~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
- Is It Time to End a Volunteer Position?
- Hire that Live Wire
- Do You Really Need that Volunteer Meeting?
IS IT TIME TO END A VOLUNTEER POSITION?
Volunteers often carry out many different tasks in an organization.
The Volunteer Program is made up of the various types of tasks
and positions volunteers do for the same organization, agency
or department. Each of the volunteer tasks/positions should be
evaluated regularly to determine their continuing health. Here
are some questions to help determine the health of each volunteer
- Is the demand for volunteer services declining?
- Is it harder to deliver the services?
- Is there less money to carry out this particular aspect of
the volunteer program?
- Has technology replaced the need for volunteers?
- Is morale poor among volunteers? Staff?
- Is communication between staff and volunteers deteriorating?
- Has the focus of the organization changed?
- Does this volunteer position still have the support of upper
HIRE THAT LIVE WIRE
Creativity is the lifeblood of any organization. Every volunteer
program began because someone said, "If we get a group of
people together we can . . ." In order to have creativity
in an organization, creative people need to be recruited-volunteer
and staff. They need to operate in an environment that values,
prizes, and encourages creativity. Use these benchmarks to ensure
you are bringing in some creative people and giving them room
to influence the organization.
- Creative people sometimes have curious concepts about dress,
hairstyle, hygiene, and work habits.
- Creativity cuts across all lines of gender, race, age, and
class. Organize meetings with people expected to be there and
add some people who might bring new ideas. Support staff are
rarely included in meetings, for example. Start including them.
- Seek out staff and volunteers who are human spark plugs.
They inspire others, or make them uncomfortable enough to think
outside the box.
- The creative process is time consuming (99% perspiration
and 1% inspiration). Be patient with the process.
- Assess the environment of the organization to ensure it promotes
creativity. Volunteers and staff need to toss out ideas, without
fear of ridicule or derision.
- The physical environment aids creative thinking. If volunteers
and staff are tackling a new initiative or project, get away
from the usual surroundings and into something that inspires
- Set the bar high! Don't accept an average volunteer program.
Let everyone know that being the best is the standard. This might
mean pressuring people into new types of thinking.
- Never be afraid to fail.
- Fear stops all future creativity!
DO YOU REALLY NEED THAT VOLUNTEER MEETING?
Use these steps to determine if the meeting is a must.
- You have a problem that needs more brains than yours to solve.
- You are delivering information that must be presented face-to-face
- You are collecting information where everyone needs to be
in the room at the same time. (Be sure to carefully evaluate
if there is not a better way to gather the facts.)
- A decision needs to be made and you do not have the power
to make it.
Government Volunteer Programs Can Earn Awards
Many awards exist for individual volunteers or nonprofit organizations, but
government based volunteer programs are eligible, too. The Points of Light,
"Daily Point of Light" awards are an example. For more information
on this award you can go to the Points of Light web site at http://www.pointsoflight.org.
The Orange County Volunteer Program recently took an award for its innovative
approaches to involving citizens in a wide array of county activities. The Grand
Traverse County Probate Court was also singled out for a Daily Point of Light
Award. They use volunteers to work with first time juvenile felony offenders,
who need help successfully completing probation.
Volunteer Today is looking for other places government programs can go to be
nominated for awards. If you know national or regional awards--world wide for
government based program, please send an e-mail to Volunteer Today.
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 Toyja R. Somerville at
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.