November 12, 2010

Are you ready for volunteers?

Last time we checked in on the Institute for Excellence in Volunteer Management (i.e. our two day volunteer management extravaganza in September) people were asking, "What do we do with all of this great information now?" ... Well you didn't think we were going to leave them high and dry, did you?!

Part of the mastery of the institute's design included continued support for the participating organizations to help them clearly focus on the identified topics where they felt as though outside help was needed. University of Texas graduate students from the School of Social Work, LBJ Public Affairs, and the College of Communications are working together collaboratively with these 15 organizations:

It is amazing to see what is being accomplished with in the groups!  The student consultants are working together in the following focus areas:

Focus Areas: Volunteer/Staff Relations and Buy in
  • Staff attitudes towards volunteers
  • Levels of training (volunteer management)
  • Position descriptions and roles (staff and volunteer)
  • Language related to volunteers (ex. mission, website, literature)
  • Expectations
  • Conflict mediation procedures
  • Volunteer and staff recognition
Focus Area: Evaluation of Volunteer Program, Staff & Volunteers
  • Establishing evaluation needs
  • What needs to be evaluated (volunteer program, volunteers, staff, etc) 
  • Purpose of evaluation (efficacy, satisfaction, or both)
  • Forms of evaluation that best aligns with organization’s needs
  • Providing research, evaluation tools, applications, and useful examples 

Focus Areas: Supervision & Support
  • Provide an overview of the supervision process
  • Guidelines for supervising volunteers
  • Effective follow up with volunteers
  • Methods to provide support to your volunteers. 

Focus Areas: Policies, Procedures & Organizational Strategies
  • Assess & evaluate existing policies and procedures
  • Identify problem areas that could be addressed to strengthen policies and procedures
  • Identify resources related to strengthening policies and procedures
  • Develop hands on strategies and tools (including technology/data management) to successfully integrate policies and procedures into organizational culture
As the end of the semester is rolling around, the students are doing a great job at getting these consulting projects completed.  The next big thing will be providing the organizations with the valuable information that they've worked so hard on all semester!  Stay tuned to hear about more progress!

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