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~ June 2002 ~
  • Volunteer Today Remodels Its Bookstore
  • Changes at Volunteer Today
  • Answering the Tough Questions
  • Risk Management Assessment
  • The Impact of Mood

Volunteer Today Remodels Its Bookstore

Interested in books or kits on working with volunteers or boards? Visit the newly "remodeled" Volunteer Bookstore. You can order online, using a credit card, behind a secure "fire wall." You can see pictures of the books and read about the content. And shipping is your choice-fast or pony express!

The snappy new design is due to Laura Bunt our intrepid Web Master, Ruben Bybee of Blue Mountain Internet, and Sara Strickland-the scanner master! It is also so you can find resources in a timely way to run your program more effectively.

Changes at Volunteer Today

The new Bookstore site has kept us hopping for months and it still has some kinks we are working out. It has been a big change for our readers and us. More changes are in the offing.

Georgean Johnson-Coffey has been the writer of "Tech Tips" for some time. She is passing the wand of writing to Michael Stills. Michael is a long time volunteer manager of a county program. He is currently working on his Master's degree in Nonprofit Management at Regis College in Colorado. In addition to writing papers he is joining the VT staff as writer of Tech Tips. He well versed and experienced in this area, even spearheading an online chat for government volunteer managers during the Points of Light annual National Community Service campaign in 1999. He is currently working with the International Conference on Volunteer Administration as the head of the technology team. His view and vision for the use of technology in the volunteer scheme of things is growing daily. We are quite happy he has agreed to take on this challenge.

While Michael is coming aboard, Georgean is not leaving Volunteer Today. She is working with Publisher and Senior Editor, Nancy Macduff to create a page for government-based volunteer programs. It will be several months until this is launched as we seek writers from four levels of government programs; local, state, federal, and military. Stay tuned for more news on this exciting new offering.

Answering the Tough Questions

Volunteers or co-workers can ask question that make you gulp air and wish you were somewhere else. Here are some tips on dealing with such interrogatory missiles.

  1. Paraphrase the question - Restate the question in your own words to make sure you are answering what is really being asked. This gives you time to think and allows the person asking the question to restate in clearer form.
  2. Ask for time to think - Tell the questioner that you have been concentrating on what they were saying and need time to formulate a response.
  3. Let the questioner help - Sometimes the question is such that you can allow the person to help you decide how to respond. For example, "I can answer that with an opinion or I can give you facts."
  4. Never be afraid to delay a response - If you do not want to answer immediately, give the questioner a good reason; not enough facts, confidentiality, uncertainty, etc. Tell them you will answer the question when you are able.

Risk Management Assessment

The Nonprofit Risk Management Center has a free online tutorial for volunteer programs that wish to check out risk management issues. It takes about 30 minutes, and includes material to download. There are also suggestions on how to deal with weaknesses in your program. Go to

For more information on risk management read Risk Management: Strategies for Managing Volunteer Programs by Sara Henson and Bruce Larson which can be found and purchased in the Volunteer Today Bookstore. Click here for VT Bookstore!

The Impact of Mood

Recent studies have shown that moods are contagious. It is a neurological phenomenon. A 1999 study at Yale showed that among working groups cheerfulness and warmth spread easily. Irritability caught on less well, and depression came in dead last in the contagion department.

Laughter is the most contagious of all emotions. This happens because some of our brain's open-loop circuits are designed to detect smiles and laughter, making us respond in kind. It seems this is hardwired into our brain.

The point of this is that the leader of a group, like a manager of volunteers or executive director, can speed the spread of an upbeat climate through the use of laughter and humor. It must be added, however, this only happens when the smiles and laughter are genuine.

Join Hands Day

Join Hands Day, June 15, 2002, is sponsored by various fraternal benefits organizations throughout the US and the Points of Light Foundation. It is a national day of service that targets and develops relationships between young people and adults through neighborhood volunteering. It is aimed at adults and youth working together in partnership. Last year 107,000 people participated in 4000 communities.

By registering your project, you become eligible to win a $1000 cash award and recognition for excellence. There are also new awards to support education for youth. The Student Leadership Awards will recognize 8 youth leaders with financial awards to be used toward educational costs. There will be two $1000 cash awards and six $500 ones. All high school freshman, sophomores, and juniors are eligible.

If you are interested in building partnerships for community service, this is an ideal way to get started. Visit the Join Hands Day web site at The site has an Action Planning Guide, A Quick Start Sheet, and many other resources.


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.


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 Today.

Copyright 2002 by Nancy Macduff.

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