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~ October 2002~ Topics
  • Volunteers in Education - a Reader's Contribution
  • Volunteer Reflections
  • Church Volunteerism
  • Mission Statements

Dear Readers:
In one of my summer columns I answered a question about setting up a volunteer program in her school. Here's a letter from another reader suggesting an additional resource, the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation. You'll find excellent resources and information on utilizing volunteers in education, including two handbooks that you can download in Adobe format. Check it out!

Hi Connie,
I read the question from the volunteer who was looking for assistance in setting up a strong volunteer program within her school. Eight years ago we developed a citywide program to recruit, screen, and match non-parent volunteers from the community. Currently almost 1600 volunteers are active within 235 schools!

Please feel free to direct any managers of volunteers within educational institutions to our website, which provides resources for both school staff and a handbook for the volunteers. Some of the statistical information has not yet been updated from last year but that does not affect the resources. Hopefully this will be of some help.

Sarah H. Cook
Program Manager

Dear Connie:
I am the 2nd LT at a Volunteer Rescue Squad, and I am looking for a volunteer prayer to use in our thank you letters to people who support us. Thank you!


Dear Keith:
Here are a few of my favorite volunteer reflections. You'll find many more at the Energize, Inc. site. http:// Just click on "Recognition" in the right-hand column on the home page. One tip: be sure to keep good records of which reflections you use from year to year or campaign to campaign to avoid "recycling" too frequently. Click on the following link, Volunteer Poem/Quotes, to connect to a printable page of just the poem/quotes.

"All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own." --Anonymous

"A candle loses nothing of its light when lighting another." --Kahlil Gibran

"Volunteers don't necessarily have the time, but they have the heart." --Anonymous

"The main quality of courage! If you can dream it, you can do it!" --Walter Elias Disney

"Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another." --George Eliot

"One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something." --Henry David Thoreau

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." --Winston Churchill

"The gift of time is priceless." --unknown

aluable is the work you do.
utstanding is how you always come through.
oyal, sincere and full of good cheer,
ntiring in your efforts throughout the year.
otable are the contributions you make.
rustworthy in every project you take.
ager to reach your every goal.
ffective in the way you fulfill your role.
eady with a smile like a shining star,
pecial and wonderful-that's what you are.

Dear Connie:
I will be presenting on "church volunteers" for a conference of ministers. Can you suggest specific resources? Thanks.
Karen G.


Dear Karen:
There are several resources for information on church volunteerism that I recommend:

  • The Alban Institute,, provides a variety of resources for congregations of all types. Check out their books and their seminars. Don't miss "Sharing the Ministry: A Practical Guide for Transforming Volunteers into Ministers" by Jean M. Trumbauer. "Moving beyond the 'fill 'em and forget 'em' volunteer recruitment model, the author presents a new paradigm of volunteer ministry which emphasizes shared ministry and each member's unique gifts."
  • Energize, Inc.,, offer several books on church volunteerism, including "Church Puzzle Game."
  • At Amazon,, a search for books on "church volunteers" provides 26 titles from mobilizing to managing to meditations.

Dear Connie:
I have been working with a struggling volunteer program for a couple of months. I trace the majority of the challenges back to lack of a coherent vision. One remedy I would like to employ is having both staff and volunteers work a program mission statement; both groups working separately then coming together on the final draft. A mission statement currently exists, but few know of it, and ha not been revisited for several years. Do you have any suggestions for facilitating this process?
Matt at The Nature Center


Dear Matt:
I applaud your approach to revisiting your program's mission statement! Involving both volunteers and staff in reviewing it is an important first step since they are partners in achieving it. Some questions for your group to consider are:

  • What is our organization's mission statement?
  • Does the volunteer program mission statement support it?
  • Is our mission statement current?
  • How do we currently meet our mission? (products, services, activities)
  • What do we need/want to do differently in the future?
  • How will that affect our mission statement?

Mary Merrill at Merrill Associates,, has an excellent article on "Developing A Philosophy of Volunteer Involvement." Just click on "Topics of the Month" and scroll down the left column until you find this title.

Another resource is Nonprofit Expert, , where you'll find three books on mission statements, an article on what a mission statement should say, and examples of mission statements. Just scroll down the categories on the left side and click on "Mission and Purpose."

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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 Administration.

Send your questions to Connie at

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

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