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Volunteer Management -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
How much training do I need to provide to volunteers who help out in my organizations?

Answer:
Volunteers should be given whatever training is necessary to allow them to do their volunteer work. In some cases, you may have volunteers receiving the same type of training that your paid employees receive - whether it can be formal training or informal. It is also important to provide follow-up training to volunteers, either to enhance the skills they are using for their current position or perhaps professional development training to allow them to move on to other positions in your organization. Providing adequate training to your volunteers, as well as your paid workforce, is important to your organization's success and important to the morale of the people in it.

Question:
How should a volunteer's performance be evaluated?

Answer:
Volunteers should be treated with the same respect and professionalism given to paid employees. This includes evaluating their performance as you would a paid employee’s. It is important for volunteers to have goals and reasonable standards to uphold while striving to achieve these goals. It is also important for them to receive feedback along the way so they know how their efforts measure up to these standards. Use periodic evaluations to convey appreciation to your volunteers, provide direction, and discuss their continued interest in the organization and the position they are currently filling. An evaluation may also be the time to take corrective action, if necessary. This may be in the form of additional training, reassignment, suspension or dismissal from the volunteer program. Your volunteer force should provide a mutually beneficial experience to your organization and the individuals volunteering. If this is not the case and remedial steps to amend the relationship are not successful, it is acceptable – and often necessary – to terminate the arrangement. Learn more about volunteer management through the resources provided.

Question:
How should I deal with unsatisfactory performance from volunteers?

Answer:
If immediate corrective action is required, do not avoid confronting your volunteer. Be specific and explain your disappointment with the individual’s performance. Be positive about the volunteer’s efforts and strong points, but address the issue. Perhaps the volunteer is not suited to the position. Consider redirecting the volunteer to facilitate a more effective volunteer/job fit or perhaps additional training or guidance is needed. Your volunteers should be evaluated on a regular basis – just like paid employees. The periodic evaluation process provides a good time to discuss changes in responsibilities and/or development opportunities.

Question:
Must Army volunteers follow the same rules and regulations that paid personnel in the organization follow?

Answer:
Army volunteers are considered employees of the US Government and subject to the same ethical standards in performance as paid employees. For example, they are expected to adhere to the Privacy Act regarding confidentiality of personal information and records. If volunteers have agreed to work certain days or hours for an agency, they are expected to fulfill those obligations or contact a pre-determined member of the organization if unable to do so. Furthermore, just as employees are protected from certain liability abuses in an organization, the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 extends this protection to volunteers serving nonprofit organizations and governmental entities.

Question:
What are some conflict management strategies?

Answer:
Most resources identify five basic conflict management strategies:·Competing – using assertive (or forceful) behavior to impose one’s own concerns or opinions on others without regard to others; ·Avoiding – not dealing with the conflict that exists nor taking any action to resolve it; ·Collaborating – working with the conflicting parties to arrive at a resolution that is satisfactory to all parties concerned; ·Accommodating – neglecting one’s own concerns to satisfy the concerns of others; and ·Compromising – working out an agreement that is partially satisfying to all conflicting parties. Most people tend to have a preferred conflict management style, but it is important to recognize other methods and use alternative strategies accordingly. For example, while a leader may tend to be more collaborating in his/her conflict management style, a conflict may arise that requires a quick resolution. In this instance, he/she may need to use a more forceful (competing) style of conflict management to take care of the issue. Learn more about conflict management from the resources listed.

Question:
What are some ideas to help recruit volunteers for our organization?

Answer:
First and foremost, it is important to know how many volunteers you need to recruit and what skills you are looking for. Make sure you have clearly defined job descriptions so individuals know right away what it is you are expecting them to do. Make these positions interesting and be flexibility, if you can, to accommodate individual needs. Look for creative and effective ways to promote your volunteer positions. Post announcements in the local community newspaper, on bulletin boards and other public locations. Distribute flyers in high-populated areas such as the Post Exchange, Commissary, schools, church, etc. (Note that you may need to get permission to do this from the store manager, principal, or other member of the change of command.) Contact community groups such as unit coffee groups, church groups, or schools to enlist their help in promoting your volunteer organization. You may want to speak at local community groups about your organization. Bring flyers with additional information to hand out and be prepared to answer questions about your organization and their needs. People volunteer for many different reasons. If you find people who are interested in volunteering, try to find out what they are looking for in the position. Match the skills, interests and personalities of the people you place so they will feel fulfilled and motivated to be a part of your team. Learn more about recruiting and managing volunteers from the resources listed.

Question:
What are some of the different positions one might find in a Family Readiness Group (FRG)?

Answer:
There are a number of different volunteer positions you may find in a Family Readiness Group (FRG), but each FRG is unique. Each unit should design their FRG to meet their own needs and the interests of its members. The following is a list of positions suggested in the Army Family Readiness Group Leader’s Handbook. Detailed descriptions of these positions are included in the FRG Leader's Handbook: ·Battalion FRG Advisor—is a member of the FRG steering committee (may chair it); provides overall guidance and support for unit-level FRGs. ·Unit FRG Leader—provides overall leadership of the FRG; interacts with the unit commander and battalion FRG steering committee. ·FRG Secretary—maintains accurate minutes of meetings and distributes information and correspondence to the FRG leader and newsletter editor. ·FRG Treasurer—along with an alternate, serves as custodian for the FRG informal fund. ·Phonetree Committee Chairperson—organizes the unit phonetree; identifies and supervises phonetree points of contact. ·Phonetree Point of Contact (POC)—maintains regular contact with assigned families; passes along official information, and provides information to families. ·Battalion (or Unit) FRG Newsletter Editor—coordinates newsletter preparation, publishing, and distribution. ·Special Events Committee Chairperson—plans, organizes, and executes FRG activities and special events. ·Hospitality/Welcome Committee Chairperson—contacts and welcomes all new soldiers and families to the unit; helps them find needed resources. ·Publicity Committee Chairperson—informs all soldiers and family members in the FRG of all activities (ongoing and upcoming). ·Fundraiser Committee Chairperson—manages all FRG fundraising activities, including coordination, permission, and recruiting. ·Childcare Committee Chairperson—ensures acceptable childcare for FRG meetings and special events.

Question:
What are some reasons why volunteers leave an organization?

Answer:
There are a number of reasons why volunteers leave an organization. Some leave because they move away from the community. Sometimes individuals volunteer when they first move to a new community, but leave the organization when they find paid employment. Others leave because they are dissatisfied with their volunteer experience. They may not enjoy the work they are doing, or perhaps they are overwhelmed by their responsibilities and suffer from “volunteer burnout.” Others may feel their efforts are not appreciated. The key to retaining volunteers is to ensure that their motivational needs are being met by their volunteer experience. For more on this subject, refer to the resources provided.

Question:
What are some techniques that a leader can use to retain volunteers?

Answer:
The key to retaining volunteers is to ensure that their motivational needs are being met by their volunteer experience. In addition to practicing good volunteer management techniques (e.g., professional treatment; detailed volunteer position descriptions; training; evaluations, etc.), a leader should show his/her appreciation to volunteers. This could be as simple as a sincere verbal or written “thank you,” or as formal as a volunteer recognition ceremony. Other ways to enhance the volunteer’s experience is to provide opportunities for professional development such as training or perhaps a new position with more responsibilities. Get to know your volunteers and learn why they are giving their time and effort to the organization. Use this knowledge, where possible, to try and meet their expectations and motivational needs.

Question:
What are some things I can do, as the leader of a volunteer organization, to find out why volunteers choose to leave?

Answer:
Develop a climate that encourages feedback between the volunteer and the organization. Hopefully, with the right atmosphere, you can resolve any issues with your volunteers before they escalate to a point where they wish to leave the organization. However, when volunteers do leave, solicit information from them about their reason for leaving (e.g. conduct an exit interview, surveys, questionnaires, etc).
Viewing 11-20 of 39 Knowledge Entries
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