Archive for February, 2012

Managing Volunteers You Once Worked Under

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

screening volunteers, criminaldata.comIt’s a common scenario: a board member from your non profit finishes his or her board service, but still wants to contribute to the organization. The next thing you know, you have a volunteer to manage who was once helping to manage you. This can create an uncomfortable dynamic, but it can be handled successfully.

There should be a balance between treating this new volunteer just as you do the rest of your team, and treating her with the high level of respect you’ve always shown. Hopefully, that’s the same level of respect your other volunteers are already seeing from you.

In most cases, having a former supervisor become a volunteer will work out well. But it doesn’t always go smoothly. Some former board members might feel like they need to keep managing you. Others will try to “improve” everything they get their hands on. Another might think she’s the boss, since she knows so much about the organization. She may not see other volunteers as her peers.

If you start seeing problems, or hearing about them from staff or other volunteers, you’ll need to step in. Instead of confronting the issue in your office, show the former board member your respect for her by inviting her to lunch,. Ask open-ended questions about how they’re enjoying their volunteer duties, and steer the conversation to the establishment of a few rules.

Remember how important it is for you to remain in charge. If one volunteer starts undermining your authority or treating others unfairly,  or you could see a decline in morale and increased turnover.

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

New App + Social Media = Spreading the Word About Volunteerism

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

volunteer screening, volunteer background checkA new iPhone app is not only helping spread the word about volunteerism, but also helping reward volunteers for their service. Developed in Vermont by Cabot Co-op and its partners, the app, called Reward Volunteers, encourages volunteers to tell others about their volunteer experiences on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

Volunteers can log their time in service, to earn rewards for themselves and money for the organizations they care about. The more hours logged, plus the more “likes” and comments collected on social networks, the better the chance to win cash and prizes, including a cruise.

This app is an example of how one non-profit thought a little differently, and created a fun, easy and effective way to engage with its volunteers. Since people post about everything in their lives on Facebook, why not leverage that activity to promote volunteerism and your organization’s mission?

It’s true that some volunteers are not motivated by what they might see as bragging about their volunteer activities. But when spreading the word about volunteerism, and sharing the causes they are passionate about can increase participation and support, it may be time to be less modest and more boastful.

How can you use this idea in your organization? Perhaps you have digital media companies in your area that would be willing to donate their time to develop a similar app for your volunteers. Partner with other non-profits and local businesses to encourage participation, increase awareness and volunteerism, and reward these hard-working people with nice prizes. With some initiative and outreach efforts, you’re sure to gain more volunteers and raise awareness for everyone.