VolunteerToday.com~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
| RECRUITING & RETENTION
~ September 2005 ~ Topics
PDA and the Volunteer: Some Opportunities
Two physics professors in Kansas got a grant to provide personal digital assistants (PDA) for their students. It is an experimental grant to see if these communication devices could improve classroom interaction and reinforce information delivered through lecture. It allows for instant feedback during class, to allow for changes as the class progresses. The PDA is interactive, unlike a textbook. So, what does this have to do with volunteers?
Web-based PDA systems means the user can use a laptop or cellphone to interact with someone else in real time. Many programs have volunteers who are at some distance doing service for the organization. This is especially true of outdoors or recreation volunteers. Imagine having the capacity to send information from a park site to headquarters in real time. Could be used for emergencies.Suppose volunteers are doing a species count, the PDA could connect volunteers in the field to each other and to headquarters.
The implementation of such an idea might be appealing to a funder, too. Hewlett-Packard supplied the PDAs for the professors in Kansas. You will need an expert on PDAs, check among current volunteers. Involve the computer experts in your own organization. Talk to field based volunteers about how this could help them. Much investigation is needed, but technology exists to make jobs easier, and not just for staff, but volunteers, too.
Interested in more information? Check out our online bookstore for: Volunteer Recruiting & Retention: A Marketing Approach, by Nancy Macduff and To Lead is to Serve, by Shar McBee.
Retirees: Will They Volunteer in the Future?
The retirement models of the past are not likely to take us into the very near future. Heres why.
Boomers are such a large "blip" on the demographic radar screen, it makes their influence overshadow other age cohorts. Attitudes toward retirement and hence volunteering are considerably different from the previous three eras. In a recent article in The Futurist, Ken Dychtwald, a gerontologist and psychologist, suggests a model he sees for millions of baby boom retirees.
Most retirees would rather be working. Though most want to work part time.
What does this mean for the volunteer programs and recruiting efforts?
Keeping Effective Boards Healthy
How can you assess the effectiveness of a board of directors? Gill, Flynn, and Reissing have developed a 15-item assessment, the Governance Self-Assessment Checklist (GSAC) to do just that. The GSAC covers the good-governance essentials that board members ought to know about their organization, their responsibilities, and effective practices. In an article in Nonprofit and Management and Leadership (Spring 2005) the authors report on the results of administering the GSAC to 281 board members, 31 executive directors, in 32 organizations. Here are some snippets of their findings about boards.
Gill, Mel, Flynn, Robert J., Reissing, Elke, "The Governance Self-Assessment Checklist: An Instrument for Assessing Board Effectiveness." Vol. 15, no. 3, Spring 2005
For information on the study contact: Mel Gill, Synergy Associates, Ottawa at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAILY POINTS OF LIGHT AWARD FORMS AVAILABLE
The Points of Light Foundation has forms available to nominate volunteers and volunteer organizations for the Daily Points of Light Award. It is designed recognize individuals and groups that demonstrate unique and innovative approaches to community volunteering and citizen action, with a strong emphasis on service focused on the goals for children and young people set by the Presidents Summit for American's Future. The award is given five days a week, excluding holidays. If you would like nomination forms, call 202-729-8000.
By calling 1-800-VOLUNTEER in the U.S., individuals can be connected to their local volunteer center. This is a national interactive call routing system designed to get volunteers connected to people who can help them volunteer.
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