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


~October 2013~

The Afterglow


Think about this:  You are up to your eyeballs in alligators and forget that the mission is to drain the swamp.  What does this have to do with volunteer management?  Some time in your career, you have probably attended some sort of educational opportunity.  These educational opportunities provide the profession with a chance to network with peers, hear inspiring speakers and engage with others who understand what the profession is all about (without  having to explainALLIGATOR it).  Whether a local, state or national conference, you return to the office excited, re-energized and ready to take on the world!  More often than not, you return to the day-to-day flurry of activity that is called volunteer management and often forget the excitement and great ideas you wanted to implement.
The translation back to the workplace is that the day to day activity keeps you so busy on the routine tasks associated with volunteer management that there is no time left to plan or implement a new idea, process or improvement.  Or to use the analogy, You are up to your eyeballs in alligators and forget that the mission is to drain the swamp. Consequently, while education conferences are wonderful, the new ideas, processes or improvements are often lost because there just isn’t enough time.

There are different ‘trick’s’ to use to maintain the focus of the great ideas.  Some include:

  • Meeting someone and connecting on a level that you agree to email each other after the conference to check up on what they have implemented.
  • Write yourself a reminder notice that gets mailed at a designated future date by the conference organizer.
  • Putting in a calendar reminder to review progress on a new idea or process.

Whatever the method, you owe it to yourself and your organization to follow through on at least one great idea from the conference. 

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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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