~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
She is an experienced volunteer manager, consultant and trainer. If
you ask her...
she will answer...read below for
questions and answers related to
volunteer management and administration.
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
I've decided to put in writing some things about staff and
volunteer relationships that I hope will help strengthen those
that exist in my organization and maybe even create new ones.
I may even create guidelines for paid staff working with volunteers.
Karen, in Tulsa
I believe that productive volunteer/staff partnerships are
- Two-way communication to inform both staff and volunteers
about "who's doing what, when, and how"
- Team building that involves volunteers in all levels of the
organization's planning and decision making to increase the ownership
of its goals by everyone
- A clear understanding by volunteers of all institutional
roles including their own
- Open and honest evaluation of volunteer activities by both
staff and volunteers
- Public and private recognition of the accomplishments of
volunteers and their staff partners
My favorite approach to guidelines for staff and volunteers
is one of "expectations" for both. I've listed a few
examples below so that you get the idea. Expectations are sometimes
more easily accepted than "rules" or "guidelines."
|Volunteers can expect:
||Staff members can expect:
- to be trained for the tasks they will do
- to understand how their work fits into the organization
- to be thanked for their efforts
- for their staff partners to be courteous, kind, and thoughtful
- for volunteers to show up on time for assignments
- for volunteers to be respectful of the demands on staff time
- to be thanked for their efforts
- for their volunteer partners to be courteous, kind, and thoughtful
If you're looking for specific examples of guidelines
for staff working with volunteers, here are a few to consider:
- the types of things that volunteers do (and don't do)
- who volunteers are and what their backgrounds are
- what volunteers contribute to the organization
- the role of staff members in designing volunteer jobs, recruiting,
screening, and supervising
- what to do when problems arise (volunteers who don't dress
appropriately, eat on the job, don't behave appropriately, etc.)
- who supervises whom and about what (lines of communication,
- what not to do with volunteers (personal errands, meaningless/repetitious
tasks, get angry, yell, etc.)
- how to recognize and reward volunteers (give specific examples)
- explain what's in it for the staff if the volunteer program
- how to evaluate volunteer performance (create an evaluation
form for staff to use)
- erase any stereotypical images of volunteers (little old
ladies with blue hair)
Also, be sure to check out these web sites for resources:
- Volunteer Today
I am doing research on the motivation for volunteerism at
the community college/university level. Could you suggest any
information I may be able to use?
Dear Mr./Ms. Whitehead:
There are a variety of sources that you can use for your research.
These are my top five:
- Volunteer Today => news is changed monthly and covers all aspects of
volunteer management. A new page has been added called "Volunteers Needed"
that links to other sites offering volunteer opportunities of all types.
- CyberVPM => a complete resource for volunteer management with easy to
find information and many links to other sources. Don't forget to sign up
for the free monthly newsletter!
- Merrill Associates => Mary Merrill is an independent consultant and trainer
based in Columbus, Ohio. Every month she posts a different "Topic of
the Month" that addresses some area of volunteer management. Current
and past topics are easily accessed and include "Sharpening Your Interviewing
Skills," "Developing a Philosophy of Volunteer Involvement,"
and "Family Volunteering," to name just a few.
- Energize => Susan Ellis is a well-known consultant and trainer in the
field of volunteer management. Her site provides resources, a complete volunteer
management bibliography, and her extensive catalog of publications.
- Independent Sector => For statistics, news, tips, volunteer opportunities,
and links to other sites, you can't beat Independent Sector for the latest
in nonprofit information.
There are four scholarly journals on volunteerism that you will want to use
too: Journal of Volunteer Administration, Nonprofit and Volunteer Sector Quarterly,
Voluntas, and Nonprofit Management and Leadership. You can link to these journals
through the Portal Site here at Volunteer Today.
I am looking for a "generic" volunteer training
program. I have been advised of some very specific programs that
have left me wanting. Can you advise as to where I might find
such a program? I am training people who may work in a number
of very different jobs in the law and security industry. I will
be working with upwards of four groups of twenty each over an
academic term. It works out to about 21 hours (7 weeks) of training
opportunity for the students. The government of our province (your
state) has mandated such training for graduation of Criminal Justice.
This led to my request for "generic" training rather
than training for Big Brothers or the YMCA, which have tailor-made
programs. Thank You.
Owen in Ontario, Canada
Training in any setting is based on the learning objectives,
what you want the students to know, think, feel, and/or be able
to do after completing the training. With that in mind I encourage
you to write down some specific learning objectives and then design
exercises and readings that will accomplish each objective. Objectives
can be very specific (such as how to complete an evaluation form)
or very broad (such as understand the basic elements of the criminal
justice system). Without objectives, it is very difficult to design
and implement effective training.
There are some resources on training at these web sites that may help you:
Management and Training at the Volunteer Today Web Site, Energize, CyberVPM,
and Merrill Associates. Each site has links to other sites that may be helpful
I am starting a new job as a Community Involvement Assistant
with a county elementary school. Any advice or information you
can give me will be greatly appreciated. The person who held this
position before me has already left, so I am going in completely
Patti in Florida
Congratulations on your new job! Here's my advice for getting
into a network of your colleagues who can provide advice and moral
- Visit CyberVPM and sign up for the free listserv and the monthly newsletter.
Both contain questions, tips, suggestions, solutions, and much more that will
help you in your job. Be sure to explore the site and take advantage of all
the good information that Nan Hawthorne has accumulated to help you too.
- Sign up for the free listserv at GOV-VPM where you'll get information from
people like you in government settings. Be sure to post a message introducing
yourself and don't hesitate to ask your colleagues some specific questions.
- Become a member of the Association for Volunteer Administration(AVA). You'll
get a regular newsletter, The Journal of Volunteer Administration, discounts
on publications and the annual conference, and lots of useful information.
- Join your local DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies). For a listing
of the one nearest you, visit the Energize site . You can find the DOVIA directory
by clicking on the "Associations" section on the home page. In a
quick scan I saw DOVIAS in Duval, Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, and Palm Beach
Counties, as well as one in Tallahassee. There's also a Florida Association
of Volunteers in Government that you will want to check out. Each listing
contains local contact information.
- Read, Read, Read!! Buy books and periodicals and keep up on the latest in
volunteer management. All of the above sites as well as Volunteer Today have
resources that will help you.
Do you have a question? Now you too can ask an expert!
Connie Pirtle, of Strategic NonProfit-Resources, has
15 years' experience in working with volunteers. She has consulted
and/or trained for such organizations as the Washington National
Cathedral, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music America,
and the Association for Volunteer Administration.
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Copyright 1998 by Nancy Macduff.