Find tips to oversee the work of volunteers and practical suggestions to supervise them. Everything from ideas to help you work more efficiently to the latest in research on keeping volunteers happy and productive.

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~ September 2002~ Topics
  • Memorial to Victims of 9/11
  • Feng Shui Your Work Space
  • Get to the Root Problem

Memorial to Victims of 9/11

Circulating on the Internet (we received information on this from several sources), Americans are being asked to wear red, white, and blue to honor those who died in the terrorist attacks and the heroes who worked to save them on September 11. At 12:00 noon everyone is being asked to stop, put their hand over their heart and say the pledge of allegiance silently or aloud.

Many communities throughout the nation are planning remembrance activities. Be sure to find out how the volunteers from the program you manage might be involved, and if nothing is planned, what's stopping you???!!!

Feng Shui Your Work Space

The editor of this newsletter spent two hours trying to find a file folder in her office. It was the last straw. She hired a professional who assessed the work done, equipment and storage needed, and the "flow" (that is the feng shui part). Much moving and sorting followed. It has been a huge success. It is also easy to stay on top of the clutter and keep it to a minimum. Here are some tips to reduce the clutter on your desk.

Use a vertical file for projects.   The vertical file on the top of the desk can be used to prioritize paper. The highest priority items are closest, with less and that pesky reading material to the back of the file. Hence a piece of paper that hits the desk is put in a file folder in the front, middle, or back of the vertical stand, and if not it goes in the trash!
Divide your desk into work zones   Urgent work resides on one side of the desk and is always time sensitive. It is likely the piles are smaller and therefore the information needed is easy to find. The other side is for less critical work. Use stack trays or vertical files to keep your desk clutter free.
Use a wide plastic wall pocket on the wall of a cubicle or a door.   Keep the things you are working on now in that file. Thus, paper hitting the desk is trashed, forwarded to someone else to deal with, filed, or is in the plastic pocket. Paper does not end up on the desk unless it is being used for work at-hand.

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

Get to the Root Problem

Problems or challenges are a part of life. However, sometimes much time is wasted because the real problem has not been identified. An effective management skill, no matter the situation, is to be able to ask the right questions to get to the heart of the problem. Here are some possibilities.

    • What do you see as the specific problem? Can you give me more details?
    • When did this start? Can you tell if it is getting worse or staying the same?
    • What seems to make this better? Or worse?
    • What did you try up to now?
    • Are there other things we need to know?

Once the problem is identified, then it is the time to brainstorm solutions.


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.

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