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~March 2001~
  • Minnesota Rocks
  • IYV2001-International Activities
  • IYV2001-US Activities
  • Volunteering by Seniors in Arizona
  • Using Technology: Big and Small

Minnesota Rocks

They have Garrison Keilor and Jesse Ventura and one of the highest rates of volunteerism in the US. 66% of their citizens over the age of 18 volunteer. This donated service totals $6.5 billion annually. 76% of people age 35-44 volunteer. Women volunteer at a higher rate than men, 77% to 60% do.

A 32-page report discusses in detail volunteer contributions, dollar value of time donated, trends and challenges to the field, and makes recommendations for the future. To request a complete copy Call the Minnesota Office of Citizenship and Volunteer Services 651-296-473.

IYV2001-International Activities

Here are some activities around the world to celebrate IYV2001:

The Netherlands-

For more information: Germien Cox; gxoc@nov.nl or http://www.volunteer.nl.


Contact: Viola Krebs, viola@icvolunteers.org or http://www.icvolunteers.org.


Contact: http://www.vols.org.uk.

IYV2001-US Activities

The International Year of Volunteers 2001 United States Committee is off to a good start. There is a Web site, http://www.iyv2001us.org, where you can register your activities for the coming year.

A primary goal of the US Committee, co-lead by the Points of Light Foundation and the Association of Junior Leagues International, is to engage organizations and individuals. The Web site allows anyone to register as a partner, search a database for the activities of other partners, or register activities and events. You can receive a newsletter, order recognition and celebration products, and receive booklets to guide in planning local events. There are also links to other sites related to IYV2001.


For information contact http://www.community.hei.com/'volunteer-hi.



For more information contact Chuck Hennigan, chennigan@lfd3.thurston.wa.us.

Volunteering by Seniors in Arizona

Young retirees in Sun City are bowing out of volunteering. An article in the Arizona Republic, December 27, 2000, reported on the decline in volunteering by new arrivals to Sun City, a mecca for the active retiree.

According to the paper, the new retirees have energy and skills, but no interest in serving in the volunteer police force, cleanup crews, or other various community councils. If they do volunteer it is in "measured doses."

The residents of Sun City noticed this trend first, but now the nonprofit and volunteer programs in the area, hospitals and schools especially, are seeing a dramatic drop in available volunteers. The director of a volunteer placement service said, "A lot of people seem to be more interested in the kind of experience where they can pick up a job, enjoy it, feel good about it and then leave it behind."

A gerentologist with Arizona State University says that the change in volunteering is a reflection of generational changes. Older seniors, born during the depression, are committed to their communities. Younger residents retired early are likely to have a part-time job, and make different choices for their free time.

The implications of this Arizona trend have a national impact. Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, said, "I don't know why we'd think the baby boomers would turn over a new leaf upon retirement when they've failed every kind of civic test they'd had to pass in their lives."


Lacretia Bacon, Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Phoenix, Human Services Department provided this article to Volunteer Today.

Using Technology: Big and Small

Technology in the volunteer sector is in embryonic form. Most programs use a computer to manage data on volunteers and scheduling, but the use beyond that is not great. The Center for Excellence of San Jose, CA asked some voluntary organizations to share how they are using technology. The sample reported in The Chronicle of Philanthropy (1/11/01), is a snapshot of how technology can help programs grow and what it takes to make that growth happen.

  • An organization with one full time staff and three part-time, parlayed a hardware and software donation from IBM and a private party into a streamlined operation. Mailing a newsletter was days in production prior to the arrival of technology. A high end Pentium computer, top-line printer, scanner, and current mail merge software meant that mailings were done in minutes, not days. The organization also does its own desktop publishing for events, has an electronic newsletter, and e-mail distribution list for its events.
  • One mid-size organization hired a consultant to help with such things as a general ledger system for finances and a check writing process. The consultant was often unavailable and final "hopped a motorcycle for Alaska." The organization realized that it needed to train its own staff and increase the responsibility for the programs to the entire staff. The organization set some agreed-upon procedures for everyone on staff and volunteers. New employees were well trained in the program and also in the internal procedures. After five years the organization has spectacularly accurate information on participants in its programs and fund development information is well organized and easily accessible.
  • Two organizations, a youth group and social welfare program agreed that customized software was a waste of time and money. Those customized programs required too much outside help and too much time of the internal technology staff. The directors of both organizations said 90% of the work of nonprofit and volunteer programs could be done by off the shelf software. In a comment on how they achieved a high level of technology use among staff and volunteers they said a skilled project supervisor over saw the move into the technological era.
  • Many of the programs responding to the survey on the use of technology said they began by forming a committee of staff and volunteers to determine the needs. Even if technology services existed, the team gathered lots of input from staff and volunteers about what services would enhance their work. Uniformly the groups said planning was essential to success. Administrators need to give the process a high priority. Time is needed to do it well.


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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