VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


V.T. readers ask questions about volunteer management and administration. Ask Connie, an experienced volunteer manager, consultant and trainer, provides the answers for all to see.

Send questions to cpirtle@compuserve.com
~ December 2001 Topics ~
  • Employee Volunteer Programs
  • Volunteer Ask Letter
  • Morale for Zoo Volunteers
  • Holiday Food/Gift Drive
  • Salary Survey Results

Dear Connie:
I am interested in drafting a policy that would establish paid volunteer time off for the employees of the non-profit organization I am employed by. Are you aware of other nonprofit organizations that have formal employee volunteerism policies? I would greatly appreciate learning about them.



Dear Melissa:
What you're describing is an "employee volunteer program" that is often provided by for-profit organizations interested in encouraging their employees to participate in community service. Generally the organization offers employees a certain number of hours or days per month in which to volunteer on "company" time. The best source of information on employee volunteer programs is the Points of Light Foundation http://www.pointsoflight.org Also, check with your local Volunteer Center to see which organizations in your community offer employee volunteer programs, and then contact someone there to get information about their policies.

Dear Connie:
I need a good basic "volunteer ask" letter. Do you have any samples?



Dear Colleen:
Here are the basic elements of a volunteer recruiting piece that can be generic for a recruiting campaign or tailored for individual prospects:

  1. What your organization does in the community (its mission).
  2. Brief description of your volunteer program (generally how volunteers support the mission).
  3. Why you're recruiting volunteers including:
    * the tasks they do (be specific)
    * when they do them (daytime, weekday, weekend, nighttime, at home, etc.)
    * how long it will take them (# of hours, days, weeks, months)
    * what training they will receive from you
    * the benefits of volunteering for your organization
  4. How they can apply or receive more information and who to contact with questions.

Dear Connie:
I work in a zoo coordinating volunteers. It is beset by problems of people feeling stale and basically the zoo is a business so there are many things the volunteers cannot tackle. However what we do is important and the volunteers are dedicated to it. We would welcome anything free that can boost morale for the group.



Dear Chris:
Your question is close to home for me because I volunteer periodically at the National Zoo here in Washington, DC. To maintain our interest in volunteering, we receive a monthly news bulletin (not newsletter) by email telling us about upcoming events and activities at the zoo. Some of the items are volunteer opportunities and some are merely advance notice of upcoming events. Whenever I volunteer we often get a behind-the-scenes look at the operations or an "introduction" to the animals (our new pandas are a hot ticket right now!). Food is generally provided at training sessions held in the evenings on weekdays. This isn't free of course, but it's a low-cost way to maintain morale. After every volunteer project we receive information on the results, such as a fundraising event, or how our work made a difference for the zoo. When I was on the rhino baby watch team, each volunteer received a picture of the newborn baby rhino with a thank you note for our work. There are lots of "free" things you can do ­ just be creative!

Dear Connie:
I want to get a Christmas related canned food drive or collecting gifts for children deal going at the small Montessori school where I work and at my church. Do you give information concerning this kind of stuff? Thanks!



Dear Alison:
The first step is to identify which organization(s) you want to collect items for and contact them to get their requirements for such gifts. For example, some organizations request specific canned goods or new toys that are unwrapped for specific ages of children. After you've done your homework and know what the requirements are, you begin to promote the drive in your community (flyers, items in the church bulletin, and maybe a sponsor such as a local grocery store). You'll need a collection point and possibly someone there to accept gifts. After you deliver the gifts to the agency be sure to let the community know the results of the drive and thank everyone involved.

Dear Connie:
A local nonprofit which offers mental health counseling is looking to hire a full time volunteer coordinator but has no idea of appropriate salary ranges. Do you have some kind of chart for regional areas or a national statistic about that?



Dear Diana:
The "Nonprofit Times" publishes the results of its annual salary survey in the February issue. (New statistics will be published in February 2002.) They might still have the complete results for this year at http://www.nptimes.com.

The overall average of projected pay for 2001 for Director of Volunteers (their title) is $35,285.

Here are the breakdowns by organization budget size and region of the country:

 Organization budget size  
 Overall average  $35,285
 $500,000-$999,999  $24,274
 $1M-$9.9M  $31,055
 $10M-$49.9M  $45,006
 $50M or more  $62,139

 Director of Volunteers by Region of the U.S.:  
 West $37,415
 Southwest  $37,433
 North Central  $37,720
 Central  $35,831
 South  $31,149
 Mid-Atlantic  $35,383
 New England  $34,284

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.

Connie Pirtle

Strategic Nonprofit Resources

2939 Van Ness NW Street, Suite 1248

Washington, DC 20008

VOICE: 202-966-0859

FAX: 202-966-3301
Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.

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