~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
The American Association of Museums
has issued its first set of ethical guidelines for its 3000 members. The
guidelines are directed toward relationships with donors to the museum
and its programs. There are six principles on which the guidelines are
based. Museums are urged to develop written policies and mission statements
to reflect the new guidelines. Need a copy? Visit the Web site http://www.aam-us.org
the Volunteer Program: Reflections on Its Importance
MBA Publishing launched a new Volunteer Evaluation Series
(online) in November 2002. The online evaluation, with options for expert
consultations by phone, has four different evaluations and will eventually
have more than twenty. Each evaluation focuses on one aspect of managing
a healthy volunteer program. The authors of the first four evaluations
responded to a series of questions from the editor of VT about why evaluation
is an important part of the vibrant volunteer program. There responses
raise issues that bear reflection by anyone who is managing the work of
The experts are: Jeanne Bradner, Georgean Johnson-Coffey, Nancy Macduff,
and Mary Merrill. For information on these training consultants and others
involved in the Volunteer Evaluation series visit the Web site: http://www.volunteertoday.com/vpeshome.html
What is the importance of evaluation
and planning to the volunteer program at
the local agency or organizational level?
"The purpose of evaluation is to move programs forward, further
meet the needs of volunteers, their agencies and organizations."
"Too often at the operational level there is an attempt to find
quick fixes or easy answers. Volunteer management is often reactive
rather than proactive. An evaluation process like VPES encourages people
at the local level to be thoughtful and strategic in developing programs.
The process also facilitates and encourages an inclusive approach by
engaging other staff in the evaluation process."
"The best volunteer programs are those that regularly take their
temperature and blood pressure. It can be a challenge to examine the
state of health, whether it is personal or organizational, but the benefits
far out weigh the fear. Knowing how things are working in each nook
and cranny of the volunteer program provides the opportunity to make
changes that benefit everyonestaff, volunteers, clients, members,
or patrons, administrators, and ultimately the community in which the
program resides. Making evaluation inexpensive, thorough, and on-point
is the aim of the Volunteer Evaluation Series. Maybe not painless, but
"Very little is more important than evaluation and planning! If
you are starting a program, an evaluation can help you form an action
plan. Using a standard evaluation keeps you from reinventing the wheel
and wasting the time of staff and volunteers. It is efficient! And everyones
time and talents are used wisely."
Do you have examples of work you
have done with organizations to
evaluate the volunteer program? Tell us about the outcomes.
"A new volunteer program manager arrived at her job to discover
through an evaluation process that her predecessor had spent all her
energy on the volunteers and virtually none on the needs of staff. The
staff was in a 'toleration" of volunteers mode. With some
work by the new volunteer manager on the needs of staff and improving
the internal image of the volunteer program, there was an attitude shift
by staff toward volunteers. A much more productive and harmonious working
environment for everyone."
"One organization I worked with conducted an evaluation, only to
discover an internal conflict between the board and staff management
levels over the role of volunteers. This eye-opening evaluation gave
everyone the chance to step back from constantly seeking to recruit
more volunteers and spend more time developing a vision and philosophy
for volunteers. The result of this unified/comprehensive vision helped
them recruit, long-term volunteers."
"Two arts-type of organizations had merged. The draw to merge was
money from a city government to provide public arts events (concerts),
in order to enhance tourism activities. There was friction from the
beginning between board members from the two previous groups, but an
evaluation, which included volunteers from the board to those working
at the various arts events, unearthed Grand Canyon-sized difference
in the perception about the mission of the arts programs. Once camp
was thinking fine arts and classical music; the other camp thought fine
arts needed to be mixed with more "pop" types of programs
to attract larger crowds. Following the evaluation and failed attempts
at resolutions, the merged organization agreed to "un-merge"
and get back to what they did best. Volunteers, who could have been
a stumbling block to the unhooking process, were instead supporters
because the evaluation had proven that the initial merger was a mistake."
Volunteer Today in February will bring more observations on the evaluation
of volunteer programs and more about the Volunteer Program Evaluation
Series at http://www.volunteertoday.com/vpeshome.html.
Do you have any questions, please email the VT Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org
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