| ENGAGING & MANAGING
Partnerships: Essential to Volunteer Program Health
Partner: “One who is associated with another in a shared activity.” (Riverside Webster’s II Dictionary)
It goes by names such names as collaboration, cooperation, working together, civic partners, and so many more. At root it is partnerships. The well-run volunteer program has carefully crafted partnerships with others in the community. Examples;
Partnership are not all the same and require different involvement by the manager of volunteers. There are four basic types of partnerships or alliances. Check out the list, examples, and rate your program as to its successful partnerships.
Individuals and organizations develop communication links in order to exchange information and resources. The emphasis is on tapping into each other’s organizations for information and resources. The initial focus is rather narrow and specific. Contacts can become long term, however. Since little institutional legitimization exists here, the risk is low for the managers of volunteers to establish these informal contacts with others. “Stay in touch” is the language of this loose agreement.
Participation at this level centers on trying to accomplish a specific purpose, or goal. Work here is driven by individuals, rather than the organizations they represent. A loose, informal association of a few people for some mutual benefit, or easily obtainable goal (workshop), may develop. Individuals at this level can be vigorously involved without really doing anything differently in their jobs.
The coalition builds linkages at the organizational level. Organizations participate in a more formal way around an issue or common set of interrelated issues. The purpose of forming a coalition is to create synergy. Synergy is used to amass enough influence and resources in order to have an impact on an issue beyond what one group can do alone. Coalitions tend to be short-lived, even though the issues they work on are complex and difficult to resolve. At this level, each organization shares a measure of responsibility for the success, or failure, of the coalition. The level of commitment is moderate.
The highest, and most difficult, level of working with others is collaboration. Organizational relationships are formalized, and involve a long-term commitment to working together in order to accomplish a common mission. Collaboration requires a commitment to shared decision-making, allocation of resources, and responding to mutually identified needs.
JOB CUTS AT NONPROFITS
For some readers this is old news. . . .nearly half of nonprofits have had to lay off staff in the last year (47.5%). This was caused by dwindling donations. A job survey in July by Campbell & Company showed some of the following:
INTERVIEWS THAT SCREEN: ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Many volunteers have jobs that require some sensitivity to clients, members, or confidential information. Asking the right questions can make a huge difference in the selection and placement of volunteers. The use of Non-Direct questions during an interview elicit key information on a volunteer and his/her background and appropriateness for a job.
NOTE THE DIFFERENCE IN THE TWO TYPES OF QUESTIONS
Non-Directive Interview Style
Some possible non-direct questions
1. What did you enjoy most about your last volunteer positions? Least?
2. What do you enjoy as a leisure activity?
3. What would you like to be doing in 3 – 5 years?
4. What type of people do you enjoy working with most and why?
5. Describe your work habits.
6. What are the most important decisions you have made about your life?
7. What did you like the best about the last work supervisor you had? Least?
8. What would be an ideal volunteer position for you?
9. How do you deal with anger—on the job or in your private life?
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