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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs at the local level, including information for cities, counties, boards, commissions, and districts.

~November 2008 ~

Recognizing Our Peers

We may often get recognized by our co-workers, our bosses, and sometimes even our volunteers, for doing good work.   We know that as directors/managers/coordinators of volunteers our work seems never good enough.  No one would ever believe the stories that we could tell.  No one would ever believe the days we encounter, the volunteers who walk through our door, or the lengths we go to in order to maintain order in a chaotic office.  No one, that is, except our peers, know what we go through on a daily basis.

The Pennsylvania Society of Directors of Volunteers in Healthcare (PSDVS) recently held their annual state conference.  During the conference, we recognize one of our peers for the work she (or he) does and have done so since 1982.  The process is year long with a committee, nominations, and discussions in deciding the recipient for the award.  But how do you choose someone for their work as an outstanding volunteer administrator? 

We can’t do enough to recognize, encourage, support, and laugh with our peers who are in our field.  I will send an email to those who were members of our chapter – just to see how they are doing, that they are missed, and wish them well.  I will call my peers to say that I haven’t heard from them in a while and is everything okay?  I look forward to our quarterly meetings.  The energy is overwhelming, but that which keeps me going until the next meeting.

I encourage you to honor and recognize those in your field, your state organizations, and your local chapters.  We often feel alone in the work that we do.  But how amazing we feel when our peers recognize us as a leader in our field.  A card, an e-mail, a simple 5-minute phone call can go a long way to let your peers know you are here for them and understand.

Keep up the great work that you do for volunteers and for your organization.  I salute all of you!


Short description of this series: "Organizations are successful at achieving their mission when volunteers and staff are a team. Evaluate the elements of the relationships in your organization and outline the strategies to make things better."

Purchase this package by clicking on either of the following links, which will redirect you to a secure shopping site. Evaluation Only $25.00 and Evaluation & Consultation Package - Best Deal! $99.95 (Resource List not available on this package.)

The author of the Federal Government Volunteer Programs page is melissa.heinlein@va.gov, MA, MS, CAVS. Melissa is the Chief of Voluntary Service at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, (215) 823-5868. Before venturing to the nonprofit sector, Melissa Heinlein spent time working for financial, IT, and pharmaceutical companies. With her business and marketing background, she took those skills and worked for Junior Achievement and structured a formal volunteer program at Hope Springs Equestrian Therapy before going into healthcare at Abington Memorial Hospital as the Assistant Director of Volunteer Resources. Her latest adventure is Chief, Voluntary Service at Philadelphia VA Medical Center. Melissa is past president and current board member of the Delaware Valley of Association for Volunteer Administration and current member-at-large for PSDVS, Eastern Chapter. She serves as an advisor for a grassroots organization “Spark the Wave” to encourage youth volunteerism. She holds a MA in Communications from West Chester University, MS in Administration of Human Services from Chestnut Hill College, and is a certified administrator of volunteer services through ASDVS. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Human Development at Marywood University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, writing, sports, and exploring the outdoors. She prides herself when she talks about interacting with volunteers 5-99 years old – horses and dogs included.


The National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government (NAVPLG) is an association of administrators, coordinators and directors of volunteer programs in local government. Its purpose is to strengthen volunteer programs in local government through leadership, advocacy, networking and information exchange. NAVPLG is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties and is seeking affiliate status with the National League of Cities. Cost is $20 for individuals and $75 for group local government membership. An affiliate membership is $25 and is intended for those who are not local government members but may have an interest in the group. There is a quarterly newsletter, national network, and access to NACo's Volunteerism Project. For more information contact Robin Popik, who is a Volunteer Resource Supervisor. She can be reached by phone at 972-941-7114. Be sure to mention you read about this in Volunteer Today.

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