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The Recruitment and Organization of Volunteers page and the Management & Supervision page have been merged into one new page. Everything from ideas to help you work more efficiently to the latest in research on keeping volunteers happy and productive, as well as ideas, suggestions and hints to build volunteer recruitment capacity.

~ September 2007 ~ Topics

Professional Development Opportunity Available To You
Distance Supervision
Baby Boomers-What You Need to Know

Professional Development Opportunity Available To You

Managing a volunteer program requires professional skills. People who manage volunteers are professionals, with standards for performance, academic research on the field of work, and a body of research and practice literature. There are two associations to meet the needs of managers of volunteers, the Congress of Volunteer Association Administrator (COVAA) and the Association of Volunteer Resource Managers (AVRM).


Professional: (1) of or belonging to or connected with a professional; (2) having or showing the skill of a professional; competent; (3) engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation.

Synonyms: trained, practiced, veteran, experienced, qualified, licensed, official, seasoned, competent, able, skilled, expert, master, adept, efficient, authoritative, businesslike, specialist, proficient.

Professionalism (1) the qualities or typical features of a profession or of professionals.


  • standards for performance
  • professional training
  • research in the field of endeavor
  • reports of research in journals
  • professional associations related to the field
  • a body of research and practice literature
  • academic courses to teach theory and practice

AVRM is hosting a conference in Dallas to train professionals who manage volunteer programs. If you are new to the field of managing volunteers or an experienced leader in this field you need to consider attending this dynamic conference. Great speakers, trends in volunteering, and practical sessions on everything from working with a board to recruiting techniques. For more information
"Building Bridges to Our Future" is being held October 3 - 5, 2007 in Dallas, Texas. To register go to: http://www.avrm.org/.

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Interested in more information? Check out our online bookstore for: Episodic Volunteering: Organizing and Managing the Short-Term Volunteer Program, (now available in downloadable PDF format) by Nancy Macduff and The One Minute Answer to Volunteer Management Questions, by Mary Kay Hood.

Details for Episodic Volunteering Book Details for One Minute Answer Book

Distance Supervision

Volunteers are not always near the people responsible for supervising them. Here are some tips to lead to more effective supervision of those volunteers. If you are already supervising distance volunteers, use this as a checklist to determine if some areas need a bit more help.

1. Develop/use clear job, task, or service descriptions: duties, time frames, evaluation process, reporting lines.
2. Seek autonomous volunteers during recruitment: advertise properly, check the position description to reflect the need for autonomy, ask questions about working independently, check references carefully.
3. Be clear about evaluation and supervision process: have written criteria, forms available at recruitment to explaining evaluation/supervision procedures.
4. Have a clear planning process: use measurable goals and objectives to plan, ask volunteers for written work plan, evaluate plan regularly, have back-up plan.
5. Learn to delegate: be a manager not a doer, anticipate problems - plan for them, delegate tasks, analyze work flow, let everyone know your criteria for making decisions.
6. Use modern technology to communicate: computers, email, text messaging, FAX-machines, telephone, video tapes, learn to organize conference phone calls, build them into your budget.
7. Be a good decision maker: be prompt, seek in-put, know your program and people, compromise, realize change is slow.
8. Support the work done: encouragement, understanding, sensitive to personal feelings, heaps of praise, understand people working in groups, be fair, delegate.
9. Take care of yourself: build visits into your annual work plan, delegate, manage time and stress, accept help willingly, resolve conflicts promptly.

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Baby Boomers-What You Need to Know

The post-World War II Baby Boom generation profoundly impacts public policy and society. This impact is caused by the sheer numbers of people in this generation, and the coincidence of important events and developments in the society as a whole. (A general Cohort is defined by demographers as "a group of people, born over a relatively short and contiguous time period, and that is deeply influenced and bound together by the events of their formative years.")

Baby Boomers are those people born between 1946 and 1964. Seventy-five million babies were born in the U.S. during that time. In 1996, 46% of this group were from between 41 to 50 years of age.

Demographers divide Boomers into two Cohorts: The first half of the generation was born between 1946 and 1954. (There were 3.5 million births per year during this time.) The second half, commonly called "Generation Jones," was born between 1955 and 1964. (There were 4.2 million births per year during this time.) Until this point, births per year were less than 3 million per year.

Based on historic participation, the demand for employment services by older workers will increase over the next twenty years.

In 2005, the first of the Baby Boomers turned 60.

By 2015, all Baby Boomers will be over age 50.

In 2025, there will be 65 million Baby Boomers, ranging in age from 61 to 79.

Baby Boomers have had a higher participation in the work force than previous generations. For example, in 1985, boomers were between 21 and 39 years of age--with an 82% work participation rate. Compared to 74% for 21 to 39 year olds in 1974. There has been an especially large increase in the numbers of women in the work force since 1970.

In contrast to earlier generations, women Boomers have delayed marriage and childbearing. Also they have fewer children.

72 - 76% of boomers aged 25-44 had children: 50% were in single-earner households. In 1959, people aged 25 - 44 were married at very high levels--84 - 86%.

In 1900, 92% of women married. By the 1960's and 1970's, only 80% of women married.

The Baby Boom generation has done better economically than their parents' generation. Sometimes the income of the Boomer was 53% higher than that of their parents.

Baby Boomers are the most well educated generation in history. In 1960 3/5ths of the population of 25 - 29 year-olds had a high school diploma. By 1990, 4/5ths of the 25 - 29 year-olds had completed high school. In addition, 25 percent had completed four years of college.

25 - 30% of Baby Boomers have four or more years of college. 11 - 13% do not have a high school diploma.


1940 2,559,000
1946 3,311,000
1955 4,097,000
1957 4,300,000
1964 4,027,000
1974 3,160,000

Family life for Boomers, as reflected in TV families:

1950's I Love Lucy
1960's The Andy Griffith Show
1970's All in the Family

Which celebrity deaths have most affected the Baby Boomers?

John F. Kennedy
Marilyn Monroe
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Boomer fads:

Hula Hoops Frozen Foods
Poodle Skirts and Saddle Shoes Panty Raids
Barbie and GI Joe Dolls Bikinis
Mini-skirts Frisbees
Dune Buggies  

Symbols of the Baby Boom in Suburbia:

  1950 1960
Hot Dog Production 750 1,050
Potato Chip Production 320 532
Sales of Power Mowers 53.6 145.2
Sales of Encyclopedias 72 300
Number of Children (ages 5-14) 24.3 million 35.5 million
Number of Baseball Little Leagues 776 5,700


  • Boomers will not accept current ideas about retirement and old age--"out to pasture."
  • Boomers will retread, not retire, according to surveys by the Yankelovich Group.
  • Boomers are willing to share the vast experience gained from their work and social lives to enhance the lives of others.
  • Boomers will demand real roles having real impact.
  • Boomers are not attracted by busywork or menial tasks.
  • Opportunities for continued growth are high on the Boomer wish list.
  • Boomer engagement in service and volunteerism has the potential to transform the value that society places on such work.
  • By demanding increasingly rich volunteer positions, the Boomer will invest volunteering with the prestige it has long deserved, but not yet received.
  • The size of the Boomer generation has the potential clout to change responsibilities. Currently, the Boomers are overworked, while older men and women are underused. One group has "time famine." The other group has "time flood"--they are adrift in a sea of discretionary time. As Boomers shift their activities, the potential for Boomers is to: (1) provide respite for those in the middle (their own children's ages); and (2) take on more responsibility for the children and young people of their community (their own grandchildren's ages).
  • Some observers (Pete Peterson) see the future filled with elderly drivers clogging up highways; a stagnant society; and no Bill Gates types. Others see the potential for Boomers to slow the frenetic pace of life; and to cultivate personal areas, such as relationships and caring for others.
  • Boomers may not be a "demographic time bomb," but a "time boom" in which older adults become role models for balanced lives, appreciating the virtue of "slowness."
  • "Generativity" is the care and responsibility that moves us along generational lines and links us to the future. This is a concern of old age. Boomers have the potential to build bridges from now into the future.

References: The Aging Baby Boom: Implications for Employment and Training Programs, by Stacy Poulos and Dementra Smith Nightingale for the Urban Institute and Prime Time: How Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America, by Marc Freedman, 1999, Public Affairs, New York


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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