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.
The volunteer completes the application, is successfully
screened, and is showing up tomorrow. Here are some questions to make
the experience of the first day the best one possible.
Why did you decide to join our organization
as a volunteer?
Based on your experience so far, how would
you describe our organization?
What do you think you need to learn?
What questions can I answer?
How can I support you as a volunteer?
Interested in more information?
Check out our online
bookstore for Secrets of Leadership by Rick Lynch & Sue
Vineyard and Risk Management: Strategies for Managing Volunteer Programs
by Sarah Henson and Rick Lynch.
A tongue-in-cheek assessment of your
leadership skill done with wit, can allow you to assess how well you
Directions: The assessments asks about
four circumstances confronting most leaders, whether volunteers
or paid staff. Indicate your answers to test your skills.
1. When someone admits a mistake, you should:
_____A. Show support. (Its great when someone can admit
to a mistake.)
_____B. Downplay the error. (Nothing to worry about.)
_____C. Reprimand he person. (Lets make sure this doesnt
_____D. Ask a follow-up question. (Have you messed up
2. When you are leading a meeting, you:
_____A. Sum up and warm up group with 15 minute monologue.
_____B. Ask open-ended questions and lead discussions.
_____C. Place another person in charge and watch group dynamics.
_____D. Fall asleep during "Old Business."
3. If you are disappointed or angry with someone
you are likely to:
______A. Express disappointment.
______B. Let person discover the consequences of his or her
______C. Think about message you wish to send, and then act
______D. Eat a carton of Hagen-Daz to bury your disappointment.
4. The most important trait to display as a
team leader is:
_____A. Wisdom of Solomon.
_____B. Inspirational power of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
_____C. Patience of Job.
_____D. The restraint of Adam Sandler in "Anger Management."
1. A. Leaders
should support people who are willing to own up to errors.
2. B. Leaders ask pointed questions and encourage free flowing discussion.
. . at least while they are awake.
3. C. Leaders think before they speak. Although D is very tempting.
4. B. All are valuable, but leaders who cannot inspire are not really
Committees run of gas on occasion. Sometimes
it is critical to help them get their energy back with special exercises.
This exercise is especially good when a committee needs to brainstorm
In advance of a meeting, ask people to bring in old magazines. This
can be ones they read
all the time or new ones. You gather enough magazines from staff and
volunteers to cover for those who might forget to bring magazines.
Create a comfortable work space with tables and chairs, snacks and
soft music. Then ask people to take a sheet of easel paper and glue,
tape and scissors. (You will need to scout up enough of these for every
other person to use).
Ask people to look for ads, article, photos, images or headlines that
capture their attention. Then, ask them to arrange the things chosen
on the easel paper and post it on the walls of the meeting room.
Use a set period of time to accomplish this task. Then ask people
to look over the new décor and discuss their impressions. Use
this discussion time to work on the issues facing the committee.
This use of the brain gets adults in a
mode to be creative and energetic when tackling the problems or issues
for which the committee is responsible. It can kindle a new spirit in
a small group.
Interested in assessing volunteer and
staff relations in your program?
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