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~ May 2002 ~
  • Volunteer Today Remodels Its Bookstore
  • Barron Award for Young Heroes
  • The Reach of the Volunteer Manager
  • Join Hands Day
  • Keeping Your Records Safe and Sound

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. Click on the Bookstore link in the main menu.

Barron Award for Young Heroes

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes is designed to recognize young people from diverse backgrounds who have show extraordinary leadership in making our world better. The work can be through such things as helping people, protecting the environment, halting violence, or leading important service work. Nominees need to be the prime movers of the service activity and demonstrate positive spirit and high moral purpose in achieving their goals. Winners receive $2000. Nominations are due May 31, 2002. For more information

The Reach of the Volunteer Manager

A man who works in a public park-big one-has recently been given the responsibility for managing the park's volunteers. He has worked with volunteers in the past, but was not directly involved in the day-to-day duties to recruit, train, manage, and recognize volunteers. Now, he has this new assignment and works in a remote area with no volunteer center nearby or other colleagues to help him over those rough spots. 

He has a helper, Stephanie, and she does not even know it. In the man's off hours, he is an active volunteer for an organization with a full time volunteer manager. As he talked of his new life as a volunteer manager he said, "When I have a tough problem or a volunteer dilemma, I ask myself, 'What would Stephanie do?'" He went on to say that Stephanie, the volunteer manager, made sure everyone felt special, was needed, well-equipped to do their job, and never abandoned. He figured if he followed her lead, he would not go wrong.

Volunteer managers are often role models for others, sometimes unknowingly. Ask yourself if you are setting a good example that others should emulate, because somebody is likely doing just that.

For more information on being a leader in your field read Leading Volunteers for Results by Jeanne Bradner which can be found and purchased in the Volunteer Today Bookstore.

Did You Know???

Independent Sector places the value of a volunteer hour of service at $16.05.

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.

Keeping Your Records Safe and Sound

Most volunteer programs have a large computer database with addresses, hours served, awards presented, and other vital information. What if you lost it tomorrow? (Are you groaning???). Here are steps to insure that the database is safe and sound:

Create a Records Advisory Team. This can be volunteers who use the database or have knowledge about databases. You might also include tech staff from your organization.
Create a written process for working with the database. Written documents that spell out all you need to know about the database mean there is less chance for error and therefore, less chance of someone creating disorder.
There needs to be a Record keeping King or Queen. While several people might be keeping the records up-to-date, one person needs to be the "boss" and report to the volunteer manager. Give them a title and, if it is a volunteer, make sure the IT staff in the organization know the person has your full confidence and they should work with them the same as they would with you.
Train, train, train. People using the record-keeping database are less likely to make mistakes if they are trained. They need to agree to attend up-grade training as the program is improved.
Limit the access. The only people who can access the database are those with training, and that includes other paid staff. It is easy to do this by using the security parts of the program in the database. The King or Queen of the database should be in charge of access.
Clean up. Many volunteers serve in more than one capacity and that makes it likely they may appear more than once in the database. There should be a regular system for eliminating duplicates in the records and checking the accuracy of the information, you have.
Stay on top of Input. Keep the database viable by timely input of data. This is an ideal job for teens or college students in computer classes-under the supervision of the King or Queen of the Data Base. A good database is only useful if you make changes regularly. This is a place where details count for a lot. Keeping up makes a difference in how you are viewed by volunteers. Think of your database as the foundation of all your communication.
Make a maintenance schedule. Most databases systems have ways you can diagnose your information to identify problems. In your manual, you should set up a check-up system. Just like the annual physical, it can prevent serious illnesses running off with your body.
Think disaster. The tornado runs through your building, the computer crashes and burns, a hacker corrupts your database. That advisory team should help you organize a disaster plan-back up records once per month in an off site location, for example. Get the software vendor for your program to make some suggestion and involve the IT people in your office in this planning.


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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