Hunger-Fighting Nonprofits, This One’s For You

Hunger-Fighting Nonprofits, This One’s For You

VolunteerMatch, in partnership with ConAgra Foods Foundation, has developed a free tool specifically for hunger-fighting organizations to evaluate their volunteer engagement programs.

What does this mean for you?

With just a few clicks, you’ll gain insight into where your program currently stands, as well as customized action steps and resources to improve your volunteer engagement. Get started here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1w0bWPYa704hFi9kuOjApcKpuj5aqI4uikD4fnBnqYic/viewform.

DOVIA-LA 2015 Member Highlight

DOVIA-LA 2015 Member Highlight

Q & A with Amanda Carr, Trainer/Floating Coordinator

School on Wheels, Inc.

Q: Where are you currently working and what are your main responsibilities?

A: I’m part of the volunteer engagement team at School on Wheels, which is the only nonprofit exclusively dedicated to tutoring homeless children in Southern California. My official position is trainer/floating regional coordinator; in this split position I work with volunteers in various capacities. As trainer, I am in charge of volunteer training and continuing education initiatives, including a monthly workshop series and an introductory training session. As floating regional coordinator, I assist in connecting volunteer tutors with students and communicating with parents, shelter staff, and other School on Wheels partners.

Q: How long have you worked with volunteers and how do you utilize them?

A: I’ve been working with volunteers in various capacities for over two years now. School on Wheels is a volunteer-driven organization, and we simply could not do the work we do without our talented, dedicated volunteer tutors and supporters. Our volunteers make a year-long commitment to tutor a homeless student at least once per week for one hour, and many of them tutor more often and stay with us longer–some for three, four, even ten years! But tutoring is not the only way our volunteers contribute to our organization. Some do backpack and supplies drives, others help with canvassing and outreach, and still others offer their expertise to present our monthly online workshops on tutoring tips and techniques.

Q: How were you introduced to DOVIA-LA and what do you find most beneficial?

A: I was introduced to DOVIA through a colleague, and we attended our first meeting in May–Unlocking the Mysteries of Volunteer Retention. Having the opportunity to network and share ideas with other volunteer managers in a supportive, interactive setting was such a valuable experience, and I look forward to future meetings.

Q: Will you share a memorable volunteer story?

A: Too many to choose! Our volunteers have a profound impact on the lives of the children we serve. For example, one of our second-grade students was doing work at a kindergarten level and was going to be held back from the third grade until one of our regional coordinators placed him with two personal tutors. In a matter of months, he was working at the first grade level, and the school agreed to pass him on the condition he kept receiving tutoring. He continues to improve. We highlight volunteer stories every month in our newsletter and on our website. You can read more about our June Tutors of the Month here (or by visiting this link)!

Q: Do you have any tips for volunteer managers?

A: Communication is essential. All our staff make a point to respond to volunteer queries within a 24 hour period. However, it’s also critical to reach out to volunteers to check in even when they don’t initiate contact. Making volunteers feel supported and valued keeps them engaged with the organization, and it’s just as important to touch base with volunteers who are doing well as it is to troubleshoot problems when they arise.

Q: Do you have any hobbies that help you maintain work/life balance?

A: I’m a yoga addict! I attend classes at least three times a week, and I find it’s a wonderful way to decompress and center myself. I also love to cook—and eat. Italian food is my specialty.

DOVIA-LA 2015 Member Highlight

DOVIA-LA 2015 Member Highlight
Q & A with Gwen Hourihan; Coordinator of Volunteer and Community Programs
 Union Station Homeless Services

Gwen photo

Q: Where are you currently working and how long have you been managing volunteers?

A: I am the Coordinator of Volunteer Services and Community Programs at Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena.  I celebrated my one year anniversary in March 2015 but started as a temp over a year and a half ago.  Prior to USHS I managed volunteers under my title as event manager for over ten years.  My main responsibilities include helping manage volunteer placement, supervision and communication with approximately 3,000 volunteers, including over 200 regular volunteers and over 60 regular groups in our seven facilities.

Q: How were you introduced to DOVIA-LA and what do you enjoy about the group?

A: I was introduced to DOVIA by my supervisor at Union Station.  I was thrilled that such a resource exists.  DOVIA provided me the opportunity to meet and discuss volunteer administration with other professionals in the field.

Q: What’s a memorable volunteer story?

A: One of the many memorable stories is of a woman who works in our Adult Center emergency shelter helping the Security Team at the front desk.   She let us know that her first day was so emotional she cried because of the many struggling community members she saw that day.  She reached out to us, we discussed her understanding of the position, and she is now volunteering three days a week at that facility!  It was very touching that she was so moved by the people we serve and the care that our staff shows the community members in need.

Q: You are in the process of receiving your CVA, how has it been going?

A: The CCVA is fantastic at communicating information on the CVA process.  I really appreciate their dedication to advancing the position of volunteer administrator and am excited to take the test and complete the practical application process.  I appreciate the opportunity to further my knowledge and education in this area.

Q: Do you have any tips for volunteer managers??

A: We believe in quick responses to all inquiries in our department and I see its value as a sign of respect while putting our best selves forward.  I also hold two aspects of my job as crucial: safety and ethics.  Maintaining a positive attitude/positive department helps our organization’s reputation as one that values people who take time out of their lives to help us.

Q:  Do you have any hobbies that help you maintain work/life balance?
A: My number one hobby is spending time with family and friends.  That time includes walking our dogs, going to the theater and movies, and gardening.  Gardening I usually end up doing alone which is just fine as I also enjoy my “solo down time.”

DOVIA-LA 2015 Member Highlight

DOVIA-LA 2015 Member Highlight

LauraJellumFoodForward

 Q&A with Laura Jellum; Volunteer Manager at Food Forward

Q: Where are you currently working and how long have you been managing volunteers?

A: I have been the Volunteer Manager at Food Forward since March 2014. Food Forward recovers fresh produce from backyard fruit trees, farmers markets and LA’s downtown wholesale produce market. 100% of the produce we collect (9 million pounds to date!) is donated to local hunger relief agencies. We host 100 – 150 volunteer powered events per month, which are staffed, on average, by 300 – 400 volunteers. I ensure that those events are staffed, and also oversee our outreach, social media, group engagement, office volunteers and anything else that comes across my plate!

Q: How were you introduced to DOVIA-LA and what do you enjoy about the group?

A: I honestly think I googled Los Angeles + volunteer management to see if there were any professional groups I could be a part of! As someone new to the field, I was eager to meet other Volunteer Managers in the area, learn about best practices and hear about the experiences of others. I’ve loved being a part of DOVIA because the group is incredibly welcoming and generous in their insight, advice and support. I also appreciate the diverse roster of non-profits involved!

Q: What’s a memorable volunteer story?

A: I am blown away on a daily basis by how committed and passionate the Food Forward volunteers are. As a small staff of 12, there is no way we could accomplish all we do without our Super Volunteers leading up to 25 produce recovery events per week. They are out at 15 farmers markets per week, driving our vehicles to properties to pick fruit, supervising other volunteers and representing us at community events. Working with the volunteers and hearing about the enthusiasm they have for what we do is just awesome. They come to us for so many different reasons – to fight food insecurity in the community, to support local hunger relief agencies, to address food waste, to be outdoors, to meet people – which, in turn, motivates us as a staff to do even more!

Q: Do you have any tips for volunteer managers?

A: Do your best.

Q: Do you have any hobbies that help you maintain work/life balance?

A: I do a lot of hiking and cooking. I also love wandering around Los Angeles, eating at delicious restaurants and binging on the occasional TV show.

 

Last Day to Register for Jennifer Bennett Presentation

Last Day to Register for Jennifer Bennett Presentation

Register today for the next DOVIA-LA meeting on Mar. 20, 9:30 – 12:00 at the Braille Insititute. Dynamic and engaging presenter Jennifer Bennett, Senior Manager, Education & Training at VolunteerMatch, will discuss ‘Successfully Implementing Volunteer Program Changes.’ No cost for DOVIA-LA members; $20 for non-members: https://dovia-march.eventbrite.com.

It’s Not Me; It’s YOU!

It’s Not Me; It’s YOU!

Register for the January 16 DOVIA-LA general meeting at https://dovia-january.eventbrite.com.

New Rules for Interns

spotlight-consultingservices-011714In 2014, the California Legislature passed several new laws affecting employers, ranging from the heavily publicized sick-leave statute, requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to employees, to the less-hyped Assembly Bill 326, amending the Labor Code to now permit employers to report workplace accidents via email.

Below is a review of some of the significant employment-related laws that will affect employers in the coming year and suggestions on what employers should do to prepare for the impending changes. Unless otherwise indicated, each new law will become effective as of January 1, 2015.

Assembly Bill 1443 provides new legal protections for unpaid interns and volunteers with respect to harassment and discrimination. Employers may be liable for violations of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) if their unpaid interns or volunteers are unlawfully harassed, discriminated against on the basis of a legally protected classification, or not provided religious accommodations as applied to employees. In addition to updating their anti-harassment and other relevant policies to include interns and volunteers, employers should notify interns and volunteers of both their rights under this new law and the company’s complaint procedures.

Get more information at http://swerdlowlaw.com/2014/12/12/california-employment-law-update-2015/.

Education Day Videos

Education Day Videos

Check out highlights of Education Day at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKRbD7yAmTkGNo2T-IPdwmSmavIgRZwwb. Many thanks to volunteer Sekhar Ravinutala for producing these videos!

Networking with Other DOVIA Members

Networking with Other DOVIA Members

Many DOVIA-LA members have expressed the value of networking with our peers at DOVIA-LA meetings. There are several ways to connect between meetings too: ‘like’ DOVIA-LA on Facebook (www.facebook.com/doviala), follow us on Twitter (@doviala), or connect on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/groups/DOVIALA). You can also email any news or resources to our VP of Publicity (MGoodyear@JerichoRoadProject.org) to be included in the monthly eblasts or posted on the website.

Onboarding & Orienting Volunteers – Nov. 21

Onboarding & Orienting Volunteers – Nov. 21

The next DOVIA-LA meeting is Fri., Nov. 21, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm at the Braille Institute. This Roundtable will be an opportunity to share resources on ‘Onboarding Volunteers – Volunteer Orientations & More!’ Join us for a lively discussion on what makes a successful onboarding process, orientation, and how to keep orientations interesting. Come with any materials from your volunteer onboarding process including the orientation and be ready to share what you think works well, as well as areas you’d like to improve. Read More »