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.
~ July 2001 Questions ~
  • Volunteer Recognition -- One Size Doesn't Fit All
  • Policies and Procedures Handbook
  • Faith-Based Volunteer Management Resources

Dear Connie:
As volunteers get busier every day, what are the most effective ways to recognize a volunteer on an ongoing basis?

K.V., Coordinator


Dear K.V.:
There's no single "right" way to recognize volunteers, but instead depends on a variety of factors. I suggest that you think of matching the recognition method to the volunteer and not try to make one size fit all. For instance, many organizations do some or all of the following throughout the year:

* birthday cards to individuals
* birthday parties every month for individuals born that month
* a volunteer of the year award based on an established point system or on nominations
* an annual luncheon, dinner, and/or party to say thank you to all volunteers
* notices in the newsletter about special accomplishments by volunteers
* pictures on the office bulletin board of volunteers in action
* something fun during National Volunteer Week (April 21-27, 2002)

By providing this broad range of recognition opportunities, volunteers can self-select to participate in some or all of them. Check these Web sites for more information and resources on volunteer recognition: energizeinc.com, cybervpm.com, and merrillassociates.net.

Dear Connie:
I need to put together a policy/procedure manual and a volunteer handbook. I'm starting from ground zero. Do you know of any resource that I can model after? Thanks!

Kay, Volunteer Coordinator


Dear Kay:
Go to cybervpm.com. Click on "Volunteer Management Basics" and then click on "Sections." Scroll down until you find what you need, including the links to sample documents. I would also use or adapt whatever orientation materials your organization uses for staff. Most all of it is applicable. The general rule is that you don't use anything for volunteers that the staff isn't using.

I recently wrote a handbook for one of my clients. The table of contents looked like this:

I. Welcome and Foreword

II. Organizational Information

* History and Mission
* Professional Conduct Policy (for staff and volunteers)
* Organization Chart
* Staff Phone and E-Mail Contact List

III. Volunteer Program Information

* History
* Volunteer Opportunities
* Volunteer Application
* Volunteer Policies
* Organization Chart
* Volunteer Address, Phone, and E-Mail Contact List
* Glossary
* Where Is It? (maps, drawings)
* Volunteer Position Descriptions
* Volunteer Coordinator's Position Description

Dear Connie:
Do you know of volunteer management information or volunteer training for volunteer management in churches? I know that Marlene Wilson has a book, but I also know that there was some training in Arizona a year or two ago. I don't know the name of the organization and just wondered if you can help me.

Bonnie in Wisconsin


Dear Bonnie:
The training in Arizona you may be thinking of occurred at the annual conference of the Association for Volunteer Administration in Phoenix in October 2000. It was a pre-conference event for religious/faith-based organizations entitled "City Reaching: Together We Can Make a Difference." To find out more about it, send an email to Katie Campbell, AVA Executive Director, at avaintl@mindspring.com.

There are several books available on working with volunteers in faith-based organizations:




I did a quick search at http://www.google.com (just type in "church volunteers" and you'll get pages and pages of sites to check). Two resources of particular interest are:

I suggest you also check with your local DOVIA (Directors of Volunteers in Agencies) to find out if they offer any resources on faith-based volunteer management. The DOVIA in your area meets on the third Thursday of each month (excluding May, June, September and December) from Noon - 1:30 p.m. at the American Red Cross office, 2600 W. Wisconsin Avenue. IACV co-sponsors a fall conference each year (September) and has an annual recognition luncheon to recognize exceptional Volunteer Administrators. Monthly meetings are held to network with other professionals, learn about/discuss volunteer management issues, keep up to date with recent trends. Contact Jeff Schmidt, Membership Chair IACV, P.O. Box 65, Milwaukee, WI 53201. Phone: 414.291.0347 Email: JeffSch@boysgirlsclubs.org.

.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.

Return to Top of Page