Login / Logout Link

Volunteer Management Isn’t Just a Buzzword

 

Being (what I term) a serial volunteer, as well as working in the nonprofit/voluntary sector, has given me some special insight into how to go about managing volunteers. I’m always happy every time a volunteer manager (either by title or by their role within the organization) makes sure that I, as a volunteer, am satisfied with my experience, and know that I am appreciated. One of the reasons I started working at Volunteer Alberta was because I was interested in ensuring every volunteer has a good experience, and wants to become even more involved in their community.

However, I’m sure we’ve all had experiences where we – as volunteers – were managed poorly. I had one such experience recently while attending a meeting of an organization that is just in the early stages of incorporating as a nonprofit. So, what did I, as a manager of volunteers at another organization, learn about volunteer recruitment and management from this experience? Here are just three things, but I’m sure there’s many more:

  1. Ask your volunteers what they want from you. What are they looking to get out of their experience? Why are they giving their time? By asking these two simple questions, you can create a role that’s suited to the volunteer – not ask them to take on a role that they are either unsuited for, or that doesn’t interest them.
  2. Always let your volunteers know what to expect from a meeting. If volunteers know what to expect from a meeting, they can come prepared to contribute in a meaningful way. If they know what to expect, they will also leave the meeting knowing how their input contributed to the organization or the project, and will be more satisfied with the outcome of the meeting. Personally, if I had known what to expect from the meeting I recently attended, I would have left the meeting much more satisfied with the outcome, and would be much more likely to come back and volunteer my skills to them again.
  3.  Show your volunteers that you value their time. Whether you send out an agenda (which is something I frequently do for the volunteers I manage), or just manage the meeting in an efficient way (including being there when the volunteers arrive), volunteers are giving their time (personally, one of my most valuable resources), and we should be appreciative of that.

Volunteer Alberta has some great resources on management of volunteers, including resources about:

Your turn! What lessons have you learnt about volunteer management – either through the way you, as a volunteer, were managed, or in your role of managing volunteers in your organization?
– Jenna Marynowski
Communications and Marketing Manager

Interning and Learning

University and college students spend so much time listening to professor’s lecture about what kind of skills they need to attain a successful career. I was tired of listening and was ready to just “do.” In other words, I thought it was about time to put my academic training into action. Gaining valuable work experience while being a student can be difficult; having the SCiP program available to students is an invaluable, flexible resource.

Signing up for SCiP was easy; I received my user name and password in a few days and was able to browse open positions right away. There were lots of internships available, I looked for one that fit my interests and complemented my degree.  After formally applying and going through the interview process, I was notified I was the successful candidate for the position of National Volunteer Week Coordinator at Volunteer Alberta. Having the opportunity to be a SCiP intern with Volunteer Alberta has been a great experience.

As the National Volunteer Week Coordinator, I am responsible for handling all incoming applications and processing them. I’m fortunate to be working on a project that recognizes hard working volunteers across the province of Alberta; I am able to make a difference for volunteers and their communities. My position at Volunteer Alberta has provided me with unique learning opportunities that I would have not experienced elsewhere. Working as a team and independently, meeting deadlines, and learning new skills, are just a few of my highlighted gains from this internship. One of the best parts about my internship was the “hands on” experience. I was able to work with different people, working in different areas at Volunteer Alberta. I was able to develop my strengths and tackle my weaknesses while helping me discover where my true passion lies in the career world.

I hope other students and organizations have the opportunity to get involved with SCiP.

– Kassie Russell
National Volunteer Week Coordinator

Got A Question? RCVO to the Rescue

Yesterday my co-worker wondered aloud what the difference is between incorporating an organization under the Societies Act and incorporating under the Alberta Companies Act.  With access to resources and links I set out to find an answer and a short time later I found myself frustrated that I couldn’t find a solution in the usual places. Then it dawned on me, the answer was right under my nose: the Learning Resource Guides available online at www.rcvo.org.

Feeling like a fool for overlooking one of Volunteer Alberta’s most reliable information resources, I immediately headed to the RCVO@Volunteer Alberta website. Not only did I quickly find the answer to my query, I also solved a few other related questions I had been working on. Every day I refer people and organizations to the Learning Resource Guides on www.rcvo.org, but it turns out they are a great resource for VA too. While there is no shortage of expertise among the staff at Volunteer Alberta, sometimes the simplest solution is the best one.

Every Learning Resource Guide is clear and concise while also being very informative and helpful. If you need information on any issue relating to the nonprofit/voluntary sector, the Learning Resource Guides are the perfect starting point. Today there are over 40 Learning Resource Guides at your disposal on www.rcvo.org and more will be added in the coming months to meet the growing demand.

Learning Resource Guides are certainly not the only way Volunteer Alberta provides indispensable information for the nonprofit/voluntary sector, but they are excellent quick reference guides for any person or organization with a question; even if that organization happens to be Volunteer Alberta.

–          Tim Henderson

News Flash – KnowledgeConnector.ca launches

Attention senior leaders and volunteers: Regional Capacity Coordinators now working in Alberta communities

 

Leaders of nonprofit/voluntary organizations often raise concerns that they don’t always know where to find professional development and learning opportunities and don’t have time to search. KnowledgeConnector.ca is the solution!

KnowledgeConnector Initiative Phase One is now launched, where five Regional Capacity Coordinators are working in communities across Alberta to connect learners and learning providers across the nonprofit/voluntary sector with the KnowledgeConnector Initiative.

Once fully operational in Fall 2011, KnowledgeConnector.ca will provide a free assessment tool then connect nonprofit/voluntary sector leaders with professional development providers and opportunities. TheKnowledgeConnector Initiative enhances the capacities of organizations – large or small – to achieve their missions and strengthen local communities in Alberta.

It’s all about strengthening communities! 

“The KnowledgeConnectorwill allow me to quickly and easily assess my capacities as a leader, manager and board member” said Lisa Topilko, Director of the Volunteer Vegreville (and a Volunteer Alberta Board member).“From right here in Vegreville, KnowledgeConnector.ca will enable me to connect with learning opportunities strengthening my ability to lead my nonprofit organization and better support the needs of our community.”

Toby Rabinovitz, Project Manager of the KnowledgeConnector Initiative explained: “From sports and recreation to social services… from education to environment, the leaders, managers and board members of nonprofit/voluntary organizations – both large and small/ rural and urban – depend on tools and knowledge to build their capacity.”

“The KnowledgeConnector will be a “one-stop shop” web-based portal of opportunities, providing a searchable listing that enables organizations and individuals to find targeted learning opportunities in line with their specific interests, needs and training objectives” said Rabinovitz.

ABOUT

The KnowledgeConnector Initiative is managed by Volunteer Alberta on behalf of the nonprofit/voluntary sector in Alberta. Rather than duplicating, the KnowledgeConnector is about connecting with learning opportunities already available.

With significant financial support provided by the Rural Alberta Development Fund, the KnowledgeConnectorenables leaders from nonprofit/voluntary sector organizations to assess their strengths and abilities based on a Competency Framework, and fill identified gaps with targeted learning opportunities. The Initiative works to ensure rural and eventually urban communities and nonprofit/voluntary organizations can sustainably provide key services to Albertans.

MORE INFORMATION

Please visit www.KnowledgeConnector.ca or contact a

Regional Capacity Coordinator directly for more information.

– North West Region –   Yvonne Rempel        780-827-1464
– North East Region –     Donna Smith             780-718-5379
– Central West Region – Robert Mitchell         403-704-7122
– Central East Region –  Victoria Poschadel   780-945-6134
– South Region –              Amanda Leipert        403-977-4610

 

Not-for-profit Web Consulting & Digital Marketing by Adster Creative