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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs at the federal government level.

~ December 2010 ~


I sat down to write this month’s article originally on the ARNOVA conference and the need for research from a practitioner’s standpoint.  I’ll continue that article for January which could help you with your New Year’s resolutions.  I unexpectedly switched gears after I had “one of those days.”  You know . . . the one that everything goes wrong – your commute in the pouring rain; the cake you buy for one of your office volunteer’s birthday that almost gets crushed; the hot coffee that you just bought (and couldn’t wait to take just one sip of) took a spill in your car; and the list goes on.
Then, you start thinking about work.  Your commute seems even longer and your stress level builds up.  Your brain starts working and you think about the following during what should be a happy holiday season . . .

-12 voicemail messages already piling up
-11 endless e-mails you have to respond to in 8.1 seconds
-10 volunteer application requests to be entered and mailed
-9 volunteers asking for re-assignment
-8 boxes of candy that you cannot distribute because it expired
-7 afghan blankets showing up at your door that smell like mothballs
-6 donors needing acknowledgments letters
-5 departments asking for volunteer help in an hour
-4 new volunteer placements
-3 committee meetings all in a row
-2 minutes to eat lunch

And finally remembering you are only 1 person so don’t try to do it all!
We are challenged daily, even hourly, and we don’t say NO.  But this season, you CAN say it with grace and style.  Trust me.  Try it.  You can do it.
Enjoy your holidays.  Enjoy the gift of your priceless volunteers.  Take time for yourself.


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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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