VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette
Do you have a source for a volunteer questionnaire that will produce
information about a person's interests, skills, etc.?
I worked for a national organization for 10 years, and we utilized volunteers
from all across the U.S. I developed an interest/contact form that you
could easily adapt for your use. The categories of information that
I sought were:
||(name, address, email, fax, emergency contact,
||(degrees earned, major areas studied)
||(employer(s), type of work, address, phone,
email, fax, etc.)
||(organization(s), type of volunteering, years,
positions held, etc.)
||(administrative, languages, computer, public
speaking, training, etc.)
||(weekdays, weekends, nights, etc.)
I compiled the information in a simple database so
that it was always handy for placement of the volunteers. I often discovered
"hidden" skills and interests in the information provided
about volunteer background, education, and employment.
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We are a nonprofit organization that would like to implement a policy
for our staff to go to other organizations to volunteer. I was looking
for policies and procedures that other businesses/companies use. Would
you have copies of policies or resources that I could review to assist
me in developing a policy for our agency? Thank you for your help with
I suggest you visit the Points of Light Foundation website http://www.pointsoflight.org/organizations/workplace_vol.cfm.
They have a section on "Best Practices in Workplace Volunteering."
Your approach to employee volunteerism would be similar to that of businesses
and corporations. Here's an excerpt from the site:
"The Points of Light Foundation encourages
business leaders to create environments that enable employees and
retirees to volunteer in the communities in which they live and work.
The Foundation developed the Principles of Excellence to serve as
guidelines for companies working to build and improve their employee
You'll find many good resources at this site on workplace
volunteering. I also suggest that you contact your local volunteer center
to get examples of policies from local businesses. You can locate your
volunteer center using the "Volunteer Center Network" on the
Points of Light's home page. http://www.pointsoflight.org.
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My staff and I were discussing whether in light of recent developments,
organizations that use volunteers are getting background checks on volunteers,
especially if they are schools with children, as we are. In light of
recent events, many organizations are getting background checks on their
faculty and staff to be aware of any past problems. Have you heard of
any organizations getting background checks on volunteers?
Organizations that involve children and volunteers (even if volunteers
don't normally come into contact with the children) have been screening
their employees AND volunteers for several years now. So, I encourage
you to consider if it's right for you, develop a policy, and research
how to implement it. In other words, it's not something you do "lightly"
and most organizations do it for both employees and volunteers, to avoid
any perception of discrimination.
There's an excellent book you should read on the subject
- BEYOND POLICE CHECKS: THE DEFINITIVE VOLUNTEER AND EMPLOYEE SCREENING
GUIDEBOOK by Linda L. Graff. You can buy it for $25 at VolunteerToday.com
Here's the description:
"This is a comprehensive 'how to'
manual on volunteer employee screening. Loaded with practical
tips, helpful cautions, fully reproducible checklists and assessment
tools, this guidebook will lead you step-by-step to increased
screening awareness and program safety.
Don't wake up one morning to a tragedy and find yourself wishing
you had paid more attention to the escalating liabilities and
higher standards of screening employees and volunteers."
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What is the prospect of someone volunteering in hopes of finding a job
that pays eventually? I have a lot of education and age is a factor
here - too many years and still need and want to work for pleasure and
money. Any advice? Appreciate any help that you may be able to offer.
While there isn't much hard research to go on, conventional wisdom says
that your prospects are good. For you, volunteering at an organization
that you're interested in working for provides an opportunity to prove
your worth and skills AND let's you see what the organization is like
without making a commitment. On the part of the organization, a potential
employer gets to see your skills and experience AND can come to rely
on you and want to have a more permanent arrangement with you.
My advice is to select the organizations that you are interested in
where you think your skills and experience will be an asset. Inquire
about volunteer opportunities without telling them that you are looking
for permanent employment so that they will judge you just for who you
are. Seek opportunities that will give you the most exposure to administrative
staff, such as relief receptionist, working on mass mailings, computer
I wouldn't be shy about applying for jobs either! In the nonprofit world,
good experienced staff members are hard to find. So you might be pleasantly
surprised at how many job offers you receive!
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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
Send your questions to Connie at:
Strategic Nonprofit Resources
2939 Van Ness Street, NW - Suite 1248
Washington, DC 20008
VOICE: 202-966-0859 FAX: 202-966-3301
A Service of MBA Publishing
925 "E" Street
Walla Walla, WA 99362
VOICE : (509) 529-0244
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