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VolunteerToday.com~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


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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~October 2003~ Topics

What’s with Blogging?

Blogging??? What is that? The word Big Blob Imageblog is a contraction of the words Web and log. It describes a web site that serves as a personal journal or diary. It is an online space where people can publish anything from artwork to ranting and raving. In some cases a blog is just the meanderings of an individual about their life. In other cases a blog is a publishing platform with information about public life or events. You can find blogs on Iraq or tax cuts. Some folks think that these types of blogs are a purist form of journalism, offering information not tainted by the views of big media.

Blogs started in the US about 1997. If you are interested in more information on the development of blogs, visit the Motime web site http://ww.motime.com. They have links to historical information.

So, why should someone who manages volunteers be interested in blogs? Because more and more volunteers are blogging and the things they say are interesting. It is also something an organization can offer to volunteers as a means to process their feelings about volunteering and read what others who volunteer think about their experience. In fact, some blog hosting sites can set up group sites for people with special interests. Most of these sites offer the reader the opportunity to comment on the writings of the blogger.

This author made a search of the Web and found some interesting comments by people who are volunteering, and some ranting about why they would never volunteer. It was quite instructive - as related to recruiting and the image of volunteerism amongst the blogger community. One enterprising soul put a blog about volunteer opportunities in Kenya. Yet another method to find people on line to volunteer.

Here are some sites where a blogger can get started:Big Blob Image

  • Blogdex - http://blogdex.net
  • Daypop - http://www.daypop.com
  • Popdex - http//www.popdex.com

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The Dr. Is In And It is Free
at the
International Conference on Volunteer Administration
Cincinnati, Ohio October 15 – 18, 2003
Consultations on the Management and Administration of Volunteer Programs, World Renown Consultants Focus on Your Program:
Georgean Johnson-Coffey Mary Merrill
Nancy Macduff Connie Pirtle - Cancelled - updated 10/6/03

Doctor ImageMacduff/Bunt Associates, in association with individual consultants, offers FREE 30 minute consultations with one of four experienced managers of volunteer programs who are currently doing consulting and training on all aspects of volunteerism. Sign-Up NOW by emailing editor@volunteertoday.com and requesting a consultant and a time slot. We will post the updated schedules daily (or more often if needed). Reservations will be based on a first come, first serve basis. Time conflicts will be accommodated as much as possible. Sign up for an available consultation slot. They are limited. To see the schedule, click here then email us for your reservation. Then visit the MBA booth at the conference to meet your consultant. If slots are available, you will be able to sign up at the conferencealso.

Hope to see you at the 2003 ICVA Conference!

Leverage: The Power of Influence

Leverage for volunteer programs was the topic of a recent training session for this author. With a professional colleague, I developed a list of things to help managers of volunteer programs increase their leverage inside and outside the organization.

Leverage is influence that is not institutionalized nor necessarily visible. An executive director or administrator has power because of their position, a support staff person has leverage (influence) because they are respected and admired by those with whom they work. The individual is consulted and considered when it is time to make decisions. That is leverage. How can you get leverage?

1. Begin by being the best! A well run, professional volunteer program is essential to have leverage. Consistently attracting top quality volunteers, maintaining a stable attrition rate, working harmoniously with paid staff and volunteers, and knowing the numbers and sharing them are just some of the elements to a superior program. Well done work gives people influence inside their organization and outside, too.
2. Make the leadership look good. Managers of volunteers who involve leaders, let them shine, and give them credit for support of the volunteer program are usually respected as part of the decision making process.
3. Never whine. Sure, it is tough to find volunteers, but it has rarely been different. Whining doesn’t solve the problem. Moaning and wringing your hands doesn’t help solve the problems. And non-whiners get more attention than whiners and that is leverage.
4. Prevent problems. Think ahead to anticipate challenges. Solve them at the earliest sign so they do not get bigger and require administrators to fix them.
5. Be your best promoter. Do not be shy. Share your thoughts ideas, problems you have solved, situations you anticipated and headed off, contributions you and your program make to the health of the entire organization. Shrinking violets might be pretty, but rarely do they have leverage. Let people know what you think and what you are doing.
6. Engage others to help. Involving volunteers, paid staff, and outsiders is a way to increase the numbers of people on your “team.” The more people involved in any project, the better the chance of it becoming a reality. Lose the attitude, “If I do it myself I know it will be done right.” Leverage and numbers are connected.

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Blob Image Greeting Card Recognition Blob Image

Holiday or birthday greeting card recognition has long been a strategy to acknowledge the work of volunteers. Here are some tips on alternate ways to ratchet up the power of the greeting card.

  • The New England Aquarium has a “cod” that says thank you. They created a card with a “cod” likeness so employees could say thank you to one another. Think of a clever play on words for your organization and price the cost of creating a card to be used by paid staff to recognize volunteer efforts, or for staff to recognize other staff. Pitch a proposal to the administration to fund this recognition idea.Horn Players Image
  • Buy those close out post cards in the local bookstore. Write one post cardthank you every day to a volunteer or paid staff member, especially those who work with volunteers.
  • Supply all supervisors with cards to say thank you to volunteers. Give them a strip of labels with addresses pre-printed. Make it as easy as possible for them to acknowledge the work of volunteers.
  • Clients can acknowledge volunteers. Develop a simple means for them to write a note to volunteers. Post cards are easy, or pre-printed 3 x 5 cards that say thank you!


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.

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