I am reminded every month of the dedication of those who administer volunteer programs. The four people who are regular columnists for Volunteer Today have my gratitude and respect for their professionalism, thoughtfulness, and willingness to tackle tough topics. This issue would not be were it not for their willingness to help inform the field. They deserve not just my thanks, but from all those who read Volunteer Today.
Melissa got the ball rolling with several columns on the challenges facing the Director of Volunteer Services assigned additional duties because of budget cuts. She also found increasing requests by paid employees to utilize volunteers where paid positions had once existed. She worked with Tobi Johnson to bring a new view of the role of the manager when defining the tasks for volunteers.
As I pondered doing this special VT edition I knew it would only work if the regular columnists took on editorial duties. I put out the idea of a special issue to our regular writers. Mary Kay's response was quick and affirmative. She worked with Judy Liberman and Marsha's Shanker's responses to outline the challenges of the roles of volunteers, especially in a health care setting.
Ellie Klein, our VISTA columnist for the past year, was ending her year at VISTA, getting ready to move to Spain to teach school, and returning home for a few months. Yet she submitted the first column that addresses the challenging relationship between union membership and volunteers.
"Ask Connie" and you always get an enthusiastic yes! The most senior columnist for Volunteer Today had written on this topic in 2004 for the Journal of Volunteer Administration, which is now the online International Journal of Volunteer Administration.
Connie got permission to reprint that earlier article, with some revisions, to help people understand the challenges of supplanting and volunteering in the union environment.
These special contributors provided invaluable information and experiences that make for a rich read. Volunteer Today for September is a work from the field and less from our columnists. Everyone on this list of Special Contributors has worked in the field and has much to share. Their ideas, advice, problems, challenges and solutions are all over the September issue. It would not exist without them. Many, many thanks.
Glenis has just retired as an administrator of volunteers in a county government. She emailed her interest in the topic and willingly tackled writing a thoughtful and helpful piece on how to use supplanting in lean times. Despite an interest in learning to weld, she submitted a terrific column on the role of volunteers in a union setting. Her contribution is on the Engagement page
Jayne Cravens responded within days of my posting a request for information on the topic of supplanting. A long time blogger and Web Master, Jayne is an expert on many areas in volunteer administration. She provided links to stories in the news about a union working to banish all volunteers from schools and a restaurant that turned employees into volunteers to save money. Her blog posterous provides links to the stories and commentary on the appropriate role for volunteers in a variety of settings. You can read her contributions on the News page and Board page.
Susan Ellis is a national and international expert on the administration of volunteer programs. Her Web site, Energize, Inc., is a rich resource for everyone who works in the field of volunteerism. She consults with large national and international organizations, writes books, trains managers of volunteers, and has an online journal, e volunteerism. When asked to contribute her response was, " Tell me what you want. How can I help." Susan's column for this special edition is filled with advice and thought-provoking questions on how you educate staff to think about the role of volunteers. Read the advice of an expert on our Training page.
Julie was an early contributor from the field who responded to questions, made observations from her own practice, and offered suggestions.
Tobi Johnson, who is based in Virginia, is a long time administrator of volunteers and volunteer programs. She has recently begun training, consulting, and blogging to share the lessons she has learned from working in a government based program. Tobi responded to my call for comment by offering to look in a reverse manner at the problem. Her comments and questions are timely and sometimes uncomfortable, but ones that need to be asked. She worked with Melissa to bring a "twist" to the issue. Read her column on the Federal government page
Judy took the questions I posed about "supplanting" and delivered an email with detailed responses based on her experience in a health care setting. Marsha Shanker did the same. Mary Kay Hood worked to format and edit the two submissions. . .and these are stories from the field. There are some successes and some big challenges. Read them on the health care page
Emails rolled into my computer saying, "We follow the law" or words to that effect. But, no one could cite the law or tell me where to find it. Someone thought it was a state statue, only to learn it was not. Susan rode to the rescue by citing the law correctly and giving us a location to find the law on supplanting. You can find the links on the TechTips page.
Celeste Sauls Marks
Celeste managed volunteers in a government based setting and was clear how she addressed this issue.
Annette T. Shaff-Palmer
Annette had the challenging experience of moving into a paid manager of volunteers position that had formerly been held by a volunteer. Not altogether pleasant!
Marsha found us via another reader. She was forwarded the query about supplanting and used the same format as Judy Liberman in answering the questions. And talk about coincidence. . .both in health care settings. Mary Kay took on the editing and you can find the comments on our Health Care page
Steve Wolf is another person who recently retired from managing volunteers, but he keeps his hand in with his own volunteering. He tracked laws and commented on supplanting when he was administering volunteer programs.