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She is an experienced volunteer manager, consultant and trainer. If you ask her...she will answer ...read below for questions and answers related to volunteer management and administration.

February 2001 Questions

Dear Connie:
It has been the practice at the history museum where I am volunteer coordinator to use volunteers to staff a coat checkroom for special evening functions for which the facility was rented. The tips for the coat check are then used to fund volunteer field trips. I wonder what you think of this. Thanks!



Dear C:
On its face, your question seems fine to me. But, I'm guessing there must be some problem with it or you wouldn't have asked me, right? Does this money need to be "credited" against the costs of the event instead? If so, then do that but continue to have the field trips sponsored by your organization so that volunteers don't lose one of your benefits of volunteering. Do volunteers want to use the money in some other way instead of field trips? If so, then poll volunteers to find out how best the money could be utilized. As you see, I'm reading between the lines. So, if there's more to your question, then let me know.


Dear Connie:
Could you direct me to sources of information concerning the mentoring of voluntary community leaders? By Community Leaders I mean those leaders in the community that are in non-paid voluntary roles (neighborhood issue groups, charity boards, etc.). By informal mentoring, I mean those relationships that are outside of any formal organization's programs that brings two people together primarily for the general education of the lesser killed/knowledgeable person (my specific interest is a focus on leadership skills and abilities). The mentor uses a number of roles depending upon the needs of the mentee, including tutoring, coaching, sponsoring, etc. I would appreciate any observations, referrals or other information that you could offer. Thank you!

Carl in Seattle


Dear Carl:
While I don't know of a FORMAL leadership mentoring program that is national in scope, the National Center for Nonprofit Boards in Washington, DC, and the Compass Point Nonprofit Services in San Francisco are two of the best resources you'll find for leadership training, mentoring, information, etc. Their respective Web sites are http://www.ncnb.org and http://www.compasspoint.org. They both offer books, publications, workshops, newsletters, consultants, and programs on nonprofit leadership.


Dear Connie:
Do you know the theme for the National Volunteer appreciation for 2001? I am starting my planning and scheduling the entertainment that I might need. Thank for you attention to this matter.



Dear Nylda:
The theme for 2001 National Volunteer Week (April 22-28) is "Change the World -- Volunteer!" This theme coincides with the theme for the 2001 International Year of the Volunteer. To receive a free promotional kit for National Volunteer Week, visit the Points of Light Foundation's Web site at http://www.pointsoflight.org. Click on "Programs and Initiatives" and then on "National Volunteer Week." The promotional kit contains press releases, activities, sources of recognition gifts, and more. For more information on International Year of the Volunteer, visit http://www.iyv2001.org.


Dear Connie:
We are a non-profit that provides outpatient counseling for adults. We are in the process of instituting criminal background checks on all volunteer therapists as part of a grant requirement. I am looking for information and examples of policies, forms, procedures, etc. Can you point me in any direction? I am currently trying to get the same from agencies in our area. Thanks.



Dear Judy:
First, check with your local law enforcement authorities and ask for guidance on volunteer screening. Most states and municipalities have some guidelines and can offer forms, information, advice, etc.

Next, check out these Web sites for information and guidance:

http://www.cybervpm.com -- Click on "The Basics for Volunteer Programs" and then on "The Sections" and then on "Screening Volunteers." You'll find an excerpt from Linda Graff's book "Beyond Police Checks" and information on how to order the book. Also, there are links on this page to application forms from other organizations.

http://www.energizeinc.com -- At the top of the home page, click on "Library." Then scroll down the library page to the "Risk and Liability" section and click on "Step 2: Screening". This is an excerpt from the book "No Surprises: Controlling Risks in Volunteer Programs." You can also order this book from this page.

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

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Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.