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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

V.T. readers ask questions about volunteer management and administration. Ask Connie, an experienced volunteer manager, consultant and trainer, provides the answers for all to see.
Send questions to AskConnieP@cs.com

~June 2003 Topics~

Dear Connie:
Are you aware of any state governments (particularly Public Health sections) that have volunteer programs? I am thinking about starting a "sage project" here in Alaska where we can tap into those who have recently retired or those who want to come to Alaska to volunteer. It appears this is a new idea because every time I bring it up, I get some real blank looks. However, I think I could sell the idea if I could refer to another state that may already have a program in place.
Thanks for your time,

N.B. in Juneau, Alaska


Dear N.B.:
Some states still have volunteer offices, although many have been closed due to budget constraints. I suggest you post your question to a listserv (GOV-VPM) designed specifically for government volunteer programs. You can join the list and post your message at http://listserv.pointsoflight.org. Click on "Online List Archives" and then on the "Government" list. The GOV-VPM list is sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation at http://www.pointsoflight.org.

Also, the VolunteerToday.com website has recently added a section on Government Volunteer Programs. The content on this site changes every month, so sign up for the free monthly update to learn what's new for you.

Dear Connie:
I belong to an all-volunteer organization whose membership is shifting from stay-at-home mothers who can work during the day to full-time working women who can volunteer only on weekends and in the evenings. Are there any books that can guide us on how best to manage this evolving volunteer workforce?



Dear Beth:
Our society HAS changed dramatically from the time when people (mostly women) could volunteer on a full-time basis on weekdays. Volunteer program managers have responded to this change by "retooling" their volunteer tasks to accommodate these "episodic" volunteers.

Nancy Macduff has written an excellent book on utilizing episodic volunteers, "Episodic Volunteering: Building the Short-Term Volunteer Program." It's available for sale ($9.25) on the Volunteer Today website. Here’s a preview of what you’ll find in it:

"Episodic Volunteers include anyone who gives service for less than 12 months. There are three categories of such volunteers:

  • Temporary– one time service anEpisodic Volunteering Book Image Link to Bookstore d you do not see the volunteer again.
  • Interim– person volunteers forseveral months, usually less than six (committee members for short-lived committees, college interns, and the like).
  • Occasional– these are the volunteers who come for two events each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. They are with the organization for long periods of time, but their service is "episodic" in nature.
Mind you, I don't think everyone should adopt my terms, but rather adapt them to their own program. The point of all this is that 41% of volunteers in the U.S. are volunteering episodically. People who volunteer for different periods of time should be doing vastly different types of jobs. That means different types of recruiting, screening, training, supervision, and recognition."

Dear Connie:

I placed an Internet ad for volunteers and I am getting an overwhelming response that I did not expect. Now, I need to scramble to put together a volunteer packet and an orientation for these new and eager individuals. I would like to be able to provide them with the necessary information about our organization and also collect from them all of their pertinent data. I have been looking on the Internet and was able to put some ideas together.

My question to you is, "Do you know of any resources where I can get pre-formulated forms and applications that I could then modify to my needs?"



Dear L.M.:
Many volunteer programs have their application online now. I suggest you "surf" around the websites of some organizations in your area to see what your "competitors" have online for applications. Also, check out the Montgomery County (MD) Recycling Center volunteer application online at http://www.mcrecycles.org/volunteer/new_vol_registration.htm. It's a good one.


Thanks for your questions!


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 AskConnieP@cs.com.
Connie Pirtle
Strategic Nonprofit Resources
10103 Edward Avenue * Bethesda, MD 20814 * VOICE: 301-530-8233 * FAX: 301-530-8299

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