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Role of the Advisor -- Question & Answer Listing  
Viewing 1-9 of 9 Knowledge Entries
Question / Answer

Question:
As a new leader of a volunteer organization, what can I do to prepare myself for situations out of my own area of expertise?

Answer:
Although a leader is expected to have a certain level of knowledge and skills to perform his/her job, a leader cannot possibly be an expert on all matters. One way to prepare yourself for situations you may not be as familiar with is to know what resources and expertise is available in your community or within your reach outside of your community. Identify community leaders and learn the talents and expertise of those within your organization and allow them to assist you when faced with situations that are out of your area of expertise. Oftentimes, they will welcome the opportunity to participate.

Question:
How do build rapport within a group or organization?

Answer:
As a leader, it’s important to build a rapport with others in your organization in order for you to earn their respect and support. It’s also important for a group’s members to build a rapport with one other. This is often referred to as “team building.” There are a number of different team building exercises you can do to help group members get to know each other, and develop mutual trust and understanding. Team building exercises or icebreakers are games that allow for group interaction where the focus is on something fun and usually unrelated to the group’s purpose. One example of this kind of activity is one in which members are divided into several groups and each group is given a particular problem to solve. This might be a written story listing a number of different items that the group is supposed to pretend they are left with on a desert island. They are tasked to work together to develop a plan on how they would use these items to get back to the mainland. Another activity might include giving each group a certain number of materials and asked to work together to create something specific like a new design for an automobile. Many businesses hold annual picnics or have interoffice athletic games. These activities also allow employees to build a rapport with one another because it allows them to put their work aside and get to know each other better on a personal level. These kinds of activities forces group interaction and help group members form a relationship. Check with some of the references provided for more information.

Question:
How do I, as a leader of a volunteer organization, ensure that we receive the community resources we need to run our programs?

Answer:
Volunteer Groups and organizations are often in competition for resources (e.g., money, facilities, volunteers, location for activities, etc.), but one way to help ensure your agency gets a fair share of these resources is to participate in community meetings to advocate interest in your organization. Provide measurable benefits about your organization to community leaders who are in a position to provide money and other types of support. Use effective marketing to attract volunteers and be an effective leader in your management of volunteers in order to retain them. Check with the references listed for more information on leadership and volunteer management.

Question:
How do political issues impact the military?

Answer:
Political issues can have a great deal of impact on the military. For example, they impact the military's missions and influence the priorities placed on the military's resources such as their budget, draw downs, leadership, etc. As an individual and a member of a military community, you are justified in having your own opinions and beliefs, but it is important that you do not misrepresent your own personal political beliefs as those of the Army. Note that Soldiers and civilian employees have to take a pledge to abide by the Constitution of the United States of America. Even if they do not agree with certain government or Army policies, they must still abide by it.

Question:
How does a mentor sharing stories of his/her life experiences benefit others?

Answer:
Mentors share their life or career experiences with their mentees in order to provide them with examples of similar (or relevant) experiences they once had that might, in turn, benefit them in their current situations. Mentors set examples and serve as role models for others.

Question:
How does one's rank or a member's spouse's rank impact the Family Readiness Group?

Answer:
The opinions, experiences and attitudes expressed based on a member’s position (e.g., Commander, 1st Sergeant, Commander's Spouse, Command Sergeant Major's, 1st Sergeant's Spouse, etc.) may influence group perception and the Family Readiness Group’s ability to function successfully. There are times when military leaders in the FRG are expected to demonstrate their leadership within the FRG (e.g., in terms of providing unit information or guidance). However, rank should not play a part in the FRG. Members should express opinions and attitudes in a manner that does not limit others' participation by exerting undue influence through their position or that of their spouse.

Question:
What role does an advisor to a volunteer organization play?

Answer:
An advisor’s role is to give moral support to the organization and its leaders. Typically, individuals are asked to be an advisor because of their experience or because they are in a position to obtain information or assistance for the organization. Many times, advisors serve as mentors to the group’s leaders. They may have even held some of the leadership positions others now hold and can offer advice and guidance to them. An advisor should show an interest in the activities of the group and attend meetings whenever possible. He/she should be familiar with all the laws and/or regulations that apply to the organization. An advisor’s role is to ‘advise’ – not to lead, but to listen; to share experiences that will help the group grow; to serve as a positive role model; and most importantly, to encourage independent thinking and new ideas. Advisors should avoid showing favoritism to group members; acknowledging and encouraging the contributions and talents of all group members. They should praise successful efforts and make members feel their contributions count. Note also that advisors have a public role of respect and trust. They should use this role to advance the goals of the group – never for personal advantage.

Question:
What should an advisor to a volunteer organization expect from the organization?

Answer:
The relationship between an advisor and an organization should be mutually beneficial. In other words, someone should not take on the role of advisor to an organization because he/she feels obligated to do so. It should be something he/she wants to do. The advisor and leaders of the volunteer organization should clearly identify what is expected of the advisor in terms of support, commitment of time and involvement. The advisor’s role is to provide information, experiences, and mentoring to the organization’s leaders. Therefore, the advisor should expect the organization’s leaders to respect his/her counsel. They may not always agree with the advisor or follow his/her advise, but they should at least consider it.

Question:
Where can I get assistance with fundraising questions I have for our Family Readiness Group?

Answer:
The Army Family Readiness Group (FRG) Leader's Handbook is a good resource for fundraising questions. You can also seek assistance from the military community's Legal Assistance Office and the FRG Liaison Office in the Army Community Center.
Viewing 1-9 of 9 Knowledge Entries

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