View of the Future - Issues for Volunteerism:
The world's futurists are projecting some trends for
the near future. Many of them have impacts on an organization's ability
to recruit and retain volunteers. This is the last in a three part series
where Volunteer Today shares more on the outlook seen by scientists who
study future trends.
Security and Terrorism
Terrorist acts will increase in frequency and violence.
Preparation to help volunteers know what to do in emergency situations
is critical for even the most benign programs. Scientists suggest
that the world is in for 20 years of continuing violence.
Privacy a thing of the past. Security will increasingly
trump privacy to prevent violence and terrorism. In Britain 1.5
million cameras provide surveillance in pubic areas, schools, office
buildings, streets and shops.
High tech "spyware" used by military forces worldwide
is finding its way into local police forces. This will keep
officers safer, but accountability and ethics of it use are likely
to present challenges.
Vulnerability beyond the city. Future targets of terrorists
may be in rural areas; infecting livestock with diseases, blowing
up chlorine tanks, or bombing a sports venue.
Technology and Science
By 2025 90% of the world's lighting will come from LEDs.
They last longer than regular bulbs and can cut the cost of lighting
Interactive TV at a reasonable price will make training of
volunteers easier. A camera pointed at a viewer would take that
image and superimpose it digitally into a video playing on television.
Simulations are a terrific training tool.
Flexible film and the "roll-up TV." Thin electronic
film will make roll up TV or computer monitors possible. Think of
the opportunities to streamline training and on-going up-dates for
Automobiles will become smarter, safer, and cleaner.
Values and Lifestyles
Moving away from team sports. The demise of the "standard"
workweek means that fewer people have time off to participate in
team sports. So clubs and member groups for sports are likely to
Less control over our time. Time stress is being driven
by several factors, elderly population with care needs, terrorism
and security issues in public places slows movement, and transportation
More control over our time. The increase in flexible working
hours due to the need for 24-hour services and sophisticated technology
will create a more flexible use of time.
Two income household shows decline. In 1997, 53.4%
of all household in the US found husband and wife employed outside
the home. In 2003, it was 50.9%. It appears that husbands and wives
are taking turns being in the work force.
Interested in more information? Check out our online
bookstore for: Episodic Volunteering: Organizing and Managing the
Short-Term Volunteer Program, by Nancy Macduff and The One Minute
Answer to Volunteer Management Questions, by Mary Kay Hood.
"The Boomers Are Coming. The
Boomers Are Coming"
Beginning January 1, 2006 - 7000+ individuals
turned 60 every single day for the entire year in the United States. Staggering
number! Is your volunteer program ready to recruit and place people whose
needs might be different from the current group of volunteers filling
those traditional spots? If not already retired, many boomers will soon
retire. And they don't all want the same thing.
Here is a chart with four types of volunteer
positions and what the volunteer might expect from service in that type
Provide service for positions developed by the organization
Serve on a regular type of schedule; even if only annually
Service often given over a period of many years
An incident, event, activity occurs and people just show up
to help out. (not just disasters)
The volunteers are sincerely interested in providing assistance,
but not in a lengthy or extended application or training process.
Experienced volunteers, with special training can serve as supervisor
and/or mentor to the spontaneous volunteer.
Gather only that information actually needed for liability reasons.
This volunteer wants action NOW.
The volunteer sees a problem fraught with conflict and has a
contribution to remedy what exists and fix things.
They will work hard to mobilize others of a like mind.
Keep recruiting, applications, and screening to a minimum, if
Get them started and try not to tamp down the enthusiasm.
The project or program they come up with might eventually be
mainstreamed as a traditional program.
The Sierra Club was radical in its early days, so were the volunteers
Volunteers want to help, often with others in a relaxed and
Rules, procedures, and roadblocks will turn them off.
They are happiest designing their own jobs that allow freedom
in time and type of service.
Often best with difficult clients where strict schedules are
Boomers are not the only age cohort with
interest in these four areas of volunteering. But, certainly the most
obvious...if only because of their numbers. Review the different types
of volunteers and think of the management strategies needed to attract
and keep these volunteers. Use the worksheet provided.
Planning for Managing Boomers
The Four Types Worksheet
Directions: Write one type of volunteer position on the first line
provided. Next, review what the office that manages the volunteer(s)
needs to do to oversee the work of this type of individual. Do this
for each process listed below to begin the process of parallel volunteer
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.