VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

~ July 2001 ~
  • Teaching Volunteers to Be Part of the Team
  • "Volunteer Ottawa"
  • Not All Policies Are Created Equal

Teaching Volunteers to Be Part of the Team

Volunteers can become frustrated in working with staff or other volunteers. Here are some tips that can help them become part of a departmental or work group team.

Ban blaming
Start by helping the volunteers see how blaming people can prevent everyone from finding solutions. Better to adopt the "Let it go" attitude.

 Be direct.
Explain that everyone connect to the organization is busy and subtle hints rarely do the trick, if someone needs help. Help the volunteer learn how to ask for something in a pro-active and courteous manner.

Once someone has asked for something the next tactic might be to negotiate. Helping the volunteer see that the getting part of what they requested is a positive sign that what he/she requests is important and not even employees get what they want all the time.

 Say less.
Help the volunteer to understand that saying less and listening more might help them understand the work unit. By understanding the people with whom they work, it is easier to make requests at the appropriate time.

 Let it go.
Sometimes it is useful to just let the request go. Ask the volunteer to examine his/her motivation for the request. They also need to take into account the demands on the staff and now is not the right time to make a request.

"Volunteer Ottawa"


Throughout the month of JULY, Ottawa LCBO outlets will dedicate the proceeds of their check-out coin boxes to "Volunteer Ottawa".

Volunteer Ottawa recruits volunteers for hundreds of local agencies. Volunteer Ottawa also provides resources and training for local managers of volunteer resources programs, and advocates on behalf of community organizations and their volunteers when issues arise that could affect them. Volunteer Ottawa, a member agency of the United Way, is committed to building the capacity of our community through strong leadership and quality services.

Please, throughout the month of July, give generously when you are "stocking up" for the cottage or the patio. And remember - don't drink and drive!

Toutes les succursales de la Commission des liqueurs (LCBO) d'Ottawa désigneront à "Bénévoles Ottawa" l'ensemble des dons amassés dans ses boîtes de dons aux caisses tout au long du mois de juillet.

Bénévoles Ottawa recrute des bénévoles pour plus de 350 organisations communautaires de la région. Bénévoles Ottawa offre aussi toute une gamme de ressources et de la formation aux gestionnaires de services bénévoles. Bénévoles Ottawa, un organisme membre de Centraide se consacre à renforcer le secteur bénévole en réunissant des gens, des groupes et le monde des affaires afin de répondre aux besoins de la communauté.

Nous vous encourageons, lors de vos achats du mois de juillet, d'encourager Bénévoles Ottawa et les centaines de groupes communautaires qu'il chapeaute en donnant généreusement. Surtout n'oubliez pas - l'acool au volant n'est pas une combinaison gagnante!!! Soyez prudent!


Nathalie Charette
Manager - Educational Programs and Services / Gestionnaire - programmes et
services éducatifs
Volunteer Ottawa / Bénévoles Ottawa
suite 402, boul. 2197 Riverside Drive, Ottawa ON K1H 7X3
no. de téléphone / phone number : 613-736-5266 extension/poste 229
no. de télécopieur / fax number : 613-736-5262

We wish you a Happy International Year of Volunteers 2001!
Célébrons ensemble 2001 - l'Année internationale des volontaires!

Not All Policies Are Created Equal

Volunteer programs need policies. Those statements that outline the "rules" for volunteers, paid staff who work with the volunteers, and clients or members. In most training programs the "Volunteer Handbook" or Policies handout are treated equally. Here is a guide to help you divide your "policies" into categories, so volunteers know which ones mean they will be asked to leave the organization and which are guidelines for the way work is done.

How to policies - These are policies that spell out how a task is carried out. For example, someone serving at an information desk might learn that the policy is to answer all questions as quickly as possible. This requires them to be familiar with the most commonly asked questions. Not knowing an answer does not mean they will lose their position. It is a "customer service" guide that everyone in the organization strives to achieve.

Boundary policies - Boundary policies clarify the position of volunteers within the organization. A boundary policy might explain things volunteers can and cannot do with clients, members or patrons. For example, tutors might be told that giving gifts to students is not allowed by a school-mentoring program. (Imagine the competition between children to get the tutor who brings the best presents???!!). Again the volunteer who does this, forgetting the policy, will receive a reminder, but not lose his/her job.

Timing policies - Many volunteer programs have policies that require volunteers to submit reports by the end of each month. Do they? Sometimes, sometimes not. Do we "fire" them? Highly unlikely. In programs like Hospice where those reports are shared with other volunteers or staff, and can have a financial impact, it is more important than in other types of program. Training can sort this out.

Priority policies - This is a policy that takes precedence over all other policies. Suppose a policy exists that volunteers with any types of criminal history are inappropriate for the program. If it comes out that an otherwise excellent volunteer has a criminal history, the person must be separated from the program. These are the policies that are grounds for immediate dismissal.


Close to 200 colleges and universities offer academic programs on nonprofit and volunteer sector management. They are usually master's degree programs, but not always. American Humanics sponsors undergraduate programs, as well. If you are looking to push out the professional development window, consider taking a course at one of these colleges. A full list resides at http://pirate.shu.edu/~mirabero. Thank Roseanne Mirabella, of Seton Hall University for keeping up with this list.

Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.

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