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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.

~ December 2006 ~ Topics

Annual Report Check-Up
Vision Casting

Annual Report Check-Up

As we near the end of the year, now is a good time to review your annual report or make plans to develop one. Here is a checklist that is helpful to see how yours compares or a guide if you want to attempt one.

Annual Report Check-Up
(or insert to your agencies report)

Is it 2 – 20 pages?

Does it have an Executive Director/Volunteer Manager Letter?

Are the staff/board/ advisory council members listed, perhaps pictured?

Is there a narrative outlining the year in review?

Do you have a summary of accomplishments of your program/agency?

Are there financial statistics?

Have you recognized, perhaps even listed the volunteers /donors?

Are there photographs?

Have you enclosed information about program/agency and listed contact information
and/or enclosed a contribution envelope?

Do you have testimonials from clients?

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Interested in more information? Check out our online bookstore for Secrets of Leadership by Rick Lynch & Sue Vineyard and Best of All: The Quick Reference Guide to Effective Volunteer Involvement by Linda Graff.

Details for Secrets of Leadership Book Details for Best of All Book

Vision Casting

Another good tool for the new year is Vision Casting. It can be thought of as a painting and is comprised of the following items:

Vision - "If you can dream it, you can do it." ~ Walt Disney

The vision is everything you see in your mind before it touches the page of reality. It can also be thought of as blank canvas awaiting the picture to emerge.

Mission - "Give me a place to stand and I will move the earth." ~ Archimedes, Greek philosopher

If you were painting a picture, the mission would be the sun. Write out your mission. This is a time to dream big and revisit how you want the rays of your big picture to affect the rest of the elements.

Goals – "A goal is a dream with a deadline." ~ Napoleon Hill

A goal adds detail by breaking down the skyline into smaller pieces such as programs or areas of service. These are the shapes of the painting.

Challenges – "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." ~ Will Rogers

The challenges are the obstacles that are in your path. They are the mountains and molehills of the picture. It is helpful to list them and formulate a strategy of overcoming them.

Supports – "But, you know, those three words - I need help. If only I'd said them
earlier." ~ Elton John

The supports are individuals, groups and resources that will be a part of the vision. They are like the water in the painting that can refresh you.

Values – "Conscience is a man's compass." ~ Vincent Van Gogh

The values are what you want to resonate throughout the whole vision. It's the land in the picture that everything is built upon.

Steps – "Some people dream of success while others wake up and work hard at it." ~ Anonymous

The steps denote the route an organization and/or individual take toward the vision. It should have the same impact that will leave the marks of someone walking along the beach.

Once you have the vision clear in your mind, it is time for implementation. If you are having a hard time feeling creative, just remember what Michelangelo said, "A man paints with his brains and not with his hands."


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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Liz Needham

Liz Needham is currently the Volunteer Services Coordinator for the City of Raleigh Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Foster Grandparent Program. She has 12 years of managerial and supervisory experience in the non-profit, local government and business sectors. She can be reached by email at: elizabeth.needham@ci.raleigh.nc.us or by phone at: (919) 831-6098.

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