VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for
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.
Send questions to AskConnieP@cs.com
to 2002 Archives
| ~ July 2002 ~ Topics
- Volunteers and Fundraising -- A Poll
- International Volunteer Opportunities
- Volunteer Appreciation Poem
- To Levy Membership Dues -- or Not!
- Volunteers and Releases of Liability
A Question from Ask Connie
The subject of volunteers and fundraising has many layers and variations.
The one that many volunteer program managers struggle with is whether
or not to solicit financial contributions from their direct-service
volunteers (not volunteer board members or trustees). I'd like to
hear from you!
Are the volunteers in your organization solicited for financial
contributions? If so, how? If not, why? Please send your responses
to me AskConnieP@cs.com,
and I'll share the results of this informal poll in my September
Thanks for your help and Happy Summer!
I am going to be traveling throughout the southern parts of India for
about 3 months. I would ideally like to be taking part in volunteer work
along the way in various locations. I have been having a difficult time
finding the information I need about locations and tasks. Do you have
any leads or suggestions? Your help would be greatly appreciated.
For "one stop shopping" visit VolunteerToday.com. [http://www.volunteertoday.com]
Just click on "Internet Resources" at the top of the home
page and then click on "Volunteer Opportunities." You'll find
a great list of links to organizations that utilize volunteers internationally.
Another tip is to use the http://www.Google.com search engine (my personal
favorite). Just type "volunteer+India" in the search box and
a very long list of international volunteering web sites will pop up.
Good luck and safe travels!
I am looking for a quote to use at a volunteer appreciation luncheon.
Thanks so much.
Here's one of my favorites for volunteer recognition. Hope you can use
aluable is the work you do
O utstanding in how
you always come through
L oyal, sincere, and
full of good cheer
U ntiring in your efforts
throughout the year
N otable are the contributions
T rustworthy in every
project you take
E ager to reach your
E ffective in the way
you fulfill your role
R eady with a smile
like a shining star
S pecial and wonderful
-- that's what you are!!
We are a not-for-profit group, no one is paid a salary, and we are all
volunteer women doing this work. Our organization is considering yearly
dues. The idea for dues comes from our board, which is comprised of
all volunteers as well. Our definition of dues is that each member would
agree in January to be a volunteer with our organization, committing
to a year of service. The service would involve the dues as well as
an agreement to work as defined in the previous sentence. We feel it
gives the definition of a time commitment (the year), and it allows
women to opt out of the organization gracefully, instead of not showing
up (which makes us feel they are mad at us, or we feel mad at them for
not coming back). Also the dues work to our advantage by adding a bit
of seed money each year that we can depend upon. We do have fundraising
events, at which we expect volunteers to either sell tickets to, or
perhaps purchase tickets. No one is pressured! As is often the case,
we have stars, people who will contribute more financially than others
(by selling and or purchasing). There are a few members who are extremely
opposed to the idea of dues. They feel that unlike other organizations
that have paid staff, we do everything. They feel it serves little purpose,
would not significantly add to the budget, and make it harder for us
to ask everyone to donate money at another time during the year. The
donations are optional. No one is EVER pressured to give. What is the
pro and con of this dues idea?
For the past 15 years I've worked with volunteer groups that have and
have NOT charged dues. The current trend I see is NOT to levy dues for
organizations such as yours. The rationale is exactly as you stated
in your message: A group that is all-volunteer (from leadership to direct
service) relies on the gifts of time and talent from its volunteers
(aka members). Asking them to also pay dues is like asking them to pay
for the privilege of giving their time and talent - a contradiction
in terms to me.
Now on the other hand (and there always is another hand!), your organization
should consider its funding needs through an annual budgeting process
so that it can RAISE money from businesses (e.g., sponsorships), community
foundations (program grants), citizens who support your work but don't
volunteer, AND your organization's volunteers. Contributing is voluntary
and volunteers can be encouraged to participate, but it is totally optional
for them. The research shows continually that people who volunteer for
an organization give more money than people who don't volunteer. Volunteers
understand the organization's needs and they are already stakeholders
in its success. But there's a world of difference between encouraging
volunteers to participate in a fundraising campaign and levying dues
because you need the money.
Is there a waiver form that volunteers may sign in case of injury that
indicates they are responsible through their personal insurance? Thank
you for your assistance.
The short answer to your question is that release forms come in many
sizes and shapes, depending on the situation and your needs. I suggest
that you check with your administration department to determine if volunteers
are covered under your organization's umbrella liability policy and
if the organization requires paid employees to sign a release of liability.
If so, then consider adapting that release for volunteers.
Above all, please check with your legal counsel before proceeding much
further down the "release" path. You'll find excellent information
about volunteers and risk management at the Nonprofit Risk Management
Institute. (http://www.nonprofitrisk.org) Just click on "Volunteers
and Volunteer Management" and you'll learn about:
- Insuring Volunteers - Whether
the nonprofit can be held liable for the injury is related to a number
of factors that include:
of the volunteer
made to the volunteer when he or she was recruited
of control exercised by the organization over the volunteer.
of the particular accident.
the volunteer was injured while volunteering for a project sponsored
by his or her employer.
- Insuring Volunteers Against Accidents or
Injuries - There are two approaches to insuring volunteers:
and Injury Policies
- Understanding the Volunteer Protection
Act - An informative overview of the history, background,
and purposes of the Volunteer Protection Act.
- "No Surprises: Harmonizing Risk and
Reward in Volunteer Management"- 2nd Edition 2001/100
pages/$15.00. "No Surprises" is a clear, easy-to-read booklet
that demystifies "risk management" and explains this responsibility
for every director of volunteers in any type of setting. Learn how
to limit risk at each step of managing a volunteer program. This edition
of "No Surprises" expands on the common sense and approachable
advice offered in the extremely popular first edition, published in
1993. Whether you own the first edition of "No Surprises"
or not, you'll want to add this valuable resource to your volunteer
For more information about the programs, services,
and publications of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center contact them
at (202) 785-3891 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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.
Send your questions to Connie
Strategic Nonprofit Resources
2939 Van Ness Street, NW - Suite 1248
Washington, DC 20008
VOICE: 202-966-0859 FAX: 202-966-3301
Copyright 2002 by Nancy Macduff.
Return to Top of Page