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On this page are ideas to help you work more efficiently with volunteers. There are tips on recruiting, engaging, coordinating, and managing the work of volunteers.

~March 2012 ~




Screening volunteers is a big topic.  It is about image, online presence, recruiting strategies that send messages about the organization and the role volunteers play.  Haphazard recruitment—not returning email, or phone calls, having to hunt for application form, no position descriptions for episodic volunteers, no reference or background checks.  Those things send a BIG message about how you value volunteers.  It indicates to an outsider that the organization is not serious about the inclusion of volunteers.  man with magnifying glass

Screening is also about risk management planning.  And not just by the administrator of volunteers, but everyone—including volunteers.  It is having everyone on the lookout for making things safer.  It is having a risk management plan that keeps volunteers, clientele, members, patrons, staff, and the organization safe and secure.

And lastly screening includes all the things done to practice effective risk management, like applications, checking references, interviews, and more.

A recent search of the Web turned up a stellar collection of information on screening from a long ago issue of Volunteer Today.  The editor read the things written in 2003 only to discover the message was the same.

Visit this Volunteer Today June 2003 issue to gather information on effective screening and read an interview with one of volunteer administration’s experts on risk management and screening, Linda Graff. 


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One of the most effective fund raising charities in the US is St. Jude’s Hospital.  Here are some tips, reported in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, from David McKee, chief fundraiser at St. Jude’s.

  • Pick the right person to solicit a donor. 
  • Adjust events to the times
  • Know when to centralize fund raising efforts
  • Improve communication among those who are doing the fund raising
  • Be on the lookout for new opportunities to raise money



Baby boomers who are retireing are looking for volunteer engagement that has impact. here are some strategies to increase your chances of attracting and keeping baby boom volunteers.



Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964.  Their views on civic engagement are different from previous generations.  To attract them involves selling them the impact of what their efforts will produce.  The appeal to volunteer needs to clearly demonstrate how their engagement or donation will change lives.



Boomers have loads of experience and skills.  Never give them a “make-work” job like stuffing envelopes, unless they invented the machine that does that.  Scour the organization for tasks where their skills and experience can make a difference.  A challenged boomer is usually a happy boomer.



Avoid any hint that the “boomer” is old.  Even though many of them used computers at work, many are resistant or ignorant when it comes to Tumblr or Twitter.  So use a multi-layered approach.  Put appeals to volunteer in all the traditional places; brochures, flyers, Web site, but also list them on organizational Twitter or volunteer Twitter sites.  Make sure you have a FaceBook page for the volunteer program, not just a click on the organizational one.  Boomers are finding high school classmates like crazy.



Boomers want to see results and not just at the level where he/she is working, but organization wide.  Get impact statistics from every corner of the organization, digest them, get them into readable shape, and post in every conceivable location a volunteer might look.  Do it with regularity, so the boomer volunteer can count on seeing the results of the work done.

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