Would you please refer me to any information on needs assessments? Nancy Macduff talked about it briefly at a recent Victoria BC volunteer conference and I'd like to learn more.
Planning for volunteers in an agency (needs assessment) is an important step toward a successful volunteer program! I suggest you visit CyberVPM.com and do some research there. Click on "Basics of Volunteer Management" on the home page. Then click on "The Sections" and scroll down to "Volunteer/Staff Relationships."
A good place to start your work is to assess staff attitudes about volunteers. The responses will tell you how staff members are likely to react to the inclusion of volunteers in your agency. Some topics to cover are:
The next step would be to "consult" the staff to determine how they might best utilize volunteers. The responses will help you put together volunteer jobs that will be productive for both staff and volunteers. Some questions to ask are:
A good resource is a book you'll find at http://www.energizeinc.com. It's called "Volunteer Management: Mobilizing All the Resources of the Community" by Steve McCurley and Rick Lynch ($25.00). It offers a thorough examination of every facet of a successful volunteer program, from planning and organizing through measuring effectiveness. Highlighted throughout this manual are insightful quotes by practitioners and consultants in the field. An extensive bibliography, a list of organizations and Web sites, sample volunteer management policies, and numerous sample forms and worksheets are included. The chapters cover everything from An Introduction to Volunteer Involvement to Planning a High-Impact Volunteer Program, Organizing a Volunteer Program (this is where you'll find information on surveying staff), Creating Motivating Volunteer Jobs, Recruiting, Screening, Interviewing, and much more.
Hello! I was cruising the Internet for ideas on creating a simple volunteer evaluation form for our nonprofit program. Do you have any samples to send on? Any feedback would be appreciated!
This is the perfect question for CyberVPM, the listserv for volunteer program managers. I suggest you join the list at http://www.cybervpm.com and then post your question. I'll bet you get more good responses than you can even use!
In the meantime, here's my Top 10 List on Surveys:
I am just starting a volunteer program at our nonprofit organization and thought you may be able to give me some tips on writing a cover letter to pair with our application. What should I say and what needs to be stated? Should I explain a little about our company in it or keep it short? Any information you would be able to give me would be very helpful.
The cover letter will tell a great deal about your organization and your volunteer program by the way it looks and what it contains. My suggestions are:
I coordinate the recruitment and training of volunteers who serve in our respite program. These volunteers go into the homes of seniors who are receiving full-time care from a family member and relieve the family member for 3-4 hours/week. We currently offer a 12-hour training to all our volunteers, but find that few of them attend the full 12 hours. So we are talking about offering alternatives to those who can't attend the training sessions (i.e.: watch videos on the topic). My question is in two parts:
1. Is there an industry standard for the number of training hours a volunteer needs to complete to do in-home kinds of work? If so, where would I find it? I am calling agencies in my area that provides similar services to discuss their ways of handling this.
2. What are my program's liability risks if we place volunteers
who haven't completed the full 12- hour training but substituted
it with videos and post-training tests to prove they've watched
Any information you can offer me would be greatly appreciated.
First, to my knowledge there is no industry standard for the number of hours required to train volunteers to do in-home work. I think you are wise to check with your colleagues locally. Sometimes there's an "implied" standard in each city among similar agencies.
Second, I think it would be very difficult to assess your liability for volunteers who have completed "video" training versus "live" training.
Before you change your training completely, I suggest you talk to some of the volunteers who don't attend the full 12 hours. Find out what's working and what's not. It may be the time of day or day of the week that you offer the training. Or, some of it may seem redundant and the volunteers don't feel they need repetitious training. I have found that the answers usually come from the volunteers themselves. So, ask them!
Next, I would consider a combination a "live" training AND video AND reading. This varies the learning techniques (everyone takes on new ideas differently) and it allows volunteers to do some of the training work at home and at times convenient for them.
Whatever you decide to do, I suggest that you make attendance at all training sessions and completion of all training materials (video, workbooks, etc.) MANDATORY and not give volunteers assignments until they have completed the training. Making training mandatory is the best way to maintain the quality of the services your organization provides. When you make assignments to volunteers who haven't completed the training, you're sending the message to all volunteers that the training isn't all that important, which is exactly the opposite of what you want them to understand.