Challenges To Avoid In Your Volunteer Program: Ed Day Keynote

Challenges To Avoid In Your Volunteer Program: Ed Day Keynote

Keynote Speaker LaVal Brewer will present ‘Challenges To Avoid In Your Volunteer Program.’

Yes, there are dangerous volunteers. They fall into two camps, vampires and zombies. Both impact your ability to grow, manage and lead your organization. They affect the capacity of your managers and volunteers to drive results and they can spread their bad habits to other volunteers. You must protect your organization and deal with them now! Read More »

A Brave New World

A Brave New World

The world of volunteer engagement is changing. How will your volunteer program grow and thrive?

VolunteerMatch’s new book, Volunteer Engagement 2.0: Ideas and Insights Changing the World gives you the tools and ideas you need to take your program into the future.

Check out VolunteerMatch’s new book at https://www.energizeinc.com/store/volunteer_engagement_20_0.
Each chapter covers a unique topic, written by an expert in the field. Here are just a few:

Volunteer Engagement on the Social Web – NTEN
Partnering with Workplace Volunteer Programs – Realized Worth
Engaging Millennial and Younger Volunteers – DoSomething.org

Mixed Messages to Volunteers Whom We’ve Asked to Be Friendly

Mixed Messages to Volunteers Whom We’ve Asked to Be Friendly

In the most recent Energize newsletter, Susan J. Ellis focuses on conflicting messages and unclear boundaries common to many of the most traditional volunteer roles:

Any assignment labeled some variation of “friendly visitor” or “buddy,” in which the volunteer agrees to spend several hours weekly with a client – often a homebound senior or someone with late-stage AIDS. These visits are usually in the client’s home, one-to-one, with little structure other than the goals of providing welcome company, forming a supportive relationship, and being helpful in small, practical ways. Read More »

Summer volunteering, expert advice, and kittens

Summer volunteering, expert advice, and kittens

Summer vacation. For many, it’s a time for kicking back and enjoying the sun. But often, young people want to do something meaningful with their vacations, too. How will you attract young people to your organization this summer? Get tips inside this VolunteerMatch’s summer newsletter: 5 Ways to Attract Young People to Your Organization.

Happy summer!

Are You a Competent Volunteer Manager?

Are You a Competent Volunteer Manager?

Last year, the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration (cvacert.org) asked your help in distributing a practitioner survey as part of our comprehensive job analysis study. Thanks in large part to your efforts, we received over 800 responses!

The new competency framework clarifies and defines the full range of tasks involved in the professional management and leadership of volunteer engagement. It also serves as the foundation for the Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) credential. The new framework details seven competencies: Read More »

DOVIA-LA 2015 Member Highlight: Steven Park

DOVIA-LA 2015 Member Highlight: Steven Park

Steven Parker

Q&A with Steven Parker, Program Associate

Coaching Corps

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

A: I work as a Program Associate at Coaching Corps. My main responsibilities include: Managing all Southern California volunteers, recruitment of volunteers, managing salesforce for SoCal, and generating reports to inform strategies. I’ve personally worked with volunteers for quite some time now. As a student in college I lead a couple of volunteer trips and I worked with volunteers throughout a year of service in Mandeville, Jamaica from 2010 to 2011. Working with Coaching Corps puts my experience with volunteers to the forefront of my work. At Coaching Corps, we partner with sports programs in low-income communities by providing them with trained, volunteer coaches. We offer the same training to our partners to train volunteer coaches they recruit on their own. Our comprehensive training outlines strategies for working with youth, setting up practices, and implementing youth development principles throughout coaching.

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

A: We heard about DOVIA through an e-mail and we’ve enjoyed the discussions we’ve had with our contemporaries. I personally enjoy hearing about the successes and challenges that other volunteer organizations in the Los Angeles area experience and learning from them.

Q: Will you share a memorable volunteer story?

A: I recently spoke to one of our volunteers who coached a young basketball team. When he first took over the team, many of the players weren’t sure what they were doing and, as a result, they lost their first four games. Despite losing, he was witnessing improvement from all of his players. After that fourth loss, his team did not lose again until the championship game! His enthusiasm, excitement, and pride radiated through the phone. He was so proud of the way his team never gave up, practiced their skills, and turned their season around. He immediately committed to coaching the next basketball season as he hopes to see his team win the championship!

Q: Do you have any tips for volunteer managers?

 A: I take time to get to know our volunteers and hear their stories. I think this ultimately helps create the personal relationships I have with many of our coaches which makes my work much easier.

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

A: I love sports. When I’m not working I’m either off playing soccer, basketball, volleyball, or tennis. I also love to coach and hope to find some time this summer or fall to pick up a youth sports team.

Register Today for Volunteers Vs. Interns DOVIA Workshop

Register Today for Volunteers Vs. Interns DOVIA Workshop

Ever wonder what the true difference is between a volunteer and an intern? Involving both interns and volunteers is incredibly beneficial to an agency, but it’s important to know what the laws and best practices are in order to have the most effective program in place.

Sean D. Devereaux, Manager of Volunteer Services at the Aquarium of the Pacific, will be leading this workshop with a panel of representatives from local colleges and universities who will discuss the benefits and details of their program.

CLICK HERE for more details and full bio: http://doviala.org/event/july2015/
CLICK HERE to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/volunteers-vs-interns-tickets-16884488961

July 17th, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm at the Braille Institute 741 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles
Free parking is available in the Braille Institute’s structure, off New Hampshire Avenue.

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.”