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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

ASK CONNIE

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


~ May 2003 Topics~


Dear Connie:
I am a 17-year old teen interested in international volunteering services. In particular, I am searching for a program where I can do community service and the like for an extended amount of time (a semester up to an academic year, possibly more). I am interested in doing volunteer programs in Japan or Vietnam. Most programs I have come across require one to be at least 18 years old, are usually for a short amount of time, and costly. Do you know of any programs that fit my description?

Madison


Dear Madison:
I suggest that you visit the Volunteer Opportunities pages available on the VolunteerToday.com website. You'll find several links to a variety of national and international organizations that utilize volunteers.
Also, I suggest that you first decide what TYPE of organization for which you'd like to volunteer and then contact organizations like that directly. For example, if you're interested in environmental issues, you could contact Greenpeace, The Conservation Fund, Conservation Volunteers, etc.
Finally, you will want to do a Google search for "volunteer + [your area of interest such as environment]." You'll be surprised at how many helpful links you get regardless of your area of interest.

Good luck!
Connie
Editor's Note: the Volunteer Opportunities pages will be phased out over the next couple of months, however the portal pages which include links to excellent volunteer manager resources will remain on the site.


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Dear Connie:
What are the major reasons people volunteer or do not volunteer?

Jim

Heart in a Box

Dear Jim:
The research shows that the No. 1 reason people give for volunteering is that someone asked them to do it! I suggest you visit the Independent Sector website for more statistics and information from their "Giving and Volunteering" biennial survey.

Connie


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Dear Connie:

I am putting together a volunteer handbook to give to our volunteers. Can you offer some ideas as to important topics to cover, especially if are there any legal issues? Can we ask potential volunteers questions that you are not allowed to ask if it was an employment interview?

Sheri


Dear Sheri:

I recently wrote a handbook for one of my clients. The table of contents looked like this:

I. Welcome and Foreword
II. Organizational Information
* History and Mission
* Professional Conduct Policy (for staff and volunteers)
* Organization Chart
* Staff Phone and E-Mail Contact List
III. Volunteer Program Information
* History
* Volunteer Opportunities
* Volunteer Application
* Volunteer Policies
* Organization Chart
* Volunteer Address, Phone, and E-Mail Contact List
* Glossary
* Where Is It? (maps, drawings)
* Volunteer Position Descriptions
* Volunteer Coordinator's Position Description

The volunteer policies and procedures section contained the same policies as for staff with additional ones specifically for volunteers, such as finding a replacement for your shift, etc.
As for what you can and can't ask volunteers, there are no employment laws that cover volunteers since they aren't employees. However, the practice is not to ask volunteers anything that you don't ask staff or potential employees.

Thanks for your question!
Connie


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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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