Presentation on theme: "Improving Lives. Improving Texas. Empowering Volunteers to Lead Extension Educational Programs."— Presentation transcript:
Improving Lives. Improving Texas. Empowering Volunteers to Lead Extension Educational Programs
Volunteer-led Extension Programs Create Greater Impact in Communities Add Credibility to Extension Programs
Benefits of Volunteer-led Programs Greater Impact in Communities –Volunteers extend Extension’s sphere of influence in the community –Volunteers have time to focus on a specific problem and then address target audience
Benefits of Volunteer-led Programs Credibility –Private citizens who choose to work with Extension; unsalaried –Volunteers are objective Source: From the Top Down, Susan J. Ellis
Volunteers Leading Extension Programs Specific Program Areas –Home Horticulture & Gardening –All areas of 4-H (*4-H Livestock) –Wellness topics –Physical Activity ( i.e. Walk Across Texas ) –Natural Resource conservation –Commodity topics
AgriLife Extension Volunteer Facts Last year more than 104,000 people volunteer for Texas AgriLife Extension* 18,639 of these volunteers led Extension educational programs These 18,639 volunteers reached over 3 million Texans through educational programs *Texas AgriLife Extension 2009 Data
Volunteer Facts: A Closer Look Less than 18% of Extension’s volunteer force is taking a lead role in delivering educational programming, yet this group reached over 3 million Texans with life-changing information.
Volunteers - Unlimited Potential Increasing the number of volunteers leading educational programs has an exponential impact. Empowering volunteers is the key
Empowering Volunteers Empowerment is giving volunteers responsibility, along with authority and resources, to accomplish their mission.
Empowering Volunteers: O rientation Why is orientation important? –Allows individual to join as an informed equal –Motivates volunteers –Provides forum for Extension to explain expectations, goals and objectives
Three Parts of Orientation Social Orientation Position Orientation System Orientation
Social Orientation Introduction to county staff Tour of facility/office Explanation of dress code Directions to the break room How to operate the copy machine, fax machine, etc.
Position Orientation Overview of roles and responsibilities Review the position description
System Orientation Mission of Extension Legislation that created and defined Cooperative Extension Program Areas Volunteer Opportunities Policies and Procedures
Utilizing Volunteers Setting up a system –Find a good balance of program ownership and responsibility –Show trust and freedom through responsibility –Expectations and evaluation should be included in system
Utilizing Volunteers Setting up a System Pair new volunteer with veteran with at least one year experience –Shadow veteran to at least two presentations –Practice presentations prior to delivery to target audience
Utilizing Volunteers Setting up a System If equipment is provided by Extension, have volunteers who are responsible for the check out and return of all materials Provide resources for continued education and allow volunteers the opportunity to offer recommendations for including new material in program presentations
Adjust Your Attitude and Actions Understand what it means to be a volunteer –Their time is valuable too, be appreciative of that –Think about frustrations of volunteers and how they can be eliminated Give up some control –Do not give up administrative duties, but allow them to show leadership when possible
Adjust Your Attitude and Actions Let them to work! –Take their ideas and transform them into tasks –Guide their efforts/supply resources
Motivate Yourself, Motivate Others A great start on motivating volunteers is to motivate yourself because it is contagious Show enthusiasm! Interacting with volunteers is not a hindrance, but an integral part of Extension Project a friendly and open persona
Motivate Yourself, Motivate Others Meet frequently with volunteers –Studies show meeting frequently (with a purpose) increases and sustains volunteer enthusiasm Be a listener; show concern and respect for their opinions
Motivating Volunteers Recognize their efforts! –Reward them for a job well done Public recognition –Let them know the impact of their efforts Say THANK YOU! –Personal thank you note or telephone call
What can I do if my volunteers do not become empowered? Take it slow If they fail to feel empowered, other problems may exist.