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~ October 2002 ~ Topics
  • Incentives for Youth Volunteers
  • Reduce Bullying
  • The Power of Email
  • Volunteer Work-Wanted Ads

Incentives for Youth Volunteers

Looking for incentives for youth volunteers? How about a scholarship program? Most organizations cannot afford to give college scholarships to youthful volunteers, but they could set up a scholarship information program. The program would provide current young volunteers the facts on post-secondary scholarship programs. Advertise this benefit in recruiting information aimed at young people.

Many companies and local foundations offer scholarships. For example, Target Stores have scholarships for high school seniors, graduates, and current college students, the Target All-Around Scholarships for Students Program. It annually awards four $10,000 scholarships and 2100 $1000. Scholarships. (More information on the Target Web site at:

Information on this program and dozens like it could be available to young people volunteering in your organization or agency. In fact, a team of young people might be recruited, along with some parents to set it up and keep the facts and forms up-to-date.

Reduce Bullying

Kids are not the only people being bullied. In a study by Gary Namie, "The Bully at Work," 2000, it was found that

  • 81% of bullies in the work place are supervisors;
  • 14% are peers; and
  • 75% of the cases of bullying are against women.

Men and women are equally likely to be bullies. This form of harassment occurs four times more often than the illegal forms of discrimination and harassment. If bullies are in the workplace it is safe to assume there are some in the volunteer corps, as well. Here are some tips to help reduce the chances of bully-behavior:

Check out the organization's volunteer policies on the various types of harassment. Be sure there is a statement prohibiting mental and verbal abuse or cruelty. And be clear about the consequences of such behavior for the bully.

Turnover rates in a specific work area or site, during certain times of the day or week can be indicators of the presence of a bully. Keeping statistical records of volunteers who "just quit" can sometimes help locate the person who is harassing other volunteers.

Orientation should review the policies on harassment of all types. It can also be useful to tell volunteers that the behavior is not to be tolerated and you are to be notified immediately.

Volunteers in leadership positions need training on how to offer criticism without being cruel or abusive. Do not assume people know how to do this. Better to refresh their knowledge and skills than have them create a problem.

Take any complaint seriously and investigate to the full extent of your authority. Investigate and keep the person reporting the bullying in the loop on progress toward a remedy.

For more information on policies and strategies for volunteer programs read
  • Definition: Policies for Volunteer Programs by Linda Graff and/or
  • Risk Management: Strategies for Managing Volunteer Programs by Sarah Henson and Bruce Larson
These books can be found and purchased in the Volunteer Today Bookstore.

The Power of Email

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston runs a Pan-Massachusetts two day bike-a-thon. Riders agree to raise a minimum of $1000 through the pledges of friends and family. For the August 2002 ride the organizers added a new wrinkle. The riders received a short (20 seconds) email with photos and music of past rides. At the click of a button they could forward the message. The email provided an easy link to the event's Web site, where online contributions could be made for the rider.

Riders received the message in mid-July. In the week that followed donations reached $137,000 in comparison with $77,000 from the previous year during the same week, when this electronic communication was not used. If you want to see their site you can visit

If email can raise money, it can certainly help in recruiting volunteers. Especially for events, like this bike-a-thon. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Recruit a volunteer with digital camera and some experience to photograph events and volunteers, and in some cases clients or members. Begin building a photographic library for future use.
  2. Recruit someone to help design an email message with pictures and music. Test it on willing volunteers before launching, no matter what a "tech" person tells you! There are many email programs and different operating systems for computers. You do not want a message that crashes a computer or takes 20 minutes to download!
  3. Select an event or one time event where you need to recruit episodic or short-term volunteers. Organize a recruiting email message that can be easily forwarded. Tell current volunteers about the need for volunteers for the event and let them do the work for you by forwarding an email message to friends, co-workers, or family. Be sure to have an electronic format for people to sign up.
  4. Be sure to track the results, even people who inquire, but end up being unable to volunteer. The greater number of people making contact, the greater chance to find people for the event.
  5. Evaluate the result of the recruiting effort. Be sure to ask volunteers how they felt about being asked to help with the recruiting effort. You need their help, but do not want to alienate the core work force for your program.

Volunteer Work-Wanted Ads

A recent issue of The Volunteer Management Report suggested a novel idea for people to find the perfect volunteer position. Newspapers run "want-ads" for paid work, why not for unpaid. The paper might create a section of its want-ads where people could list their qualifications and interests in a volunteer position. It might run once per month and be supported by many agencies or organizations in the community.

A local volunteer center could spearhead the effort, by meeting with organizations interested in getting local newspapers to do this. Ads might be "seeded" at the beginning until the idea catches on. This might entail having recently recruited volunteers list their interests and qualifications, as if they were still looking for a position.

This type of project might start with smaller, "shopper" type newspapers, which are often more closely connected to the community in the way a large metropolitan paper is not. Work your way up to the big "guns."

For more information on The Volunteer Management Report call 712-2239-3010 CST or visit thir website at

October 9-12, 2002 - International Conference on Volunteer Administration, Denver, CO, Adams Mark Hotel, sponsored by the Association for Volunteer Administration.


The Points of Light Foundation has forms available to nominate volunteers and volunteer organizations for the Daily Points of Light Award. It is designed recognize individuals and groups that demonstrate unique and innovative approaches to community volunteering and citizen action, with a strong emphasis on service focused on the goals for children and young people set by the Presidents Summit for American's Future.

The award is given five days a week, excluding holidays. If you would like nomination forms, contact Crystal Hill at 202-729-8000.


By calling 1-800-VOLUNTEER in the U.S., individuals can be connected to their local volunteer center. This is a national interactive call routing system designed to get volunteers connected to people who can help them volunteer.

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