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George Barnette News reporter/editor Crisis communication consultant FEMA DAE TDEM instructor Disaster response volunteer Community volunteer organizer.

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Presentation on theme: "George Barnette News reporter/editor Crisis communication consultant FEMA DAE TDEM instructor Disaster response volunteer Community volunteer organizer."— Presentation transcript:

1 George Barnette News reporter/editor Crisis communication consultant FEMA DAE TDEM instructor Disaster response volunteer Community volunteer organizer

2 In a disaster, you can’t do your job without volunteers Pray for additional funding from state or feds Do what you can with what you have Cannibalize other departmental functions Get help from outside the department

3 Who is a volunteer? Generic strangers off the street Screened, trained, credentialed, experienced Disaster response veterans Professionals retired or on leave from jobs Person with skills or resources you lack

4 What can a volunteer do? Low-level work to free staff for emergency Support professionals to enhance productivity Expand professional manpower Do crisis-specific jobs you don’t normally do Bring skills and resources you don’t have Relieve staff as crisis mode fades

5 Volunteers aren’t free Reservists are paid salary and expenses Core volunteers have expenses reimbursed Casual volunteers expect non-cash rewards All require the same thing as employees – Good management – Respect and appreciation – Compensation of some kind

6 Standard procedures Non-profits and faith-based work where government is less effective Resistance to church-state cooperation fading Government integration of volunteers is increasing

7 Volunteers can be a profit center Federal disaster funds must be matched Volunteer hours count against the match – Current Texas rate is $23.40 per hour – When work is for health and safety – When work is planned and overseen – When work is tracked documented – Tracking systems already exist among some groups

8 Megan Helton Volunteers in a state agency with: Legally restrictive work environment Educated, licensed workforce Strict confidentiality requirements Stringent security measures Expectation of personal accountability

9 David Stone Volunteer resources Groups able to help in a hurry Organizations with trained, vetted members Agencies with specific skills and resources Sources of volunteers in quantity Those with in-place administrative systems

10 Start planning for volunteers What do you want them to do? What qualifications will you need? When will you need them to do it? Where will it be done? How much time will you have to activate? How long will you need the help? How will you manage volunteers?

11 Qualifications Does the job require a credential or license? Does it require an existing skill? What work rules and conditions will apply? What special work practices will be involved? Involve legal & human resources in planning!

12 Recruit, screen, train Describe in detail the volunteer you need Decide the basis on which you take volunteers Requirements tell you where to hunt Recruit in clusters if you can Recruit individually if you must Tailor a motivational appeal How will you test their existing skills What training must you provide and how

13 Non-monetary motivation Benefit the community Personal benefit Recognition Affiliation Achievement Power Glory

14 Turn-offs Delayed response to application Poor supervision Disorganized management Wasting their time Disrespect by staff Promises not kept Stuck in unrewarding niche

15 Problems and pitfalls No guarantee of availability No organizational or personal loyalty Lack of employee-type control Not instilled with corporate culture Not familiar with job, laws, regulations, system May cause problems through ignorance Unknown personal issues and liabilities

16 Volunteers in bulk Identify sources in advance of need Establish and maintain contact Establish MOUs and MOAs in advance Let groups do your recruiting for you Provide training in advance Integrate volunteers into activity

17 Where to hunt Professional associations Non-profits Faith-based Community-based Volunteer Agencies Active in Disasters (VOADs) Community Organizations Active in Disasters Central Volunteer Reception Center

18 Spontaneous volunteers Spontaneous, unaffiliated, convergent ALWAYS appear after a disaster Require most training, supervision, motivation May have valuable skills and resources – May know local people, culture, resources – Can commute in, be self-sustaining Can be used for unskilled work May need to be trained

19 Create a volunteer culture Get buy-in from the top Get buy-in from staff Integrate them into organization Assign “mother hens” Create opportunities for interaction Build familiarity, rapport, respect Show volunteers they are valued, appreciated

20 Employee-volunteer relations Volunteers may feel they’re “rescuing” staff Volunteers may be unwilling to make decisions Staff may see volunteers as intruders Staff may ignore or bypass volunteers Need balance of – Mutual respect – Understand lines of authority and responsibility – Understand each other’s value to success

21 Risk management Involve legal, HR and risk management Even screened volunteers can disappoint Spontaneous volunteers are more problematic Have clear, enforceable liability boundaries

22 The cost of free help Must have a volunteer manager – Supervisor for every 7 workers – Manager and supervisors can be volunteers Must have a volunteer budget – Recruiting, screening, training, expenses, salary – Ongoing program expenses – Management expenses during incidents – Cost of rewards and awards

23 Know manpower needs Past needs for volunteers Current needs for volunteers Current volunteer resources, if any Short-term future volunteer needs Long-term future volunteer needs Contingency volunteer needs

24 Activation and assignment As much notice as possible of deployment Handle travel logistics for volunteer Overlap with predecessor for job handoff Allow for check-in, paperwork, briefing, prep Make job, rules, chain of command clear Match skills and experience to job if possible

25 Care and feeding Can work 24/7 for a week or two Allow time for personal maintenance The more you do for volunteer the better Designate a volunteer caretaker Arrange travel to job and on-site Provide housing for imported volunteers Plan for meals, laundry, telephone Monitor and address volunteer stress Maintain communication with volunteers

26 Supervision and evaluation Determine type and amount of supervision – Will vary from individual to individual Supervisor can be an experienced volunteer Allow for complaints and appeals to decisions Do written evaluations at end of deployment – By both supervisor and volunteer, with rebuttals

27 Record-keeping Track time to apply to federal match Keep all volunteer’s paperwork in file Even without a federal declaration… – May need to match other grants – Legal issues – Evaluate work process for improvements – Tells you whom to thank at the end – Builds a resource list for next time

28 Demobilizing Plan as much for de-activation as for activation Keep volunteers in the loop Wind down work in orderly manner Collect work product, keys, equipment Have a checkout process After-action reviews immediately and later

29 Ongoing development Keep good volunteers connected and engaged Solicit their ideas for improvement Provide ongoing training and development – To keep existing skills sharp – To add new skills – To update skills as field and organization evolve Keep volunteers together in teams Use training to maintain volunteer interest

30 Retaining volunteers Easiest volunteer to recruit is an existing one Regular positive contact is essential Update on changes, news, developments Include in planning, exercises, drills Use in non-emergency activities Publicize volunteer involvement Never lose contact with a volunteer

31 Spin off volunteers Set up self-managed 501(c)3 organization Fund its own activities, equipment, supplies Provide its own training Grow volunteer leadership Perform public service work in your name

32 Make volunteers a resource Make volunteer team available to others – Deploy through your agency – Deploy independently through direct contact Borrowing entity funds, manages volunteers Gives you chits to call in in the future Gives volunteers real-life experience Exposes volunteers to other ways to do things

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