VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


Visit this page for ideas, suggestions and hints to build recruitment capacity.
~July 2001~
  • Branding and Your Volunteer Program
    Part Two
  • Looking for Teen Volunteers
  • What's With This Faith-Based Initiative?
  • Volunteer Management Resource Gold Mine
  • Saying NO
  • IYV 2001

Branding and Your Volunteer Program
Part Two

This is the second in a series on "branding." (Previous articles can be found in the "Archives" of Volunteer Today the June 2001 issue). The topic for July is values. The values of an organization are played out in its behavior and create a framework for its "brand."

Listed below is a definition of "values," the first element of a brand, with questions to help you assess your organizational values as they relate to brand.

Assessing the Brand


Organizations need a set of values or vision for what they are over time and distance. It means reducing gaps between the ideal and reality. Here are ways to determine whether your vision is clear?

The gap between values and the culture of the organization distorts a clear view of who you are-hence your brand is distorted.

A question for you-

Some people learn the values of an organization by being around consistently each week of the year. Others, like volunteers who provide episodic service have fleeting contact with the program and might not know the values. Could those two groups list the values you listed above?

A question for you-

No one likes to talk about the competition between organizations working in the area of volunteerism, because it seems commercial. But Brand X volunteer program will have a harder time attracting a volunteer than Red Cross, Salvation Army, or the Girl Scouts. The latter organizations come with a clear brand that "shouts" the value they put in their volunteers and clients.

A question for you-


~In August - the topic is the element of branding, "image."~

Looking for Teen Volunteers

Rich Sundeen and Sally Raskoff of the University of Southern California, have been studying and writing about youth volunteers for ten years. Their latest article, "Ports of Entry and Obstacles: Teenagers' Access to Volunteer Activities," appears in winter issue of the journal Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Here are some tidbits from the article.

Ports of Entry-

How the Teen Found out About the Volunteer Activity
 40% asked to volunteer by someone
  •  a friend asked
  •  a teacher asked
  •  a family member or relative asked
  •  someone at church or synagogue asked
  •  employer or someone at work
34% had a family member or friend either active in the organization or benefiting from the organization  
32% entered volunteer activity by participation in a group  
  •  Churches/synagogues
  •  School
  •  Other volunteer organization

 Obstacles to Volunteering-

Reasons given for teens not volunteering
  • Personal schedule is too full
  • No interest
  • No one asked
  • My age
  • No organization asked
  • No transportation
  • Didn't know how to become involved
    • The most commonly cited reason for not volunteering, full schedule, was correlated with older, white teens with parents who volunteer.
    • Males and older teens are more likely to indicate no interest in volunteering.
    • 13% of non-volunteers, especially those who are female, nonwhite, and younger claim they do not know how to get involved.

What's With This Faith-Based Initiative?


The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives was created as soon as George W. Bush hit the Oval Office in the White House. It opened officially a month after the inauguration, on February 20, 2001. Headed by John J. Dilulio Jr, its purpose is to give more money to faith-based and community institutions to help solve some of the nations most serious social problems.

The intent of the initiative is to expand the types of services that can be provided by religious organizations. Under existing law, faith-based organizations can receive funds for only a few types of programs, job training and drug abuse, being two of them. The new effort would expand the list.

Congress began hearings on the issue in early May and quickly found critics at both ends of the political spectrum. From the political right and left there has been a gathering storm of criticism of the plan. For example, the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination, an alliance of religious, public policy, labor, and other organizations, produced a petition signed by 850 clergy. The petition called on Congress and the President to reject any legislation that allows faith-based groups to discriminate against employees of social ­service programs on the basis of religion.

This type of discrimination would allow groups to hire workers based on their religious beliefs and would be legal under a bill proposed by Representative J.C. Watts (R-OK) and Tony P. Hall (D-OH). The opposition to this by religious leaders says it turns back the clock on progress made in civil rights, establishing a "perilous" precedent.

Research on existing programs funded by government and operated by faith-based organizations is mixed. In one study in the 1980s it was determined that despite strict rules about the separation of church and state, the faith based groups managed to interject their religious perspective and language throughout the program. Another study of social services in nine states reported that faith-based groups did not lose their mission or violate the civil rights of either clients or employees.

Volunteer Management Resource Gold Mine

CYBERVPM is home to the best online discussion of all things volunteer. You can learn how to subscribe by visiting the VT "portal" page Internet Resources. In addition to monitoring the active and spirited listserv, Nan Hawthorne, maintains a Web site with some of the best and most diverse resources for people who work with volunteers. Here are some samples. We suggest a visit.

  •  Free e-greeting cards
  •  Free printable posters
  •  Volunteer recognition gift mall

Saying NO

There are times in the life of those who work with volunteers that the answer is NO. This can be challenging. Here are some steps to make it tolerable.

  1. Start by reviewing the request. This review demonstrates to the listener that you have listened and really understand the request.
  2. Take the request apart. Break the request into pieces. Sometimes there are parts of what is being asked for that can be accommodated. As an example, "I want you run this committee, select the other members and work out the details, but I must maintain the financial responsibility."
  3. Explain why you are saying no. Be honest, calm and thoughtful in explaining why you are saying no. Keep it short, do not go on and on. Have confidence in your no.
  4. Try to end on a hopeful note. Do not make empty promises, but provide an overview of what events might make you think differently about the request.

IYV 2001

The Council of Europe, a 41-member parliament, adopted a recommendation to urge member governments to promote "pro" volunteer policies and remove legal obstacles that prohibit people from volunteering. It also called on European countries to declare a European Day of Volunteering, to raise awareness about volunteerism.

Volunteer Canada hosts the 2001 Canadian Forum on Volunteerism in Vancouver, BC, August 16-18. The forum will bring together hundreds of volunteers to debate a series of declarations on volunteerism in Canada. The hope is that the declarations will generate insights and energy around volunteerism. For more information check out http://www.iyvcanada.org.


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 Crystal Hill at 202-729-8000.


By calling 1-800-VOLUNTEER in the U.S., individuals can be connected to their local volunteer center.

This is a national interactive call routing system designed to get volunteers connected to people who can help them volunteer.

Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.

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