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Volunteers: A Vital Human Resource

Volunteers: A Vital Human Resource

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Published by Bill Taylor

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Published by: Bill Taylor on Mar 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Enterprising Rural Families
 An Online Newsletter April, 2010 Volume VI, Issue 4
This newsletter is an instrument of the
 Enterprising Rural Families: Making It Work
program of theUniversity of Wyoming CooperativeExtension Service. For further in-formation concerning the Enter-prising Rural Families program oron-line course contact
informa- tion@eRuralFamilies.org
or go to
Remember to view and work with all thecomponents of your family business asparts of the whole. Even though a familybusiness has separate parts, each is inter-twined or overlapped by the others.Families are made up of individuals—each with their own desires, needs, skills,strengths and weaknesses.Individuals are grouped together in a fam-ily. Families are based on common ances-try, but also generate multiple interactions. Some relationships provide support andenhancement of each other’s skills, somemay create frustration and annoyance, andsome may be downright detrimental to aproductive working relationship.All of these dynamics are a daily part of the structure that is known as the “familybusiness” and cannot be ignored. Success-ful family businesses recognize the holis-tic nature of the individuals, family, andbusiness, and their interactions and over-lapping natures, providing room for vari-ous strengths and differences.
 Volunteers: A Vital Human Resource
 Rhonda J. Shipp, University of Wyoming Senior Extension Educator, emeriti
 Volunteers often play a vital rolein the capacity and success of an organi-zation, business or board. Volunteer pro-grams require the same type of manage-rial effort that any other program effortwould require. There are several factorsto consider ensuring that the experienceis positive for both the volunteer and theorganization. A leader may be responsi-ble for effectively identifying, selecting,orienting, training, utilizing, recognizingand evaluating volunteers.It is key that a clear vision or mission be clearly communicatedwhen recruiting and accepting volunteers. This helps them and you de-termine if the match is a good fit. It is important that volunteers havean interest in or passion for the vision or mission.
 Volunteers may be identified in a number of ways: personal con-tact or formal and informal recruitment using media sources, word of mouth and contacts with other organizations, businesses and agen-cies. Consider ways to reach people who represent demographic or geo-graphic characteristics, expertise or skills useful in the volunteer or-ganization and passion for the vision, mission and goals. By effectivelyempowering volunteers with a clear view of the mission and a purposefor their actions, they are empowered to be self-motivated.
 As a leader, know what skills you need. This answers lots of questions in the selection process. Various methods may be used to se-lect volunteers:
 Application/Information forms
Enrollment forms
ContractsCareful efforts to match a volunteer's interests and skills payhuge dividends over time.
Orientation includes providing objectives, timelines, tasks, expectations, benefits and sup-port. Basic certification processes often include training and develop a baseline of knowledge to preparevolunteers for their work. Some find it helpful to have job descriptions for volunteers that clearly de-scribe the organization's mission, job title, why the job is important to the mission, description of respon-sibilities and expectations, time requirements, training required and qualifications/special skillsneeded. There are numerous tools that can be used to orient new and experienced volunteers. Job de-scriptions outline the overall responsibilities.
 Volunteers benefit from ongoing training. Training manuals, on-line training opportunities,workshops and seminars, newsletters and leadership training help prepare volunteers for their role andconnect them to their purpose in the organization. If volunteers serve on a board, provide board membertraining on a regular basis.The training of volunteers can become an aspect of the volunteer program where experienced vol-unteers train new recruits.
Utilizing volunteers means providing opportunities for growth through delegation, managementand coordination. Find out how much time, energy and resources they are willing to provide and matchthat with the opportunities available and needs of the organization. Volunteers can contribute by writ-ing articles, organizing activities, locating and writing grants, coordinating an event, providing leader-ship, or conducting training. There are multiple opportunities by thinking creatively.
This is one of the most important aspects of volun-teer management. The ways to recognize are differenti-ated by the three motivation types. For example, achieve-ment-motivated people want recognition for what was ac-complished, a job well-done, for excellence or uniqueness,and goal achieved -- certificates of achievement, plaquesand a thank you specific to the task. Affiliation-motivated people enjoy relational rewards -- face-to-facethanks and personalized notes. Influence-motivated peo-ple enjoy public displays of honor like award nights, cere-monies, newspaper thank you ads or articles.No matter what the form of recognition, a thankyou should be important, personal, tailored to the recipi-ent, timely and sincere. They can be verbal or tangible. They can be given for everyday things (likeshowing up on time), special events, final project completion, above and beyond the call, or longevity tomention a few. They are meant to make people feel proud of their contribution, to connect them to theoverall mission or purpose of the organization and to see how their contribution is helping to achieve thevision.

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