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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs in health care settings.


~June 2012~

Are you a connector?


I am just back from a wonderful scuba diving vacation, totally refreshed and still on underwater photo‘island time.’  Yes, vacations are important to maintain our focus, re-energize our passion for the work we do with volunteers for our patients.  And while I am always amazed at the beauty of nature, I never cease to be amazed by the interconnectedness of everything under water.

That interconnectedness applies on land as well.  While most of us are busy trying to fill the void by a sick volunteer or the spot left by someone who has moved on, what we are really doing is ‘connecting’….people, places and opportunities.  When we truly connect that potential volunteer with an opportunity where they feel needed, useful and fulfilled, then we know that we have achieved success!

Sometimes that connection may not be with your own organization.  A true ‘connector’ is willing to share the wealth in an effort to provide an opportunity that maximizes what the potential volunteer is offering.  A good volunteer director is knowledgeable of other agencies and organizations providing services for folks in need.  If you are active in your community, then you are aware of other organizations needing volunteers as well. 

As such, it is sometimes challenging to steer someone in a different direction when you really just need someone to fill the vacancy that you have.  However, are you really doing your organization any favors by placing someone who might be a better fit elsewhere?  Will they stay for the long haul if they do not experience that feeling of satisfaction that money cannot buy? 

My challenge for each of you is to be a “connector.”

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The author of the Heath Care Volunteer Programs column is Mary Kay Hood MS, Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, IN (317) 745-3556. With a BS degree in biology from Marian College and a Master of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, Mary Kay has been involved in volunteer management over twenty years with a zoo and in the health care field. During that time, she completed the Management of Volunteer Programs course offered at University of Indianapolis, several supervisory training programs as well as the Indiana Hospital and Health Association’s Management Institute offered by the Executive Education Program, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Mary Kay served on the Nonprofit Training Center of United Way from 1993 to 2006. During that time, she taught many workshops also facilitating speaker arrangements for the Basic Volunteer Management series. Additionally, she has presented at various national and international conferences. Mary Kay served as president of the Central Indiana Association for Volunteer Administration (CIAVA) from 1993-1997 and the Indiana Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ISDVS) from 2006-2008. She was also the recipient of the 1995 Outstanding Director of Volunteer Services Award and the 2002 United Way of Central Indiana Volunteer of the Year Award. Most recently she served on the Steering Committee for COVAA resulting in the formation of a new national membership organization for those in volunteer management, the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). With several published articles, she is also author to two books: The One Minute Answer to Volunteer Management Questions and The Volunteer Leader as Change Agent.

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