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


~April 2013~

Getting Asked To The Table


One of the recurring themes witnessed through my years in this profession is our absence at the table when a new venture is put together.  Usually, those of us with expertise are brought in at the tail end of the project and then have to face the challenge of making it work without the programmatic foundation that we, as professionals, all know and understand.  So, you can imagine my surprise and wonder that there is a community where the movers and shakers of the city recognized the value of having the professionals at the table.  I recently had the opportunity to present a workshop at the monthly meeting of the Cincinnati Association of Volunteer Administrators (CAVA) in Ohio, and was enthralled with this venture that Cincinnati is doing.  I have asked Meghan Kaskoun with the Cincinnati Arts Association, Aronoff Center to elaborate.

“In the summer of 2012 Cincinnati was host to the World Choir Games and this entailed mobilizing close to 5,000 volunteers. Afterwards some community leaders with corporations, local organizations involved in the Games and regional convention & visitors bureaus met to discuss ways to build on that volunteer momentum for future large events. The overall goal is to network existing organizations, through one software platform to provide a pool of volunteers to whom large event opportunities may be communicated.  These targeted volunteers are already trained in customer service, knowledgeable of the city, can help advertise events, and already support the region. cartoon of people at table

As one of two volunteer management professionals at the table, I was asked to assist in finding resources for the software platform and provide my professional guidance in the overall process. Volunteer Impact Enterprise (through Volunteer2.com) was the chosen software. In an agreement with Tony Goodrow, President of Volunteer2, and the regional initiative, the software platform would also be offered at a reasonable rate to local organizations, helping to improve organization and productivity of non-profits currently unable to afford volunteer management software.  When asked to create a job description for a Volunteer Network Manager to oversee the database and coordination of its use for large regional events we included the requirement of the CVA credential. The draft was accepted with the recommended credential or someone working towards the credential.  Our excitement continues to grow as these leaders recognize our expertise, acknowledge they had been recreating the wheel when working with volunteers by not knowing about/recognizing existing local professionals, and how much our volunteers are already making the Cincinnati USA region vibrant. We were asked to the table and are being heard.”

Sometimes it doesn’t matter how those of us who truly understand volunteer management get to the table.  What matters is that we are at the table!  Kudos to the Cincinnati movers and shakers for getting it right!

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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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