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

~ January 2011~


As the New Year is here, I always sit down and try to contemplate my resolutions – going to the gym an extra day during the week, keeping in better contact with long distant family and friends, saving more money, finding time for myself, and the list goes on and on. 
Then there are my New Year’s resolutions for work – learn to say no, accept quality volunteers instead of thinking that all volunteers want to volunteer for the greater good, don’t schedule meetings for 8am on Monday mornings, take lunch, and the list goes on and on.
I wonder why we make resolutions to begin with when it takes time accept what you want to do, plan for it, do it, and stick with it.  So this year, I say “keep it simple.” The bar is already raised high enough in the volunteer administration world.
-Acknowledge volunteers when they stop in to say hello.
-Answer every phone call with a smile.
-Say thank you.
It’s not that we don’t do these things already, but perhaps starting with the simpler resolutions will help us brace for the harder ones throughout the year.  We’ll still need to acknowledge, keep smiling when the road gets tough, and say thank you for the opportunities and challenges because you probably came out better in the end.  We hope.

Regardless of what you have on your wonderful New Year’s resolution list, embrace the opportunities and challenges, the highs and the lows, and the great and not-so great trials and tribulations in the world of volunteer administration.  Keep it simple.  You will prevail. 
Have a great 2011!

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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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