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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

~ February 2006 ~

Creating a Volunteer Handbook
Minority Outreach Plan

Dear Connie:

I have been asked to prepare a volunteer policies manual. Although we have been working with volunteers for many years, we do not have our policies written down. Could you steer me to a good example of such a manual and/or to some guidelines for what would be ideally included?

Thanks so much for any help.


Dear Liz:

The Resource Center at the Corporation for National and Community Service has an excellent resource on creating a handbook, "Effective Practice: Creating a Volunteer Handbook." It covers everything from "Actions to Consider" to "Context and Setting" and "Outcome Achieved." There are also citations and additional resources.

The Volunteer Support Project published "The Generic Volunteer Orientation Manual: Your Guide to Developing an Orientation Manual for Volunteers." It contains 70 pages of policies, procedures, guidelines, and samples, along with a computer disk of the materials in PC format. The book includes a broad selection of policies; sample mission statements, program histories, and guidelines; examples for scheduling and tracking volunteers; and more. The cost is $25, which includes shipping and handling. For ordering information visit their website.

Finally, here is a generic table of contents that I use when creating a volunteer handbook:

I. Welcome and Foreword

II. Organizational Information

* History and Mission
* Professional Conduct Policy (for staff and volunteers)
* Organization Chart
* Staff Phone and E-Mail Contact List

III. Volunteer Program Information

* History
* Volunteer Opportunities
* Volunteer Application
* Volunteer Policies
* Organization Chart
* Volunteer Address, Phone, and E-Mail Contact List
* Glossary
* Where Is It? (maps, drawings)
* Volunteer Position Descriptions
* Volunteer Coordinator's Position Description

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Dear Connie:

I work for a volunteer driven organization. My goal is to reach out to more minorities to get involved. I want to develop a minority outreach plan to share with our affiliates. Where should I start? Thanks for your attention to this.


Dear L.W.:

I did a Google search for "minority outreach plan + volunteer" and found a variety of articles and resources that might help you. You can do your own search by using those keywords at the Google site.

I also found a plan from the city of Wilmington, NC, that could be adapted easily to any organization. The two-page plan is on their website. I adapted several of the components to give you the idea:

Partner with organizations that are minority-focused, such as the Black Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and others in your community.
Build new relationships through networking and sharing information about your organization.
Participate in educational opportunities throughout your community, such as seminars and training sessions, to share the volunteer opportunities available at your organization.
Be visible in your community by participating in job fairs and making presentations to local membership groups and clubs. Don't miss an opportunity to share information about your organization and the available volunteer opportunities.
Enhance your website by defining your inclusion policies, listing good faith efforts, and creating awareness of specific volunteer opportunities.
Make available to minority-focused organizations in your community a list of the available volunteer opportunities.
Advertise or post your volunteer opportunities in minority-focused media, both print and online.

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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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