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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.

~ August 2008 ~


Effective Feedback

Feedback occurs when person “A” tells person “B” how his behavior affects her. This technical term comes from the field of automation. (For example, the thermostat gives feedback to a furnace on how well the furnace is heating the room.)

Those who work with volunteers are often in the position of providing feedback.  It may be reviewing with a volunteer how a particular task is most efficiently and effectively accomplished.  Example:  “In my experience if you move A closer to B your arm will hurt less.”  Or “I noticed how you handled that person and it was done with poise, clarity, and you were very specific.” It is usually direct and descriptive.  It is far more than, “You’re doing a great job.”  That is not feedback. . .it is a thank you.  Here are some tips to help you with feedback.

Some suggestions:

  1. Feedback should be clear and undistorted.
  2. If possible give the information while the data is fresh in everyone's mind, it should follow as closely as possible the behavior which instigated the reaction.
  3. It should relate to data. What is offered as feedback should be what was actually seen and/or heard by the respondent.
  4. The giver of the feedback should check his/her observations with the person observed.  “Did you see or experience it the way I did?”
  5. It should be usable. Feedback should be offered at a time, and in such a way, that the recipient can accept and use.

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What Do Volunteers Want to Know?

Volunteer interviews tend to focus on the suitability of the person offering volunteer service to the organization.  The effective interview is one that matches the volunteer’s engagement with the needs of the organization.  This means that who ever talks with prospective volunteers needs to know the answers to some basic questions.  Here is a sample of those questions volunteers might ask or need to know before signing up.


  1. What is the purpose of the organization?
  2. How does the organization carry out this purpose?
  3. What is the program of work?  What is it volunteers and staff do?
  4. What are some of the projects and accomplishments of the past?
  5. How is the organization financed?
  6. How is the money spent?
  7. What is the size of the current membership, or those served, and how many volunteers?
  8. What is the history of the organization?
  9. What does the average volunteer do to help promote the work of the organization?
  10. Who are the leaders of the organization and what are their responsibilities?

--adapted from Advisory Councils--Cole and Cole 1983


Training in Olympia, WA

Revitalizing Your Volunteer Programs: New Models, New People, New Strategies

Time: 9:30 AM - 4 PM
Location: Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave., Lacey, WA

Cost: $75

Registration information: http://www.volunteer.ws/



Sponsor: Volunteer Center of Lewis, Mason, and Thurston Counties

Its is getting harder and harder to find volunteers. What's happening? Spend the day with nationally known author and trainer Nancy Macduff as she leads us in a lively exploration of the issues facing those who manage volunteers. Explore a new model of volunteering based on how people are asking to volunteer. Review the practical strategies for recruiting and managing traditional and non-traditional forms of volunteering. Go home with practical ideas to enhance your volunteer program.

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Stress Checklist

Are you stressed?  Is it time to take a break?  Research can delineate between people who thrive on long work hours and those who are stressed by those same hours.  Here is a chart that describes the differences.

People Who Thrive on Long Work Hours

People Who Experience Stress in the Workplace

  1. Respond promptly to evidence of fatigue
  2. Avoid abusing alcohol and/or drugs
  3. Enjoy planned time off
  4. Have a sense of humor
  5. Have a stable home situation
  6. Maintain friendships
  7. Are able to delay thinking about problems
  8. Engage in regular exercise
  9. Have a variety of interests
  1. Extend the work day to cover reduced output
  2. Abuse alcohol and/or drugs to escape the stress
  3. Delay taking time off
  4. Are unable to laugh at oneself
  5. Have a disruptive home life
  6. Prefer to be alone
  7. Work about work-related problems
  8. Do not exercise
  9. Have few outside interests



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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