Archive for December, 2012

Performance Reviews for Volunteers and Employees

Friday, December 21st, 2012

screening volunteers, volunteer background checkAre performance reviews effective? Many non profits conduct them with staffers, but not volunteers. But most people can benefit from a periodic review of their work. Performance reviews can even inspire people to improve on the job.

But performance reviews can be tough, especially if a) your subject is not getting paid, but is volunteering their time; b) you’re supervising those who do menial tasks; or c) you have long-term employees who know their jobs and perform them satisfactorily.

Maybe it’s time for a new approach. Instead of supervisor/subordinate, look at collaborations, commitments and accountabilities. Try starting from the beginning. Gather all employees and volunteers together and have the leadership team take them through the organization’s mission, vision and goals. Tell stories of how the nonprofit changes lives, impacts the community and makes the world a better place. And let the team know what you need from them to achieve success.

  • Then let the team know how they are doing overall—not individually. Review the deliverables that must occur for the organization to thrive, from bringing in donations to providing quality services. Teach them how they can improve.
  • Set measurable goals together. Encourage feedback and team-led initiatives to establish steps to meet the goals. Support the teams with time to get together and hold meetings and brainstorming sessions.
  • Ask for commitment from all staffers and volunteers. Each person can make promises about what they will do to contribute. As a manager, your role is to follow up, offer encouragement, solve problems, and offer tools to help them achieve success.

Volunteering Trending Up in the United States

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

volunteer screening volunteer credit checkAccording to a new report by The Federal Agency for Service and Volunteering, indicates a trend toward more volunteers and more hours volunteered in the U.S. In 2011, 64.3 million Americans volunteered for a formal organization. That’s an increase of 1.5 million over 2010, for the highest level in five years.

Collectively, 7.85 billion hours were volunteered, with an economic value of $171 billion. All told, 26.8% of Americans volunteered in 2011.

Overwhelmingly, Americans volunteered in schools or with other youth organizations. Parents with children under 18 years of age volunteer in larger numbers, by fundraising, collecting and distributing food, mentoring youth, and tutoring or teaching.

The top states for the percentage of residents volunteering are:

  1. Utah (40.9%)
  2. Idaho (38.8%)
  3. Iowa (38.4%)
  4. Minnesota (38%)
  5. South Dakota (36.8%)

It looks like the good people of the Midwest are more active in volunteering than the rest of the nation. To find out how your state ranked, go here.

Another report out this week from the Peace Corps lists the top 10 home states of Peace Corps volunteers:

  1. California (1,084)
  2. New York (448)
  3. Texas (381)
  4. Washington (378)
  5. Illinois (352)
  6. Florida (351)
  7. Pennsylvania (330)
  8. Michigan (316)
  9. Virginia (303)
  10. Ohio (291)

However, in terms of per-capita volunteers, the District of Columbia, Vermont, Oregon, Washington, New Hampshire, Colorado, Montana, Maine, Minnesota and Idaho are the top 10 states.

If you’re in charge of volunteers who work with children, the elderly, at-risk populations or the public, be sure to conduct volunteer screening. Find out who your volunteers really are, whether they are sex offenders, have criminal backgrounds or are a risk to your organization and clients.