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Who We Are ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

Michael Lee Stills
Learn tips and hints to use a variety of electronic and technical equipment to enhance work with volunteers.
~ April 2003~ Topics

Leaf Image Have You Watered Your Telephone Tree Lately?

With the tremendous growth in technology today, tried and true methods of communication may be lost. The Telephone Tree has long been a means of getting the word out. It starts with you making the first call to a small group of volunteer leaders. They in turn call their team. If you have a very large number of volunteers to contact then there may be several "branches" to your tree. Now that everyone seems to have email, the Telephone Tree may be in need of a little watering.

Email has become almost as prevalent as the telephone and spam or junk email is clogging our email boxes. With this barrage of mostly useless messages many people, including your volunteers, are no longer anxiously awaiting to hear "You've Got Mail". Your group email lists may no longer be a timely way to get out the message. And you may be spending valuable time editing out bad email addresses particularly if you have a large volunteer program.

The barrage of unwanted information is so bad that many states are enacting legislation to limit telemarketers from reaching you. At the same time, phone companies are providing a variety of ways to block unwanted calls. As a result, the Telephone Tree may actually be a more reliable method of getting important messages out. Even if someone in the tree cannot be immediately contacted, leaving a voice message provides some assurance that the information will be received.

Telephone Tree Tips:

  • Keep each branch small
  • Prune the lists for active volunteers
  • Keep messages short and precise
  • Provide all necessary details
  • Confirm that this is an acceptable method of contact
  • Diagram out the phone tree
  • Make a few check-up calls to the lower branches to ensure the message is getting out

Remember, no system is perfect. Get creative and integrate the Telephone Tree into existing communication techniques.
Finally, if you have a communication system that you think is awesome, drop me a note. I would love to hear from you.
Leaf Image

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Removing Old Programs

If you are like me, you are constantly adding new programs and trying out small utility programs. After awhile you decide you don't like them or have moved on to something newer or better. But are you removing these programs or are they just taking up valuable space?

In Windows programs, you want to go to the Control Panel directory and click on Add/Remove Programs. For the majority of us, it is the Remove Programs that we are interested in. Just ignore the Add part. Upon opening the Add/Remove Programs window, scroll through the list of programs for the one you want to remove. Highlight the program to be removed and click on the Add/Remove button. Follow the directions from there. Be sure to only remove those programs that you know you no longer want.

Removing Old Programs in Windows:

Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs

1. Highlight program to be removed.
2. Click Add/Remove Programs.
3. Follow and read the directions from there.

QUICK TIP: Checking Software Versions

Have you ever needed to know what version of software you have? Most Windows programs have this information in the Help Menu.

Click on Help > About (Software Program).

Look for the Version information or click on the appropriate button if provided.

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Do you know of a better way? Or do you have any questions?
Drop me a note at

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