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.
~ May 2001 Questions ~
  • Salary Information for Volunteer Program Managers
  • Volunteer Release of Liability Statement
  • Volunteer Rescue Squad Recruiting
  • Volunteer Fundraising Chairman Advice
  • Why Volunteers?

Dear Connie:
I am a volunteer program manager and my annual performance evaluation is coming up soon. Of course I hope to receive a salary increase based on my performance this past year. I'd like to know what people in my professional are earning. Do you know where I can find information on the salaries nationwide for positions like mine? Thanks for your help!

Hard Working in Michigan


Dear Hard Working:
The "Nonprofit Times" published the results of its annual salary survey in the February 2001 issue. You can read the complete results on their Web site http://www.nptimes.com. The overall average of projected pay for 2001 for Director of Volunteers is $35,285. Here are breakdowns by organization budget size and region of the country:

Director of Volunteers By Organization Budget Size:  
 Overall average  $35,285
 $500,000-$999,999  $24,274
 $1M-$9.9M  $31,055
 $10M-$49.9M  $45,006
 $50M or more  $62,139


Director of Volunteers By Region of the U.S.:  
West $37,415
 Southwest  $37,433
North Central $37,720
Central $35,831
South $31,149
Mid-Atlantic $35,383
 New England  $34,284

Hi Connie!
I am assisting a small grassroots nonprofit that operates a recycling site on Saturdays. They use a great deal of volunteers and would like to develop an informed consent statement for volunteers to sign. Do you have any suggestions for appropriate language for the statement?



Dear Shelly:
Because this is a legal issue and subject to both state and local laws, I can't advise you on specific language. An informed consent or release of liability document is something upon which you will want to seek legal advice, perhaps from the attorney for the organization you're assisting. Generally, a release of liability spells out the types of activities or events that might occur during the course of volunteering and seeks release from the volunteer of any liability of the organization. Sometimes the document contains a section with a medical emergency consent that allows the organization to provide emergency medical treatment in a licensed medical facility by a licensed physician should the volunteer require it during the course of the volunteer activities. It may also ask for any pre-existing medical conditions that the organization should be aware of, such as allergies and/or drug allergies.

I suggest that you check to see if the organization requires its employees to sign a release of liability. Generally volunteers aren't asked to sign anything that employees don't sign. The organization may already be using a form of release that can be adapted for volunteers. Finally, a release of liability is no substitute for good training and safety assessments. Effective, regular training and ongoing evaluation of all safety measures will go a long way toward avoiding accidents in the first place.

Dear Connie:
I have been given the task of acting public relations officer for my Volunteer Rescue Squad. I need some ideas on how to attract new members. We need people to cover calls during the day in my county and the citizens are winding up having to pay big money for a paid service to transport. Also, because of the shortage of volunteer [volunteer] members, it is putting a lot of strain on the same six or seven people who run the program seven days a week so that we can make the majority of the calls.


Dear H.S.:
Fortunately for the citizens in your county, there are "six or seven people who run the program seven days a week"! I'm sure they appreciate your work, but I'll bet it goes mostly unnoticed. Recruiting volunteers for the rescue squad is a combination of having an informative and inviting message and then delivering that message to the people who can help you.

As my grandmother used to say, "Don't hide your light under a bushel basket." Get the word out to the community about what the Squad is, what it does, and how that it relies solely on volunteers to deliver its services. In this same message, tell people about the volunteer opportunities that are available ­ by function, duties, and time commitment. Describe the training all volunteers receive and the benefits of being a member of the Volunteer Rescue Squad.

Here are a few delivery techniques for getting your message out. I'm sure you'll think of many more:

To learn more about recruiting and retention, there are some excellent free and inexpensive resources available at these Web sites:

Volunteer Today -- http://www.volunteertoday.com
CyberVPM -- http://www.cybervpm.com
Energize, Inc. -- http://www.energizeinc.com
Merrill Associates -- http://www.merrillassoc.com

Dear Connie:
I have a new, very eager fundraising volunteer chairman who would like some guidelines on his new position. Where is the best place to find that info? Thanks!

D.W., executive director


Dear D.W.:
You didn't mention a fundraising event, so I'm going to assume that this gentleman chairs the board-level fundraising (or development) committee. Directing the board's participation in ensuring adequate financial resources for your organization is the responsibility of this committee. Its members work with you to implement a development plan. The committee oversees the board's own fund-raising activities by establishing guidelines for individual board member giving, soliciting gifts from board members, identifying prospective donors, and working with staff to coordinate board member solicitation of prospects. In small organizations, this committee often organizes fundraising events with the assistance of community volunteers. The commitment and effectiveness of a board of directors are measured in part by its fund raising involvement. The board must set examples with its own giving; influence others to give; establish the tone for the organization's fund raising; and ensure the availability of staff and resources for fund-raising activities.

Here are two good resources on the board's role in fundraising:

Dear Connie:
I am presently in an HR course at a northwest college and we are being tasked with finding the pros and cons of having hired help as compared to volunteerism. Where can I find statistical data that will help me explain happens in organizations that are using either hired help or volunteers or both?



Dear Michael:
To understand the magnitude of volunteerism in this country, visit the Independent Sector Web site at http://www.independentsector.org and explore the results of their "Giving and Volunteering" survey. While I can't give you the specific resource you're looking for, I can provide four very good reasons to utilize volunteers to accomplish an organization's mission:

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.

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