VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


Visit this page for ideas, suggestions and hints to build recruitment capacity.
~June 2001~
  • Branding and Your Volunteer Program - Part One
  • Developing Volunteer Leaders
  • Seniors of the Future

Branding and Your Volunteer Program
Part One

Corporate branding is all the rage. Sony's doing it, so are Disney and Proctor and Gamble. It is certainly more than slapping a new logo on a flyer or finding a catch phrase to describe the program. And why bother doing it in the first place? Branding is more than a logo or consistent colors on all documents. The next four issues of Volunteer Today provide a "short" course on branding.

We begin with the question, "Why brand?" This sets the framework for future articles. It might help you begin a conversation in your organization about your "brand." After all, the organizational "brand" influences success at recruiting and keeping volunteers. It is also important for the volunteer program to have its own "brand."

The next three issues provide you the opportunity to assess your brand. It addresses the three elements of branding, values, image, and culture. Each article defines the element and then asks questions to help the reader assess progress toward effective branding.

Why Create a Brand?

Branding has an impact on the volunteer program. It can make finding and keeping volunteers easy or hard. The decisions about branding rarely lie in the hands of the volunteer managers, but conducting an informal assessment of the elements that that make up a brand can help the organization move forward, in a way that aids the growth and development of the volunteer program. And, it is certainly true that any assessment of the organizational brand requires the presence of the supervisor of volunteers as part of the team.

The brand is not just the logo or color scheme of the latest organization report; it is aligning three elements, values, culture, and image, so the brand is integrated with all the parts of the organizations. Thus when people see the brand, there is a perception about the organization that is congruent with values, image and culture.

~ Next month: Assessing the Values of the Organization ~

Developing Volunteer Leaders

Finding and keeping volunteer leaders can be challenging. Here are six tips to help.

Tip 1: Get support from the top - volunteer leaders need to know that the top echelon of the organization supports their work and efforts. This means the executive director or administrator need regular briefings on the work of leadership volunteers.
Tip 2: Match leader competencies to organizational strategies - if the organization is undergoing change, then select leaders to match the skills needed to help weather the storms of change. Volunteer leaders are doomed to failure if there is mismatches between what they are good at doing and the needs of the organization.
Tip 3: Develop leaders over time - leaders can be brought along by serving in positions where their talents and deficiencies can be observed. Giving people the opportunity to grow helps the leader and the organization. Start volunteers out in a leader-in-training position, with an experienced leader.
Tip 4: Create a system for leadership development - make sure that all committees have leaders in training. Make it known that people move up through an identified process and not just because they are related to the Mayor.
Tip 5: Train leaders - leaders are not born knowing how to delegate or run an effective meeting. In the leader development system, training should be the norm. Bring in outside experts to train leaders on how to be effective in their assignment.
Tip 6: See leadership development as a long-term process - leader development systems often last after the volunteer manager or executive director has left his/her position. So record what is done for a successor.

Seniors of the Future

The baby boom is moving closer to the years of retirement. The median age of the population is rising. In 1900 one in 25 people were over the age of 65, by 2050 it would be one in five. The over 65 population will double between 2000 ­ 2050. Here are some forecasts by futurists of what to expect from this demographic group.

  1. It is likely seniors will simply change jobs at 65. There is new legislation, which allows seniors between ages 60 ­ 65 to work without impacting their social security benefits.
  2. Health plans will encourage seniors to stay fit through subsidizing memberships in health clubs. Currently 2/3 of seniors engages in regular physical exercise, that is double the number for younger adults.
  3. Technology use by seniors is expected to grow, especially for those in rural or hard to reach area. It will be such things as pagers, which allow seniors to get to appointments or take medication at a pre-arranged time. Currently about 25% of seniors between ages 60 ­ 69 own computers. That percentage is expected to increase over time.
  4. Seniors will have the most power of any demographic group in the political arena. Seniors vote and support programs and issues about which they are well informed.
  5. Four of the five television programs most frequently watched by seniors are some type of news program. This is a well-informed group. These are also people who read, with 87% reading at least one daily newspaper.
  6. Aging baby boomers are likely to force changes in health care policy. For example, few have prepared for the expense of long-term care, and Medicare only covers about 53% of all health care costs.
  7. Nearly 90% of baby boomers say that taking care of their aging parents is among their top three life priorities.
  8. Less than 25% of seniors expect to move in with their children; while more than half of baby boomers expect their aging parents to live with them as some point.


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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