The third most common anxiety disorder is shyness. Depression and alcoholism have spot one and two. The new name for shyness is social anxiety disorder. It includes such things a being "sick with fear" at the idea of initiating a conversation with strangers or people in authority, speaking in public, participating in meetings or classes, or attending parties. It afflicts 10 million people!
The American Psychiatric Association, the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, and a New York Advocacy group have launched a campaign called, "Freedom from Fear." They are united in collaboration as the Social Anxiety Disorder Coalition in trying to enhance public awareness about this serious public health issue.
Recruiting volunteers often involves speaking at group meetings or making public presentation. Did you know that most people hate public speaking more than snakes? Public speaking is an art and science. It can be learned. If you are having trouble with public speaking, contact the local chapter of Toastmasters. This is a group which provides members a supportive environment to practice their public speaking skills and where they can get feedback and kind words.
If you have been speaking for a while, here are some refresher ideas to help you keep the bounce in your public performances.
* What is the key point I want the audience to know? Write down the one key point you would like the audience to leave knowing. It can be a fact, value, concept, or feeling. Without this key point you have no focus and you will lose the audience.
* Have I selected the best way to show my key point? With television, computers, magazines, and color in newspapers, your audience expects visuals. Are you using an overhead or slides to help illustrate the points you are making? Are your handouts colorful or clever and clear? To help people focus on your key point you need to select the main ideas and illustrate them, as well as say them.
* Is the information clear? Better to give two statistics people can remember, than 25 that no one remembers. Here is a place where a graph, chart, overhead transparency, or slide can illustrate you point. Never let statistics hang. Tie numbers to people or things of interest to your audience. For example: "We served 140,000 meals to shut-ins last year. That number isn't nearly as important as Sarah, an 87 year old woman who received 260 of those meals. One time the person delivering meals noticed that Sarah seemed unsteady. He delivered the rest of his meals to other clients. Then he went back to Sarah's and stayed until her daughter arrived. Sarah had the flu. Without an alert volunteer driver from our meals program, we might be serving 260 meals fewer this year!"
* How much can people remember? Do you have five minutes at a civic club meeting to make your pitch? Then have one key point. If you have more time use three key points, but rarely more than three. The listeners cannot remember more than one to three in one sitting.
A study of six corporate Web sites recently produced information that people trying to apply online gave up before submitting an application. If you are having people complete volunteer applications online, there are some lessons to be learned. The study, "E-Recruiting: Online Strategies in the War for Talent," by Mark Hurst and Jakob Nielsen was conducted with "average Web users." Those people were asked to visit recruitment sites suited to their interests and submit a job application. Three out of four gave up before submitting an application.
The biggest problem according to Hurst and Neilsen was that Web designers were not visualizing the site through the eyes of the potential applicant. The sites were bogged down with organizational information, jargon familiar only to insiders, and an overwhelming tendency to advertise the organization, rather than simply list open positions.
In one example, there was a picture of an important company manager, with a long welcome message. In additional, the tools to search the site for the application and information about jobs was not prominently display. These errors are easily repaired. Hurst estimates that an effective online recruiting site saves an organization up to $6,000 in the cost of each new hire.
Is it time to take a look at your online recruiting site? If so, have it done by someone who has never seen it. Have them try to apply and take notes as they go throughout the process. If you do not know what it is costing you to recruit a volunteer without e-recruiting, it is time to find that out, too.
Effective interview questions can help you learn about a volunteer and make the best placement for them and for the organization. Here are some possible questions.
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.
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 202-729-8000.
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Copyright by Nancy Macduff.