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VT 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

~ December 2004 ~ Topics

Dear Connie:

Tell me, please: CAVS these initials are written after the Director of Volunteer Services name: Mary Smith, CAVS, Director of Volunteer Services. I have been told that it means Certified Administrative Volunteer Services; can you explain briefly what this would represent.


Dear Sarah:

The Certified Administrator of Volunteer Services (CAVS) is certification from the American Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ASDVS), the national organization for administrators of volunteers in hospitals. Organized in 1968, ASDVS is one of the 13 personal membership groups in the American Hospital Association (AHA). ASDVS provides a review guide to prepare individuals for the CAVS examination. The guide focuses on the six content areas of the CAVS exam: Planning & Program Development, Management of Human Resources, Finance, Organization & Management of Services, Outreach, Advocacy & Public Relations, and Professional Development. The Guide is a valuable tool for healthcare volunteer management professionals who seek to increase their recognition and credibility by successfully completing the CAVS exam.

For more information on ASDVS and the CAVS certification, visit their website at: http://www.asdvs.org.

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Dear Connie:

I have often been asked Why Volunteer? What is the purpose for volunteers? Why am I not being paid money to volunteer? What are you supposed to get from a volunteer? I cannot answer these question can you please help me? I am trying to get people to volunteer in my community. Thank you for the help.



Dear Janice:

Volunteers are important to any organization because they:

  • demonstrate community support
  • are ambassadors for the organization to the community
  • bring new ideas and new energy to the staff
  • extend the resources of the organization
  • have contacts and expand the sphere of influence of the organization
  • increase the organization's diversity

These are just a few of the many reasons why it is important to utilize volunteers. My colleague, Mary Merrill, has an excellent article titled "Why Volunteers?" on her website at: http://www.merrillassociates.net. It's one of her topics of the month, so just click on that and you'll find an alphabetical list of topics.

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Dear Connie:

I would like to have some input about counseling a volunteer about their attitude while on duty as a volunteer. I believe they want to leave the program and if this is their final decision I would like the termination to be as positive an experience as possible. I've heard about establishing an emeritus status. Please advise. Thank you!



Dear Barbara:

I have found that the best way to address this issue would be to talk with the volunteer and ask some leading questions that will hopefully "tell you" what the problem is. For example, I might ask, "What do you like best about volunteering here?" and "What do you like least?" You could also ask, "Are you satisfied with your volunteer experience here?" and "If not, why?" If you think the problems can be corrected, then you have the opportunity to create solutions with the volunteer's input. If not, then you should be positioned to suggest that he/she leave the program. You can even offer to help find another organization for which to volunteer, if this is appropriate.

As for emeritus status, it has been my experience that this status is reserved and best used for volunteers who can no longer volunteer (age, physical challenges, etc.), but want to stay connected to the program and the institution. It isn't appropriate for "problem" volunteers.

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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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