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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.

Management Image

~September 2003~ Topics

Who Needs to Know?

Americans and others around the world have to balance the desire for privacy with increasing government intrusion in order to battle terrorism. A study in the United States by Harris Interactive, in February 2003, sheds some light on attitudes related to privacy issues.

Close to 70% of Americans believe that consumers have lost all control over how personal information is collected and used. In light of internet-use monitoring at work, only 42% think “not being monitored at work” is extremely important.

What is interesting is the reaction to certain types of privacy issues by age, region and race:

Privacy Issue
Percentage for or against by Age, Region and/or Race
National ID card

71% of Northeasterners and Southeasteners favor the use.
53% of Midwesterners and 59% of Westerners agree that an ID card is desirable.

Cell Phone Monitoring 54% of older Americans are in favor of expanded monitoring.
Only 34% of those ages 18 to 34 agree with the idea of monitoring.
Gathering of Info Whites and Latino/Hispanics are the most comfortable with the gathering of information for security purposes; while African-Americans are the most wary of all types of incursions into privacy.
Document & Security Checks 93% of Hispanics believe there needs to be stronger document and physical security checking for travelers.
87% for Whites.
75% for Blacks.
Surveillance 92% of Hispanics approve expanded undercover surveillance of groups under suspicion by the government.
85% by Whites.
57% by Blacks.
Consumer Privacy Overall, only 35% of Blacks believe there is sufficient protection.
46% for Whites.
48% for Hispanics.

This information has implications for volunteer programs. Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  1. Is the information collected on the volunteer application essential for the person to be equitably evaluated for the volunteer position? Are we asking unnecessary questions?
  2. How many people handle or have access to volunteer applications?
  3. What type of security systems are in use to protect the privacy of the volunteer database and/or the Justice Scales Imagepaper “trail” upon which it is based?
  4. Does the organization use the database in appropriate ways related to fund raising? For example, individuals are asked if they wish to receive information on fund raising activities and are not solicited unless that is requested.
  5. Are the requests for personal information explained to volunteers and are they told how that is related to the job they will do for the organization?

Return to the Menu
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!

Quick Management Tips

Checkmark Image Avoid talking down to an angry volunteer. Avoid saying things like, “You’re upset now. Why don’t you calm down and we’ll talk when you are rational about this.”
Checkmark Image In a slump? Come to work an hour early. Catch up on reading and paper work. The sense of accomplishment should last for days.
Checkmark Image Be sure each meeting you set up has an objective and agenda to accomplish getting to the goal.
Checkmark Image Never sugar coat volunteer positions. Be clear with people about the exciting parts of a position, but also the more mundane aspects. Honesty engenders loyalty.
Checkmark Image Each day, record a new voice message to tell people when you will be available to take phone calls. “I”ll be in meetings most of the morning, but working at my desk from 2 pm to 3:30 pm., then more meetings. Please call me when I can take your call in person.”
Checkmark Image If it takes longer than 10 minutes to compose an email message it is better suited to a memo, meeting, or report.
Checkmark Image Never make promises you cannot keep. Do what you say you will do.

Coping with Reverses

Lightning ImageEvery manager of volunteers can recount the defeats, setbacks, or reverses that have come his/her way over the years. A staff position lost or never funded, a project killed, a promotion lost, a volunteer lost, or the lack of support from a new administration. The way the manager of volunteers handles reverses, positive or negative, can be part of the employee’s work history for decades. The “gossip” about someone’s behavior during a challenging time can impact the opportunity for promotions, internal and external relationships, and morale for the individual. Here are some tips on coping with life’s reverses.

  • Get a second opinion. Sometimes the best thing to do is evaluate what happened. Hospitals do post mortems; social workers conduct staffings, and football players watch the Sunday game on Monday morning. Find the best person to help you evaluate what happened and your part in the outcome. Have the individual help you assess the situation and then make plans to set new goals or plans.
  • Surprise yourself with 100% commitment. Reverses at work can make people want to give less than their best. Avoid this temptation. Yes, you are hurt and want to slack off. Now is the time to show you are a team player and can work at 100% or more!
  • Make a pro and con list. Try to be objective about the situation. List the pros andcons of what hasClouds & Sun Image happened. Admit to being disappointed by what happened, but avoid seeing yourself as a failure.


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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