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


~November 2013~

Budget Time


That dreaded time of the year....budget time. While annual budget preparation actually began in September, budgets are still being reviewed, challenged and revised.The bottom line (no pun intended) is that healthcare reform has many healthcare organizations in a state of scissorsuncertainty. There is too much that remains unknown on how reform will affect the bottom line. And most are being asked to budget conservatively.

When it comes to budget preparation, keep these things in mind.

purple starVolunteer recognition and retention begins at the first encounter. If the tangible thank you’s need to be trimmed and/or reduced, remember there are all sorts of ways to thank volunteers that do not have to cost a lot of money. setting the tone of the entire experience with a potential and/or new volunteer goes a long way to establishing the value of what that volunteer brings to the organization. And that begins with the first encounter. While thank you gifts are nice, it is generally NOT why volunteers come to our organizations.

purple starTraining and education dollars are worth fighting for. Often an easy target, this is something I recommend trying very hard to maintain in your budget. Only if the training and education is taken away from other departments, should you consider relinquishing yours. By comparison, attendance at the AHVRP national conference is less expensive than other professional opportunities, making the educational experience a good value for the money invested.

purple starManpower costs are another easy target. Most overhead dollars can be found in the human resource and that makes it an easy target. This area can affect our department in two ways: reducing the number of FTE's in our direct budget or being asked to supplement additional volunteers to other departments thereby reducing the FTE's for other departments. Either way, reduction of manpower can have its own legal ramifications.

It makes no difference what you are asked, your ability to prove the value of your department will be the key is keeping a manageable budget. Remember to speak the language often found in board rooms and your budget should end up as something that allows you to provide the services your healthcare organization needs from your department.

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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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