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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

~September 2003~ Topics

Dear Connie:

I am a planner with a state Department of Corrections. We are starting to track the number of hours our inmates participate in community services and want to begin attaching a dollar amount to that figure. What is the federal hourly rate for volunteers? Is there a formula for calculating the worth of community service? I appreciate any information you can give me, including additional resources. Thanks!


Dear L.G.:

There is a nationally recognized hourly rate for volunteers, which is established by a Washington, DC, organization called Independent Sector. The current value of volunteer time is $16.54 per hour. The hourly value, updated yearly, is based on the average hourly earnings of all nonagricultural workers as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Independent Sector takes this figure and increases it by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.
For a thoughtful article on valuing volunteer time, visit the Merrill Associates website at http://www.merrillassociates.net and click on Topic of the Month. You’ll find Part II of “Exploring the Value of Volunteering.” (The link to Part I is in the left-hand column.) The entire article is excellent food for thought!
For additional resources, do a Google.com search on the web for "inmate volunteers."You'll find a long list of links to articles and information about various state programs (e.g., Ohio, Texas, Washington) for inmate volunteers and inmates in community service.

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Dear Connie:

Greetings! I hope you are doing well. I am trying to develop a form to evaluate our volunteer program for the volunteers to fill in. I would really appreciate if you could please email me any sample forms or resources you have. Thanking you in advance,

Dib in Toronto

Dear Dib:

I don’t have any sample forms to share, but here are some questions to consider asking:

  1. Do you receive the training you need to do your tasks? If not, how can that be improved?
  2. Do you enjoy working at our organization? If not, why not?
  3. Do you recommend volunteering here to your friends/family? If not, why not?
  4. Do you receive enough/too much/too little communication from us about the volunteer program?
  5. Same question as above but for the organization.
  6. If you could change one thing about our volunteer program, what would it be?
  7. What's the best thing about your volunteer work here?
  8. What's the worst?
  9. Do you feel that your time here is well utilized? If not, why not?
  10. Do you feel that your efforts are appropriately recognized? If not, why not?

Since I don't know if you're evaluating a specific element of the program or the overall program, I took the latter approach. I hope this stimulates your own creative thinking! Also, if you’d like to evaluate certain program elements yourself, be sure to check out the Volunteer Program Evaluation Series here at VolunteerToday.com. The series currently includes evaluation of recruitment, risk management, organizational readiness, and staff/volunteer relations, with more topics to come in the future.

Dear Connie:

Can you give me some ideas on how to organize a motorcycle poker run? We want to have such an event as a fundraiser here in Southern California. Thanks!


Dear John:

What a timely question! Harley Davidson is celebrating its 100th anniversary today (8/30/03) in Milwaukee!
When I received your message, I knew nothing about motorcycle poker runs, but I certainly do now! I did a Google.com search on the web for "motorcycle poker run" and found a LONG list of motorcycle clubs and associations that organize poker runs.

After cruising around the list (pun intended!) I concluded that the first thing you should do is contact your local motorcycle club. There are three American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) clubs in your area. Your can visit their websites at http://www.abate.org/local6, http://www.redhotriders.com, and http://www.d38ama.com. One of them may already hold a poker run and/or they can probably tell you how to organize one. The AMA is another resource for you at http://www.ama-cycle.org. Use their search engine for "poker run" to get links to motorcycle clubs that hold poker runs and then contact them for information. I found 10 clubs that are holding poker runs in California from September through November. The Southern California Motorcycling Association may also be a resource for you at http://www.sc-ma.com.

From my research, it appears that at AMA Poker Runs there are specified routes that riders are assigned, with three checkpoints on each route. The run has a specific beginning and ending time, with plenty of time allowed to complete the routes. Riders are grouped by class of bike and number of passengers and pay registration fees accordingly. Each rider draws a playing card at each checkpoint (the start and end points count as checkpoints) for a total of 5 cards. The rider with the best pokerOpen Road Image hand wins the poker run. Another option is for riders to pick from tickets numbered 1 to 999 at specified points on the routes. At the end of the run the numbers are totaled for the overall score and prizes are awarded.

Fundraising opportunities include the registration fees, sponsorships, prizes, and in-kind donations such as food. Happy trails!

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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