~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
MANAGEMENT & SUPERVISION
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.
Linda Graff, a consultant and trainer
from Ontario, Canada, inspired a unique award program for the Kawartha
Lakes Association of Volunteer Adminstration (KLAVA). During a training
session, Linda commented that organizations should be recognized for
using good volunteer management practices. She was specifically talking
about risk management, but Evelyn Chambers, the Volunteer Support
Services Manager for 4-H Ontario broadened the idea, discussed it
with the leadership of KLAVA, and some awards were born.
The series of awards recognizes community
agencies for Excellence in Volunteer Management. There are three categories
of awards: organizations with fewer than 25 volunteers, 26 to 50 volunteers,
and 50 or more volunteers. The organizations are evaluated on such
things as volunteer training, risk management, screening, recognition,
and crisis management.
The idea was so good that KLAVA was
joined in its sponsorship by the Lindsay District Chamber of Commerce
and United Way in the greater Kawartha Lakes area. The first awards
were presented at City Hall in April 2004.
Interested in more information?
Check out our online
bookstore for Beyond Police Checks,
authored by Linda Graff.
Volunteer handbooks are where you lay
out the rules, policies, and laws of serving in the organization.
The handbook is an essential tool to managing volunteers. If you do
not have one, now is the time to write one. If you have one, when
was the last time it was revised? Here are some tips to help.
Avoid using a formulaic type
of handbook. Keep it specific to your program.
Topics might include, but are
not limited to: confidentiality, handling of money, attire, attendance,
reason for immediate dismissal, sexual harassment, performance, etc.
Avoid being overly specific.
This gives the impression that every possible issue is covered in
the manual. That has the potential to lead to law suits.
Be sure to be consistent with
other organizational documents or policies.
Make it look like other "official"
organizational documents. Avoid being too cutesy!
Check out the laws related
to volunteers and be sure the volunteer manual is within compliance.
Do not put in policies that
the administration will not back, no matter how much you might want
them. That is unrealistic.
Volunteers working on a team project
over a long period of time can lose momentum. Keeping the energy and
commitment up requires constant communication. As interim tasks or
goals are achieved it is time for a "recap." This helps
members of the volunteer team know the work is being accomplished
and can renew enthusiasm. Here is a quick way to up-date people.
An email - or paper report, for those
with no email access - should answer these questions:
1. What was the original project goal?
To hold an art auction to raise
money for the organizations endowment campaign.
2. What made it important?
Traditional funding sources are
providing less and the need is growing by 15% per year.
3. What made it difficult?
The economy in our area is still
recovering from an economic down turn. And there was a scandal with
a nonprofit misusing its donated funds.
4. Who worked on the project?
Four teams: acquisition, finance,
event, and publicity, led by Harry, Cheryl, Rosita, and Thomas.
5. What made the people right for this project?
Harry knows every artist in the
Tri-County area, Cheryl loves to crunch numbers, Rosita never met
a party she didn't love, and Thomas is enduringly optimistic.
6. What are the good aspects of the project (get
Rosita's team got a donated space
that is elegant and Thomas has a team member who is donating all
print for publicity and the event - and all this has happened since
our last meeting since the last meeting!
7. How were problems solved (get specific here)?
Acquisition of art has been sluggish
in the past. As of last week, Harry's team was ahead 23% in the
acquisition of art for the auction from the same time last year.
8. What aspects seem to make everyone proud?
Harry: "My team's dogged
pursuit of terrific art objects." Cheryl: "My team's all-out
effort to raise money to make this the best auction ever."
Rosita: "Paul was the champion persuader to get us Monet Gardens
for the event." Thomas: "Two team members have the art
worked totally designed and ready to drop in text for brochures,
flyers, and the Web. Another person on the team got $3000 in donated
advertising from a TV station. These folks just don't stop."
Recaps take very little time, but can be a powerful mid-course
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