.

Individuals that require greater scrutiny during the selection process might have some of these characteristics.

Building the Volunteer Middle Manager

As the numbers of episodic (short-term) volunteers increase, it is imperative that volunteer managers train continuous service volunteers to be "middle-managers" and oversee that work. The staff person responsible for volunteer management needs trained and experience people to help supervise the short ­ term volunteer. A peer volunteer manager needs training and mentoring. Here is a clever plan to mentor a volunteer to be an effective manager and not feel guilty about the time it takes.


15 minutes
Make a list of your routine, daily activities. Rank them in order of importance. Review the entire list and look at the bottom 15% of things to do.

5 minutes
Using the list of 15% of things you do each day with low priority, decide on a volunteer who can carry out those tasks for you ( or another staff member). Delegate the tasks to a volunteer or several volunteers. (Remember! These are daily routine tasks!)

10 minutes
Use the 10% of time you have saved to mentor the volunteers as they go about doing these jobs. You have no reason to feel guilty, as the time spent in mentoring is actually saving you time overall.

Take Time for a Second Chance

Planning large events (and small ones) means making decisions on a myriad of topics. Sometimes decisions can be made hastily and the results can be disastrous. When the decision is a big one that involves major things; money, resources, relationships, programs, etc.) have a "Second-Chance" meeting. This allows time for volunteers and staff to reflect and raise issues they may not have thought about in the initial discussion. Enthusiasm for an idea can sometimes lead to a rash decision.

Timing of Training

Volunteers need training. The more sensitive the work they do the more training they need. Here are some suggestions on new ways to offer training.


Washington State University offers a Volunteer Management Certification Program through the Internet. Individuals around the world can earn a certificate in managing or coordinating volunteers, without leaving home.

For more information, visit Volunteer Today's Internet Resources page. Look for the Washington State University listing. There is a hot link to their Web sites.


The National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government (NAVPLG) is an association of administrators, coordinators and directors of volunteer programs in local government. Its purpose is to strengthen volunteer programs in local government through leadership, advocacy, networking and information exchange. NAAVPLG is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties and is seeking affiliate status with the National League of Cities.

Cost is $20 for individuals and $75 for group local government membership. An affiliate membership is $25 and is intended for those who are not local government members but may have an interest in the group. There is a quarterly newsletter, national network, and access to NACo's Volunteerism Project.

For more information contact Glenis Chapin, who is a member of the Executive Committee. She can be reached by phone at 503-588-7990. Be sure to mention you read about this in Volunteer Today.

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Copyright by Nancy Macduff.

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