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Train Your Peers
The Association for Volunteer Administration will
hold its International Conference on Volunteer Administration in Cincinnati,
OH, October 15-18, 2003. They are currently seeking proposal for workshops
and seminars at that event. If you are interested in training your peers
this is the opportunity. Information on submitting proposals can be
found at the AVA Web site. http://www.AVAintl.org The proposals are
due December 13, 2002.
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Strategies to Deal with Difficult People
Working with others is always a challenge,
but some folks corner the market on challenge. Here are five types
of people found in most work places. And, they can be paid staff or
a volunteer. There are tips to help deal with them. Chose a difficult
|People Who Create
Conflict in Groups
- Focus on ideas and not on the person
- Make clear that differences of opinion are helpful
- Use techniques to make sure everyone in the group has a
- Begin by noting the things on which the group agrees
- State clearly the area of disagreement. Give all sides the
opportunity to present their views.
- Use brainstorm techniques to move the views closer together
|People Who Interrupt
- Address the person who is interrupting and tell them another
person needs to finish their thoughts
- Ask the person to scribe for the group. This is a chance
to practice listening skills.
- Take them aside, privately, and tell them you need their
help to help you listen more effectively
- This includes rolling eyes, head shaking, fidgeting, side
comments, or conversations.
- Ignore it
- Be quiet and look at the person, with no comments
- Describe what you see to the person (without being judgmental)
and ask the person to help you understand what is going on
and if they have ideas to share
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|Person who Talks
- Ask someone else to ask another person in the group a
- Respect the differences in people, with some needing to
think aloud to make their contribution.
- Ask close-ended questions
- Ask anyone who has not spoken what they think
- Build on what the "talker" has said and move
to a new topic.
- Ask to hear from others
- Avoid eye contact with this person when asking questions
- Use structured activities so everyone has a chance to
participate. This is a good place for team discussion.
- If it is a recurring group meeting, as the group to evaluate
the "balance of participation" in the group. Ask
them to help devise strategies to improve the balance.
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Volunteer Program Evaluation Series Announced
|MBA Publishing, the owner of Volunteer Today,
announced in November the launch of a new online series to aid
volunteer managers in evaluating theirprograms. The Volunteer
Program Evaluation Series (VPES) begins with four evaluations;
Recruitment, Organizational Readiness, Volunteer and Staff Relations,
and Risk Management. For a small fee subscribers can download
an evaluation instrument designed to help assess a program and
make plans for future improvements.
A unique feature of this series is the availability of consultants
to the organization purchasing the evaluation. A package arrangement
allows the buyer to receive the evaluation, a bibliography, and
a one-hour phone consultation with the author following the completion
of the evaluation. The fees have been kept below $100. In order
to promote widespread use of the instruments.
|The Volunteer Program Evaluation Series will
eventually have over 25 separate evaluation tools to assess all
aspects of volunteer program management for nonprofits, government
based programs, and corporate volunteer programs. The nine authors
are a line-up of experts noted world wide for their training and
consulting skills, and experience across the field of volunteerism.
Visit the VPES Web site to
see the authors, learn more about the program, and sign up for
your first evaluation.
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Who Is Measuring What?
Accountability in many nonprofit and voluntary programs
is being done through performance measures. The organization usually
devises a pre-determined standard of service or impact and measures
for that. A new report, based on 1998 data, from Independent Sector,
shows that non-profits and religious organizations are deeply involved
in this type of accountability. 85% of US nonprofits and 72% of religious
congregations evaluate their programs.
The rub in all this good news is who is measuring and what they are
measuring. Secular organizations were twice as likely to measure things
like quality of programs and types of people served. Arts organizations
are more likely to evaluate their programs than human service organizations.
Secular and religious organizations do aim their evaluations at measuring
the changes the program brought about. 76% for secular organizations
and 65% of religious organizations.
While the efforts at measuring outcomes are growing, it is still focused
on a "numbers game," quantitative versus qualitative. Organizations
indicated that they do not measure impact because they lack knowledge
of how to evaluate efforts, there is limited capacity to measure,
it is difficult to track people once they leave a program, and computers
and software to track results is often not available.
For those organizations wrestling with "performance measures"
there is ample information in two reports on this topic.
- Highlights of the Independent Sector report, "Balancing
the Scale: Measuring the Roles and Contributions of Nonprofit Organizations
and Religious Congregations," is on their Web site http://www.independentsector.org.
- Another report on this topic comes from the Urban Institute.
"Making Use of Outcome Information for Improving Services:
Recommendations for Nonprofit Organizations," is online at
http://www.urban.org. It can also be purchased for $5.00 from the
Urban Institute's Publications Sales Office 877-847-7377.
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Should the Volunteer Program Measure Performance?
Program performance measures are being used in most
non-profit and religiously based social welfare programs. Arts organizations
are evaluating impact, too. So, why should the volunteer program get
involved in this measurement? After all the task of the volunteer is
to provide the service or effort to allow a program to go forward. So
why measure what they do? Here are some issues to ponder.
Measuring is good business
||Knowing the impact of volunteer involvement can
and should impact the "bottom line" or the budget for
the volunteer outreach efforts. One volunteer manager, at a government-based
program, converts volunteer hours into FTEs (Full Time Equivalent).
This is a full time employee designation. Her manager and administrator
can see in stark clarity the "value added"element of volunteer
Measuring is time intensive
||This is a true statement. However, this is a
perfect task for a homebound volunteer or an Internet volunteer
position. An advisory committee needs to establish such things as
standards, data to be collected, collection methods, reporting timelines,
and reporting formats to guide those doing the actual work.
Volunteers don't control the outcome of programs, why should they
be held accountable?
||Volunteers are usually only one piece of a program,
but often an important one. By measuring their activity and impact,
decision makers can see the essential element that volunteers provide.
As an example, a volunteer manager started assessing performance
of volunteers through a review of the position description with
volunteers doing the tasks. She learned that a position originally
designated for quiet activities such as reading and conversation
had changed to include lifting people who were receiving medical
treatment. This "measure" had paid staff, administrators,
volunteers, and the volunteer manager scrambling to re-think the
actual service being expected and given.
If I measure, the numbers or reports can be used against my program.
||Yes, that is true, but it can also be used for
your program. It is much easier, in times of economic hardship,
to eliminate a program about which you know nothing, than one you
know is struggling to meet certain criteria. Measurements are visibility
and can sometimes highlight the consequences of past inattention
to the volunteer program.
What if the standards of measurement are unfair?
||That is the reason to set an advisory group in
place to help determine the elements of measuring. It is also useful
to talk to others who do the same thing in other parts of your community,
state/province, country, or worldwide. Find out how others are measuring
and apply to your program.
This seems awfully big and expensive.
||That is why you want to start small. Do not begin
by measuring everything. Select a program or aspect of a program
to measure. Test it, then test it again and allow it to develop
incrementally. Once there is some positive experience with measurements
then other aspects of the volunteer program can be measured.
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WSU ONLINE CERTIFICATE IN VOLUNTEER
Washington State University offers a Volunteer
Management Certification Program through the Internet. Individuals around
the world can earn a certificate in managing or coordinating volunteers,
without leaving home.
For more information, visit Volunteer Today's Portal
site, Internet Resources. Look for the Washington State University listing.
There is a hot link to their Web site.
ASSOCIATION FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT VOLUNTEER MANAGERS
The National Association of Volunteer Programs
in Local Government (NAVPLG) is an association of administrators, coordinators
and directors of volunteer programs in local government. Its purpose
is to strengthen volunteer programs in local government through leadership,
advocacy, networking and information exchange. NAAVPLG is an affiliate
of the National Association of Counties and is seeking affiliate status
with the National League of Cities.
Cost is $20 for individuals and $75 for group local
government membership. An affiliate membership is $25 and is intended
for those who are not local government members but may have an interest
in the group. There is a quarterly newsletter, national network, and
access to NACo's Volunteerism Project.
For more information contact Glenis Chapin, who
is a member of the Executive Committee. She can be reached by phone
at 503-588-7990. Be sure to mention you read about this in Volunteer
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