VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


  • NONPROFITWORLD: A Published Resource
  • Tips to be on the Team
  • Talking to Your Supervisor
  • Solving Volunteer Problems
  • Dates for National Volunteer Week

NONPROFITWORLD: A Published Resource

The Society for Nonprofit Organizations publishes a magazine for nonprofit organizations six times per year. Recent issues contained information on fundraising, tax bond availability for nonprofits, and future trends. Editor, Jill Muehrcke, oversees a fast paced informative magazine with practical tips, thought-provoking issues discussion, and resources. The magazine is only one benefit of membership in this organization. For more information call 608-274-9777; or e-mail snpo@danenet.wicip.org; or visit their website at http://danenet.wicip.org/snpo.

Tips to be on the Team

Many organizations and agencies are using "teams" as a method of accomplishing their work. Being part of a team is harder than it sounds. Here are some tips to help you be a productive team member.

Practice Active Listening Concentrate when someone is speaking and train your brain to NOT formulate answers while the other person is talking. Be sure you understand by paraphrasing what the person has said.
Contribute to every Discussion Even an admission of ignorance is participating. Offering to help is also a form of participation.
Be sensitive to others views Team members often must compromise in order to succeed at a project or activity. Do not fear disagreement, but always state it in "I" terms.
Speak from the "we" Present your ideas plainly. Use "we," "us," "our," rather than "I," "me," "my."
Know what you are talking about Be well informed on every aspect of the organization's goals, plans, progress, and morale. Know how your job makes a contribution to the overall goals of the organization.
Be a team player Be cooperative. Avoid competing. Use what you know to help others in the organization.
Avoid team member "hot buttons" Everyone has "hot buttons" To work effectively with others it is important to learn to avoid those "touchy" topics. Also learn about personal preferences and accommodate them.
Do not limit yourself or the team Abolish words like, "can't," "shouldn't," "won't." They limit the team and you


Managing volunteers means having effective communication with your supervisor. Here are tips to have the best supervisor-employee communication.

Present information in the supervisor's style. If they person is oriented to heart-warming stories about clients, or a wants statistics and examples, talk to them in that manner. It makes it easier for them to take in the information.

Put your conversation in context. Let the person know why this is important to them, not just you! Briefly review the background, and then bring them up to date.

Accept praise graciously. No time for false modesty. Just say thank you and how much you appreciate their praise of your work.

Never ramble on. Have a clear direct message for the supervisor. They are busy, too.

Give the supervisor kudos. Express your admiration for an action taken by your supervisor, even if it didn't directly impact you or your program. Everyone can use a thank you.

Solving Volunteer Problems

A volunteer has a problem with another volunteer or a staff member. You are right in the middle of the issue. The way you handle the situation can count for more than what is actually done, in the long run. Here are three steps to tactfully solving problems.

Express concern. What may seem trivial or unimportant to you, is not, to the volunteer. It is a crisis for them. Acknowledge their feelings with statements like, "I understand that you are very upset about this."

Paraphrase what is said into a question. For example, if the person said, "She moved my things and didn't even ask me." You would say, " Were your things moved without your permission?" This means the person must supply more information. You get more facts and closer to the real issues.

Discuss the future. The last step is to probe to see if the person can move forward to solve the problem. There is also the opportunity to force them to confront the impact of the problem over time.

Dates for National Volunteer Week

Here are dates for National Volunteer Week for the next few years.

Put them on your calendar so you don't forget.

2001 April 22-28
2002 April 21-27
2003 April 27-May 3
2004 April 18-24
2005 April 17-23


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 Portal site. Internet Sites You'll Love. 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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