ASK CONNIE

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.

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~ March 2002 Topics ~
  • Nonprofit Times Salary Survey
  • Tips for Volunteers Serving Seniors
  • Newsletter Review
  • Marketing Approach to Volunteer Recruitment
  • Creating a Speakers Bureau

Dear Readers:

In the February 1, 2002, issue of Nonprofit Times you'll find the results of their annual Salary Survey, where they poll 3,000 nonprofit organizations for salary information on 10 positions (complete results are at http://www.nptimes.com). The national average projected pay for 2002 for a Director of Volunteers is $35,349. National and regional averages are shown below:


National Averages for Director of Volunteers by budget size:
Regional Averages for Director of Volunteers:

 Overall average  $35,349
 $500,000-999,999  $33,931
 $1M - 9.9M  $34,464
 $10M - 24.9M  $29,293
 $25M - 49.9M  N/A
 $50M or more $63,992 

West 
$37,085 
Southwest   
$33,066
North Central  
$35,779
Central  
$32,627
South  
$36,800
Mid-Atlantic  
$33,734
New England  
$37,611

Dear Connie:
In every newsletter I pass along a volunteer tip for volunteers who serve seniors. I've used communication with supervisor, communicating with someone HOH, importance of timesheets, visiting tips, etc. Any tips you can think of to share?
Barb

 

Dear Barb:
Since there's more to being an effective volunteer than just completing a timesheet every month, how about including tips on the "soft" skills required for volunteers serving seniors:

  • Have a sense of humor and share it whenever possible
  • Be patient, your priorities aren't necessarily theirs
  • Be a good listener, not just a good talker
  • Be flexible whenever you can, they enjoy variety
  • Wear your thicker skin, some days it's about them and not about you
  • Be friendly, you may be the only person they've seen today
  • Be respectful, not everyone ages gracefully


Dear Connie:
I have been asked to help with suggestions for creating a newsletter. I work for a bank and I am not sure exactly what could go into one. Unfortunately, my skills are better at actually creating the newsletter (desktop publishing) but not at initiating creative ideas. Help!
Angela

 

Dear Angela:
Effective newsletters can be valuable communication tools and recognition opportunities for your program volunteers. The first rule of newsletter writing is "Know Thy Audience." If your primary audience is program volunteers, then keep them in mind with every word your write. My basic philosophy of effective newsletters includes:

    • To inform - meeting dates, new volunteers, special events
    • To instruct - how-to articles, guidelines, policies
    • To provide a forum for group opinion, communication
    • To encourage and develop volunteer recruitment

Many organizations use regular columns in their newsletters, such as a profile of a staff member or a new volunteer, letter from the executive director, calendar of events or important dates, factoids (little boxes with figures/facts about the organization, the site, the volunteer program, etc.), and brief reports from committees or project captains. I suggest that you pay a visit to other nonprofits in your community and get their newsletters to give you ideas for articles in yours.

  • If you're looking to spruce up your graphics, visit the Clip Art website at http://www.clipart.com. You'll find links to thousands of free graphics. Don't miss the hot links on the left side of the home page. They connect to a variety of additional resources, such as font types.
  • In addition, http://www.Amazon.com lists 17 different books on writing, editing, and designing newsletters.
  • My favorite source for grammar guidance is The Grammar Lady at http://www.grammarlady.com. If you ever have a moment's pause about whether it's "that" or "which" and "affect" or "effect," this web site will answer your questions and much more. In addition, The Grammar Lady posts very funny "Typos of the Weak" that are guaranteed to make you laugh!


Dear Connie:
I work as the property manager at a children's camp in South Central British Columbia. Part of my responsibilities is to find volunteers for our camp. I have been trying for the last two days to find examples of volunteer recruitment plans. I know that each plan is specific to every agency's needs. What I am looking for is the general layout of a plan so that I can put one together for our camp. Could you direct me to any sites or resources that could get me this information?
D.T.

 

Dear D.T.
My favorite approach to volunteer recruitment is the "marketing" approach. The best book on this is "Volunteer Recruiting and Retention: A Marketing Approach," by Nancy Macduff. It's available on the Volunteer Today website -- just click on "Bookstore."

This approach is based on the following ten steps:

  1. Create a strategic plan that establishes the goals and objectives and a work plan with realistic target dates for accomplishment.
  2. Review the current volunteer activities and, if necessary, develop new activities to meet the needs of a new volunteer workforce.
  3. Conduct market research on existing volunteer resources, adequate staff support, what new volunteer resources are needed, and the tools needed to reach your "target market."
  4. Determine the attitudes and behavior of your target market so that you know how best to reach them and with the messages they will "hear."
  5. Create volunteer position descriptions to use as recruiting tools.
  6. Select a volunteer recruiting team to use the marketing plan and lay out a campaign for recruitment.
  7. Train new volunteers as they are recruited.
  8. Motivate the volunteer workforce.
  9. Reward and recognize volunteers at every opportunity.
  10. Evaluate your volunteer activities.


Dear Connie:
I am looking to start a speaker's bureau for the volunteer organization I chair. I have had an unusually hard time finding something like a workbook on how to start a speaker's bureau. I've looked at a lot of websites that seem to actually be a speaker's bureau. Any thoughtsI'd like to not re-invent the wheel.
P.M.

 

Dear P.M.:
A Speakers Bureau is an excellent way to promote your organization and inform the public about your mission and activities. It's also an excellent way to utilize volunteers who already enjoy public speaking or who would like to gain skills as a platform speaker. Your volunteer "speakers" can make presentations to civic, music, art, and service groups in your community/region. You will want to train your speakers on the history and background of your organization as well as its activities and services. Then you'll want to provide them with some basic platform speaking skills.

I suggest you contact a local speakers bureau to find out how best to structure yours. I did a quick search on http://www.google.com and found a huge list of speaker's bureaus in your area. (When you do the search just type in "speakers bureau + Miami, Florida.")

For information on public speaking, contact your local Toastmasters International at http://www.toastmasters.org. You'll find that there are 20 clubs in the Miami area. You may be able to get materials on public speaking from them and perhaps even someone who would train your volunteers.

Finally, at, http://www.Amazon.com, you'll find two resources on speakers bureaus:

  • "How to Start & Build a Successful Speakers Bureau" by Dottie Walters, Audio Cassette, $125.
  • "Women in Architecture Committee Speakers Bureau" -- Paperback, $25.

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 at AskConnieP@cs.com.

Connie Pirtle
Strategic Nonprofit Resources
2939 Van Ness NW Street, Suite 1248
Washington, DC 20008
VOICE: 202-966-0859 FAX: 202-966-3301


Copyright 2002 by Nancy Macduff.

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