includes considering the risks to the volunteer, the organization,
the person or thing being served, and to the larger community. Most
organizations are working toward protecting all these stakeholders
from the common types of physical risk. It is also important
to consider the risks related to money.
Many volunteers handle money
for gift shops, events, sales of memorabilia, and the like. Here are
some risk management questions to insure that you are taking steps to protect
everyone who deals with money or fiduciary issues.
If you are running an organization, are
the appropriate audit controls established and enforced? For
example, two signatures on all checks and no exceptions. This
is true for large event committees.
Are the volunteer positions that deal
with money rotated on a regular basis? Keeping the same
person in a position indefinitely is not good management and
has the potential to invite problems.
If cash or checks are handled by a volunteer,
are they deposited immediately? Establish systems to get money into a secure
location as quickly as possible. It might mean deposit slips
and bank envelopes for weekend deposits, but better than the trunk
of a car.
If you use a safe for money, is it fire resistant?
Are the premises where cash is kept secure?
Do you establish volunteer responsibilities
so no one person controls the entire process—receiving money, registering
deposits, withdrawals, and balancing the accounts? By dividing
up the duties you automatically build in a check and balance system
for dealing with cash.
Recent cases across the world show that voluntary and nonprofit
organizations are not immune from the skullduggery of unscrupulous
recognition of the efforts of volunteers is one key to success
in managing volunteers. Most
managers are fine with the “big” stuff—certificates,
National Volunteer Day celebrations, the luncheon, the picnic, or
big potluck supper. It is the day-to-day recognition however,
that is most often cited by volunteers as being the most meaningful. Here
are a few tips to add to your bag of recognition ideas.
Put 5 pennies in a pocket each day. As you offer recognition
on a personal level, transfer those pennies to another pocket or
to a jar on your desk. It seems like a corny notion, but
doing it regularly might provide some extra $ for the next vacation
or shopping trip. And it is a tangible reminder of your efforts
At the end of the day when the brain cells
are struggling to make sense of anything write short appreciate
notes to volunteers or paid staff who are especially effective
working with volunteers.
On any trip to a bookstore or place like
Target or Wal-Mart, look for postcards that are on sale. Use them for the special
thank you notes. Not expensive, cute pictures, and loved
by those who receive them.
Do you make a weekly or daily to do list? Put those
people who deserve recognition on that list. Cross off names
as you praise or acknowledge their work.
Stuck in traffic often? Use your cell phone to give thanks
to volunteers. Keep a phone list in the car and call their
work number, so when they arrive at work the next day, the first
message heard is one thanking them for being a volunteer. Never
use cell phone when care is moving!!!