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Managing Volunteers “NAMI STYLE” NAMI Center for Excellence Jinneh T. Dyson, PhD February 18, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Managing Volunteers “NAMI STYLE” NAMI Center for Excellence Jinneh T. Dyson, PhD February 18, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing Volunteers “NAMI STYLE” NAMI Center for Excellence Jinneh T. Dyson, PhD February 18, 2014

2 Team Mission: To provide technical assistance and develop the resources, tools and education needed by NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates for excellence in nonprofit and organizational management.

3 Senior Manager, NAMI Center for Excellence I work with 26 state organizations Previous experience as an Executive Director of a NAMI state organization and a NAMI affiliate I have almost 15 years of experience in Non-profit organizations PhD in Non-Profit Management

4 Session Overview Building A Foundation Meeting the Needs of Volunteers What’s In Your Toolkit? Creating Change at Home

5 A volunteer management program lays the foundation for a successful relationship and partnership. Creating a volunteer management program with adequate practices and tools, is an important way to ensure that the organization runs smoothly. A sound structure enables volunteers to be and feel successful.

6 Conduct an organizational needs assessment Determine needs Volunteer positions Examine opportunities and challenges Utilize and engage your current stakeholders Create policies and procedures to manage your volunteers Create volunteer job descriptions

7  Isn’t obligated to work for you,  Often works long hours,  Frequently travels long distances,  Doesn’t receive any money, and  May actually spend money on gas, food and office supplies to fulfill their role.

8  A way to help others; do good deeds  Increases self-esteem and competence; training for employment  Volunteers want to “give back” to organizations like NAMI, who have been there for them. ***Studies show that people who volunteer live longer, healthier and happier lives. People volunteer because:

9  A volunteer program requires organization  Can make you vulnerable- risk management  Demands timely responses and meeting deadlines  Creates new responsibilities  Requires job descriptions and supervision  You must develop real roles with real outcomes and structured time and results

10 The Organization’s Needs The Volunteer’s Needs  More persons to get the work done  A larger network of supporters and members  Opportunity to empower others  Strong leaders  A chance to contribute to something constructive  A supportive community  Empowerment  Work experience that can lead to other professional opportunities

11  Builds organizational capacity  Builds friendships amongst volunteers  Provides training opportunities  Builds leadership  Decreases current volunteer burnout  Provides peers with distinct roles and responsibilities

12  The over-arching goal is to create a rewarding volunteer experience that is educational, productive, and beneficial!  Alignment between shared mission, vision, and goals!

13  Probably already have volunteers working and serving in your organization  May not have a lot of concrete policies or solid practices  May not have enough volunteers in some areas  May have the same people working and serving in the organization  May not have enough time to devote to “managing” volunteers  May not know how to maximize your current volunteers  May be interested in finding a replacement for you!


15 ◦ Great way to welcome and orient new members and volunteers to make them feel like part of a “TEAM”. ◦ Can be formal or informal ◦ You may want to provide the following:  Organizational overview, overview of expectations for volunteers and information on what they need to do to succeed i.e. volunteer manuals, brochures, contact lists, and etc.

16 ◦ People want to feel like they are a part of a team instead of feeling like they are just another volunteer ◦ Teams create relationships ◦ Increases sustainability ◦ Aligns people with common interests and goals ◦ Built on mutual trust and responsibility ◦ Win-Win mentality

17  Be clear on roles, responsibilities, goals, and tasks ◦ This prevents boredom ◦ Ensures that volunteers are contributing to the organization ◦ If the work is goal-specific and with a clear outcome it will keep volunteers busy and engaged  Create a schedule  Illustrate the benefits!

18 Session Overview Building A Foundation Meeting the Needs of Volunteers What’s In Your Toolkit? Creating Change at Home

19  Evaluate to determine successfulness of the volunteer opportunities. ◦ Both organizational leaders and the volunteers need constructive feedback not criticism! ◦ If someone is off track, you need to be able to stop the problem at the outset, before it gets out of control. Questions to consider when determining volunteer evaluations: ◦ Who will evaluate volunteers? ◦ How will they be evaluated? ◦ How often? ◦ How will this information be reported? ◦ What will the organization do with the information?

20  Meet privately with volunteers  Recommended to check-in with volunteers half-way through their committed term or project  Questions to consider during the evaluation: ◦ How is it going so far? ◦ Are you doing what you thought you would be doing? ◦ What is the ONE thing you are enjoying the most? ◦ What are you finding the most challenging? *** In giving feedback, always start with the positive and if you have nothing to say you can always thank them for their time! ***If there are potential issues, always offer solutions instead of focusing on the problems; document your steps, actions, and goals!

21  How will volunteer information be tracked?  Who is responsible?  Where will this information be stored?  How will it be reported?  How will you use it? Suggestions:  Volunteer Log  Sign-in book  Record hours monthly, quarterly  Report at board meetings, annual meetings, newsletters, web, and other areas




25  Give volunteers recognition and let them see their impact. ◦ Volunteer appreciation party ◦ Recognition in newsletter, annual report, website, awards, or celebrating their anniversaries and birthdays ◦ Just say “Thank You” ◦ Random phone calls ◦ Coffee/Tea ◦ Provide letters of recommendation ◦ Recognition = Retention

26  Build Connections ◦ Among volunteers and between volunteers and other organizations. ***Remember people volunteer to give back and to be connected to something greater. ◦ Create opportunities for volunteers to meet and collaborate with others  One idea: Instead of having a meeting, have a social! ◦ Assist with skill building  Support ongoing learning and education opportunities i.e. conferences, workshops, seminars  Allow them the opportunity to represent the organization by attending public meetings.

27 As advocates we must not only BE the voice, but we must allow others to have a voice!  Listen to your volunteers  Provide an opportunity for them to share  Suggestion or comment boxes  Annual strategic planning meetings  Committee meetings i.e. NOT board meetings! There is a WIN-WIN situation when volunteers feel as if they are being "heard”, are validated, and are supported!

28  Supporting volunteers can help to decrease burnout.  Burnout is a common problem at every nonprofit.  Signs of burnout ◦ Complaining all the time ◦ Lack energy ◦ Pessimistic ◦ Unmotivated ◦ Not showing up or completing tasks

29  The nature of our organization is that people make huge personal sacrifices i.e. time, money, energy, as well as the time, energy, and money to care for themselves or their loved ones  These are not infinite resources---in fact it is common to run out of fuel

30  Beginning ◦ Very enthusiastic ◦ Over commit themselves ◦ Become disillusioned ◦ Mentally and physically exhausted ◦ Always complaining ◦ Not finishing tasks or projects ◦ Withdraw ◦ Quit! ***This is somewhat the nature of the work, but we can STILL do our part!

31  Set realistic goals—start and end time, be project specific ◦ Don’t overload them with tasks or assign big tasks ◦ Gather input from volunteers ◦ Promote collaboration as much as you can—be mindful of cliques  Set a GOOD example ◦ Goal-setting ◦ Encourage breaks and work-life balance  Establish PRIORITIES!  Offer “rest”, “vacation”, or new tasks!

32  Manage your resources effectively (remember people are your greatest resource). ◦ Know the strengths of your volunteers---match them with appropriate jobs  Make it FUN! ◦ Focus on the “team”---do team activities i.e. lunch, celebrate holidays, movies ◦ Give volunteers a chance to express themselves i.e. designing posters, t-shirts, and etc.  Remember your WHY and the WHY of your volunteers.

33  Conflicts are natural, but can be corrosive and destructive if not managed well.  Do you have a policy to deal with conflict?  Who handles conflict?  What is the process of handling conflict?

34  Encourage people to come up with a solution to the problem. ◦ Tackle the problem early ◦ Don’t procrastinate and hope it will go away quickly  No “Reply-All” emails; talk off-line  Identify a process to handle conflicts ◦ Staff ◦ Board Committee  Reinforce unity, teamwork, and collaboration

35  Effective volunteer management creates a feeling that everyone is working together to advance the mission.  If an organization is willing to invest in their volunteers and support those involved then the experience can be extremely rewarding.

36 Session Overview Building A Foundation Meeting the Needs of Volunteers What’s In Your Toolkit? Creating Change at Home


38 TasksHave/Don’tWould LikeBy When A volunteer mission statement A clear understanding of how volunteers fit into the structure of the organization Volunteer Policy and Procedural Manual Insurance to cover volunteers A volunteer budget A volunteer manager/person with responsibility for volunteer involvement Persons who understand the role of volunteers Clear roles for volunteers which are meaningful Process for dealing with challenges and conflicts Criminal Record Checks Process for how volunteers will be evaluated Volunteer Appreciation and Recognition



41 Session Overview Building A Foundation Meeting the Needs of Volunteers What’s In Your Toolkit? Creating Change at Home

42  What are you currently doing to support your volunteers?  What is the ONE thing you do well?  What is the ONE area you find the most challenging?

43  Identify your “volunteer” goals  Determine your needs  Create a simple 1-2-3 plan—NO MORE THAN 3!  Utilize Interns and practicum students to achieve some of these tasks.  Work with what you GOT (not proper English, but you get it)  Have FUN!!!!

44  More volunteers = Meeting more affiliate needs  Volunteers are priceless!  Recognition leads to retention  Teamwork really does make the dream work! You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give. -- Winston Churchill

45 Thank you to each and every one of you! You are our NAMI Super Stars!


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