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VT readers ask questions about volunteer management and administration. Ask Connie, an experienced volunteer manager, consultant and trainer, provides the answers for all to see.
Send questions to AskConnieP@cs.com

~2013 ~



Dear Connie:

Do you know if there is a definition of "active volunteer"?  What factors would determine active vs. inactive, e.g., hours given, length of time inactive, etc.  Thank you!


Dear M:

Every organization seems to set their own definition of what constitutes an "active" volunteer.  One of my clients, for instance, considers a volunteer active if he/she works at one event a year.  Another one considers "active" as working 20 hours/year.  Yet another one uses the criteria of "one shift" per month.  So you see, it just depends. J

I recommend that the definition not be too limiting so that the organization has the largest pool of volunteers possible.  I realize that it can be costly to stay connected (e.g., send newsletters and other communications) to all volunteers, but I think it's important that people have the opportunity to give you as much or as little of their time as they can. 

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Uniforms and Increased Volunteer Performance


Dear Connie:

I am writing up a "mini-grant" for uniforms for my new Summer Youth Program in a hospital.  Do you have any data regarding uniforms and increased volunteer performance?


Dear MB:

I'm sorry I don't know of any research that would help you.  But what occurs to me is that volunteer uniforms can:

  • validate (and make official) the important role volunteers play in your hospital;
  • help staff and patients identify volunteers;people in uniforms
  • bring color into the work of volunteers; and
  • show volunteers that the hospital values their contributions.

    All of the above help increase volunteers' sense of worth and undoubtedly will increase their performance. 

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Dear Connie:
What are some ways to seek funding if we want to use graduate students as interns?


Dear P:

These are some funding sources that are often used for intern programs of all types:

  • local community foundations
  • corporations that already support your organization (so that you don't have to cultivate a new relationship for this one-time type contribution)
  • individual board members who have an interest in utilizing university students to provide an "infusion" of creativity for the organization and offer a rich experience for the student.

You might also talk to someone in the financial aid office at the university to find out if they have a list of potential underwriters for your intern program.  They are often very helpful in connecting "prospective employers" with "income sources" so that the students find appropriate internships.

Do you have a question? Now you too can ask an expert!

Connie Pirtle, of Strategic NonProfit-Resources, has 15 years' experience in working with volunteers. She has consulted and/or trained for such organizations as the Washington National Cathedral, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music America, and the Association for Volunteer Administration.

Send your questions to Connie at AskConnieP@cs.com.
Connie Pirtle
Strategic Nonprofit Resources
314 E. Marie Dr. * Stillwater, OK 74075 * VOICE: 405.372.8142 or 202-306-1492

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