VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

~ March 2001 ~
  • IAVE Conference Concludes with Universal Declaration
  • Criminal Records Background Checks: An Update
  • Coping with the Difficult

IAVE Conference Concludes with Universal Declaration

The Netherlands hosted the International Association for Volunteer Effort conference in mid-January in Amsterdam. By all reports the conference was a booming success. On January 16, 2001 the board of Directors of IAVE urged the UN to declare this the decade of Volunteers and Civil Society and to recognize the red V as the symbol of volunteering. They also adopted a Universal Declaration of Volunteering, which VT has obtained and you can read at its own page, Universal Declaration of Volunteering.

Criminal Records Background Checks: An Update

The US Congress is considering legislation that would impact the access of nonprofit and volunteer programs to criminal history records. One bill provides temporary authorization for the FBI to do name-based background checks of volunteers who work with children, elderly or other fragile populations. Another piece of legislation would create a National Center for Volunteer Screening. Another proposal would make the inadvertent disclosure of criminal history record information by employees or staff subject to criminal prosecution in federal court. If you are seeking more information on these contact the Nonprofit Risk Center, John Patterson at 202-785-3891 or john@nonprofitrisk.org.

Cybervpm, the online discussion site for volunteerism, was host to an engaging conversation around criminal records background checks, a few weeks ago. One Colorado organization reportedly had checks done through a sheriff's office using the National and Colorado Crime Information computers. During an FBI audit of the sheriff's office, the staff was found to be out of compliance with rules and regulations as set forth by the FBI in the use of criminal history and warrants files for other law enforcement agencies. The person reporting this, on CYBERVPM, said that checks could be done through state bureau of investigation and the FBI, but they came with fees attached.

This information on criminal records background checks might prompt you to determine how your organization is doing this and how changes might impact your program and its budget.

Coping with the Difficult

Not all-difficult people are created the same. Here are some difficult types and tips to deal with them.

 Difficult Types How to Cope 

  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Find areas about which they are passionate
  • Be comfortable with silence while they prepare an answer
  • Be friendly

  • Do not over react
  • Avoid reacting to criticism with defensiveness
  • Do not acknowledge sarcasm. It has no power when it gets no response.
  • Focus on issues

  • Know your facts.
  • Agree when you can.
  • Give them ample opportunity to shine and avoid competing
  • Ask them for their opinion
  • Only disagree when you know you are right. 

  • Avoid arguments
  • Hear them out without responding or defending
  • Be very formal
  • Be concise and clear with reactions


Washington State University offers a Volunteer Management Certification Program through the Internet. Individuals around the world can earn a certificate in managing or coordinating volunteers, without leaving home.

For more information, visit Volunteer Today's Portal site, Internet Resources. Look for the Washington State University listing. There is a hot link to their Web site.


The National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government (NAVPLG) is an association of administrators, coordinators and directors of volunteer programs in local government. Its purpose is to strengthen volunteer programs in local government through leadership, advocacy, networking and information exchange. NAAVPLG is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties and is seeking affiliate status with the National League of Cities.

Cost is $20 for individuals and $75 for group local government membership. An affiliate membership is $25 and is intended for those who are not local government members but may have an interest in the group. There is a quarterly newsletter, national network, and access to NACo's Volunteerism Project.

For more information contact Glenis Chapin, who is a member of the Executive Committee. She can be reached by phone at 503-588-7990. Be sure to mention you read about this in Volunteer Today.

Copyright 2001 by Nancy Macduff.

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