Archive for October, 2010

Recruiting Teens to Volunteer

Friday, October 29th, 2010

volunteer screening, screening volunteersAccording to the report Volunteering in America, 4.4 million teenagers, ages 16 – 19, volunteered across the country in 2009. They gave nearly 390 million hours of service, mostly to education and youth service organizations.

That number totals 26 percent of all people in their age group—which is just slightly lower than the percentage of Americans overall (26.8%) who volunteer. 26% is great—but it’s down from a few years back, when over 30% of all teenagers volunteered some time in their communities. They raised funds, provided general labor, collected and distributed food, and mentored youth.

If you manage volunteers for a non-profit organization and need help, perhaps you should focus your efforts on the teens in your community, who may not know about your organization, its mission and its needs.

  1. Boost your social networking presence: Kids receive information through new ways—the internet and social networking, not phone books and newspapers. If your NPO does not have a well-designed and updated website, and isn’t on Facebook, you could be turning off a wide audience—including teens.
  2. Ask. Teens are much more likely to volunteer if they are just asked to do it.
  3. Ask some more. Ask for referrals. If you already have young volunteers, ask them to recruit their friends. A text from a friend is all many teens will need to jump on board. Ask older volunteers to mention the need to their young family members or neighbors. Ask everyone you see if they know a teen who would like to volunteer.
  4. Contact schools, youth groups and scouting organizations. Many are looking for places their kids can volunteer. They just need to know where kids are needed!
  5. Contact the National Home Education Network to reach homeschooling families.

When young people volunteer, everyone benefits. It’s a big confidence booster for them, and with the fresh ideas kids bring, it could even change the direction of your organization.

Count on for your volunteer prescreening services. Protect your staff, clients, and your community with background checks.

Featured Corporate Volunteer Program: Starbucks

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Starbucks is a global company with a real dedication to the communities it serves. Since its founding in 1971, the firm has expanded its corporate responsibility umbrella to include Diversity, Community, Environment Wellness and Ethical Resourcing.

Under its Community initiatives, the company has a created a program to motivate partners (employees), customers and young people to come together for the greater good.

Starbucks’ stated goal is to encourage employees and customers to contribute more than 1 million hour of community service per year by 2015. With an employee base of 150,000 worldwide, they have a built-in volunteer force ready to be mobilized for change.

One way Starbucks helps is by providing Youth Action Grants to inspire young people to take action and find solutions to problems in their neighborhoods and communities. The company is working toward a goal of engaging 50,000 youth to innovate and create action in their communities by 2015. Starbucks makes grants to organizations that provide training to young people to help them develop skills and knowledge to identify community needs, create and execute action plans, evaluate outcomes against goals, build ongoing leadership skills and communicate success stories.

One grant recipient was an Argentina-based program called Strengthening the Youth for Health Network, which trains young people to produce and communicate prevention messages to their peers through theater, film and other artistic genres.

The Starbucks Foundation, first started to fund literacy programs in the U.S. and Canada, now works around the world to help support the communities in which their coffee and tea is grown. Funds from the foundation also help finance sustainable water-access programs, foster education in China, and rebuild the Gulf Coast of the U.S. after the devastation of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina.

Starbucks involves its customers through initiatives like (STARBUCKS) RED, a program that allows customers to choose to buy products like a special African coffee blend or pay for their usual coffee drinks and other Starbucks items with a RED card. So far, they have funneled enough money to help purchase 14 million days of medicine for HIV-positive people in Africa.

Examples of Starbucks’ commitment to community:

  • Number of employees who helped rebuilding efforts in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina: 9,000
  • Number of employee volunteer hours in New Orleans: 36,000
  • Total employee and customer volunteer hours in 2009: 186,000
  • Total Youth Action Grants awarded in 2009: $2 million
  • Number of youth engaged in community activities through grants: 20,000
  • Total cash and in-kind contributions toward community-building programs in 2009: $17 million

Not only does Starbucks increase awareness of the need for community building worldwide, the company also provides the means for people to get involved and make a difference themselves—working in communities to provide a hand up, not a hand out. For Starbucks, it’s all about sustainability and creating partnerships that last.

Good Thing You’re Insured!

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

volunteerscreeningblogAs a follow-up on last week’s post—and in case you haven’t yet contacted your insurance provider to review your coverage—we offer the following scenarios. Just a reminder that non-profit organizations really do need proper insurance coverage for your volunteers!

What’s the worst that could happen?

  • A van accident. Here’s the scenario: one of your most loyal, long-term volunteers is driving clients to the zoo in her mini van. She is a careful, accident-free driver. Still, she is hit from behind at a stop light by an under-insured driver. Two clients and the volunteer suffer injuries. After checking on the status of everyone in the van, your first thought is, “Will the NPO be sued?” Of course you’re concerned about litigation. That’s why you have insurance coverage for all volunteers, volunteer property, liability and un- or under-insured drivers. You also encourage volunteers to check with their insurance companies about additional coverage on their auto policies—for extra protection. And this one did. You’ll sleep tonight, knowing that insurance will cover everything.
  • Charges of sexual misconduct against a volunteer. This is one of the most frightening scenarios a volunteer manager can face. That’s why two types of prevention are important to protect your NPO against it. First, proper volunteer screening is absolutely necessary. When you conduct reasonable background checks on all volunteers, the NPO and its board are less likely to be found liable for damages due to a volunteer’s misconduct. Second, liability coverage is required to cover instances that cannot be predicted. Whether or not the volunteer is guilty of a crime, putting your NPO at risk of financial loss is unacceptable. But be careful—be sure that your liability coverage does not exclude this type of behavior. You don’t want your organization and its directors to be personally liable for negligence!

Insurance regulations vary by state. Check with your insurance provider about whether or not your organization needs any additional coverage. You’ll be glad you’re insured when and if you ever need to be!

Insurance Coverage for Non-Profits

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

volunteer screenigRisk management is an important responsibility of non-profit organization (NPO) directors. It can range from avoiding financial risk through proper planning and investing, screening potential volunteers to keep staff and served clientele safe, and holding sufficient insurance coverage.

While most NPO executives will consult their professional insurance provider for details on their particular needs, here we offer some general information on what to consider to be safe—and smart—about insurance coverage.

Insurance is not perfect and won’t cover every situation a charitable organization is likely to run into. It can also be expensive—especially when an overzealous salesperson recommends coverage you either don’t need or don’t want. But insurance is useful and in most cases, necessary to protect an organization from financial risk.

General Liability Insurance: This usually covers a long list of claims that could be filed against an NPO. Check for lists of exclusions and if necessary, purchase separate riders or endorsements that will cover items your organization’s activities warrant.

Auto Liability Insurance: If your NPO’s volunteers drive on behalf of the organization in either their own or company-owned vehicles, you’ll need insurance to cover them. Generally, auto accidents are not covered by a general liability policy, which offers coverage for the driver, property damage, the vehicle and injuries to others, as well as the possibility that the other motorist involved in the incident is uninsured.

Casualty Insurance: In generally, casualty insurance covers damage done by third parties, vandals, floods, fires,earthquakes and building failures. Consider whether volunteers use their own property, such as laptops and tools, in the course of their work for your organization.

Professional Liability Insurance: This coverage could be needed in cases of claims made by clients against professional or licensed services.

Director’s and Officer’s Insurance: In cases where a volunteer director’s or officer’s actions cause a claim to be filed against the organization, this coverage would be very valuable. It can also help attract board members, since they’ll have the peace of mind of knowing theiy won’t be personally responsible.

Again, insurance regulations vary by state. Checking with your insurance provider about whether or not your organization needs the above coverages is something you should consider doing sooner, rather than later—to reduce the risk of loss to your non-profit organization.