VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

~ August 2001 ~
  • Writing the First Proposal
  • Mobilizing Religious Volunteers to Provide Social Services
  • Apply Behavioral Principles to Keeping Volunteers Happy
  • Conference on Volunteer Administration To Convene in Toronto, Canada


Writing the First Proposal

Does your organization need a new computer system? Would you like to start a partnership program with faith-based groups in your community? Does the Board of Directors need some help in growing the organization through strategic planning? Does the volunteer program need clothing to identify volunteers? Any of these things or many others could be helped by an influx of money. Businesses, foundations, and frequently United Way, have money for small amounts for just these types of projects. Who writes the proposals in your organization? It could be you.

An essential skill in most volunteer mobilization efforts is finding the right resources. This means learning the basics of proposal writing. The Foundation Center has a basic guide, The Foundation Center's Guide to Proposal Writing, that covers the six steps of writing a proposal-planning, writing the document, packaging the proposal, identifying and cultivating potential funders, and responding to the results. To order online use an interactive form at http://www.fdncenter.org. You can also call 800-424-9836.

Mobilizing Religious Volunteers to Provide Social Services

This article is not about the White House! Surprised! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is pledging $100 million over the next six years for its "Faith in Action" initiative, which supports the mobilization of religious based-volunteers to provide social services, and it's the second time they have done this.

The program is designed to encourage people to volunteer to serve those who are living at home with long-term health problems. As the number of elderly increase and those with chronic illnesses grow in numbers, the need will increase for services.

"Faith in Action" provides grants to local volunteer groups, who might represent several faiths. The Foundation is especially looking for interfaith coalitions that reflect the religious diversity of the community. Currently there are 1100 such groups. The goal is to increase that by 2000 over the next six years. They hope to fund 200-300 local sites per year.

The program began in 1993 with $40 million. Of 24 sites funded at that time, 20 are still operating.

Apply Behavioral Principles to Keeping Volunteers Happy

Behavioral scientists report that people recall experiences in "moments," with some being vivid and others murky. It is as if, instead of remembering the entire 3-hour mini-series on TV, they focus on the 22-minute sitcom. They make judgements about experiences based on three things:

Here are some tips to make sure you are using the best behavioral principles in your volunteer program.

 Tip 1:

Plan with the end in mind.
This is important because it is often what sticks in the person's mind. Does the volunteer drift away from the building? Is there a closure following that big fund raising event? Even if you cannot end with a big party, think about the volunteer is finishing up with a sense of closure for the volunteer. Implement techniques to make that happen.

 Tip 2:

Get bad experiences out of the way early on.
Volunteers resist completing forms, as an example. It is not what they want to do, so never have it be the last thing they do. Time cards, for example, could be completed half way through a shift. Paper work can be done early in the contact with the volunteer.

 Tip 3:

Give the volunteer choices.
An interesting study showed that volunteer blood donors reported significantly less discomfort when they got to choose the arm from which the blood would be drawn. The message here is that people are happier when they sense having control over an aspect of life.

 Tip 4:

Create volunteer rituals.
Most people find comfort in order and familiar activities. The rituals of volunteer programs are passed from one generation of volunteers to the next. Young people learn from older volunteers what it means to be part of the ritual and how it makes you part of the "team." What are the rituals in your program?

Conference on Volunteer Administration To Convene in Toronto, Canada
Workshops, Speakers Appeal to New and Experienced Volunteer Administrators

The international Association for Volunteer Administration will hold its annual conference, Oct. 3-6 at the downtown Sheraton Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Based on the theme "Mosaic 2001," the conference will offer a variety of speakers, workshops and networking opportunities with particular focus on diversity, technology, partnership and professionalism. Highlights of the conference include:

There will be a discount on the conference registration fee through Aug. 24. To request a registration booklet, call 804.346.2266, write to AVA at avaintl@mindspring.com or P.O. Box 32092, Richmond, VA 23294 USA. Visit http://www.avaintl.org for information.


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 Resources. Look for the Washington State University listing. There is a hot link to their Web site.


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.

Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.

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