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VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism

V.T. readers ask questions about volunteer management and administration. Ask Connie, an experienced volunteer manager, consultant and trainer, provides the answers for all to see.
Send questions to AskConnieP@cs.com

~July 2003~ Topics

Dear Connie:
Thank you some much for answering all my questions. You are a lifesaver! I am trying to develop a “Volunteer Recognition Policy.” I would really appreciate it if you have any resources or samples, and tell me what needs to be included in the policy or any formats.
Your greatest fan,
Dib in Toronto

Dear Dib:
I'm not sure if you're creating a recognition POLICY, which implies rules about who will be recognized and when, or a recognition PLAN, which implies a strategy to recognize volunteers in a variety of ways and under a variety of circumstances.

Most often a POLICY relates to volunteer service hours and/or years of service. This means that you award volunteers some special form of recognition (a pin, a plaque, a special event, etc.) after they have achieved XX hours or years of service.

A PLAN would be a yearlong outline of recognition activities (birthday cards, newsletter features, personal notes, letter from Executive Director, etc.) and events (recognition luncheon, party, behind-the-scenes tour, etc.) that you undertake to ensure that volunteers are recognized in a consistent manner. A plan would also involve your creating a budget to support it.

There are many excellent books on recognition available at Volunteer Today Bookstore and Energize, Inc. Browse through both bookstores and take your pick – from "Recognizing Volunteers and Paid Staff: The Art, The Science, and a Gazillion Ideas!" to "77 Ways to Recognize Volunteers" (Energize site).

Go right to the Volunteer Today Bookstore: Recognizing Volunteers Book Image

Dear Connie:
I am running for President of a non-profit organization that I have served for the past 12 years. I am very familiar with the organization history and mission and have served in other elected positions before. However, this is going to be the first time in the history of the organization that the President position will be challenged. I am preparing for a forum in September. What type of questions can I expect from the membership? I have never participated in an open forum before.
I certainly would appreciate hearing from you,

Dear Virginia:

Without knowing any specifics about your organization, here are the questions I would ask you as a member:

  1. What is your vision for the organization for the next 3-5 years?Interview Image
  2. What services/benefits do you consider most valuable for members and/or the community?
  3. Why do you believe that you are the best candidate for President?
  4. What are your thoughts on the best governance practices for the board of directors?
  5. How will you strengthen our financial resources (fundraising)?
  6. How will you strengthen our utilization of volunteer resources?

If there are specific challenges your organization is facing, naturally you can expect questions about those as well.

Dear Connie:
I am the Volunteer Coordinator at a Hospice in Colorado. We are a small community. We have roughly 22 patients at this time. I am looking for new ways to implement some fundraising events throughout the community. One event I have planned is a motorcycle poker run. Do you have any suggestions as to what other events, something new and exciting, that I might be able to do? I started this position in December 02, so I am fairly new at what I am doing. Any ideas as to how to organize a Poker Run or any other fundraising events?
I would appreciate any help or suggestions you can give,

Dear Debbie:

Betty Stallings has an excellent book out now on fundraising – “How to Produce Fabulous Fundraising Events.” It’s a step-by-step guide to making money effectively and enjoyably by running a Dynamite Dinner and how to involve volunteers throughout. It also contains a computer disk of forms, checklists, and timelines. ($30) It's available in the bookstore at Energize, Inc.

The American Symphony Orchestra League publishes one of my favorite directories of fundraising events. Called "The Gold Book," it provides descriptions of more 100 fundraising events, committee structures, financial results, and contact information. ($37.50) It's available on the League website. Just click on "Volunteers" in the left-hand column, then on "Gold Book," and then on "Buy 2003 Gold Book."

Thanks for your questions!


Do you have a question? Now you too can ask an expert!

Connie Pirtle, of Strategic NonProfit-Resources, has 15 years' experience in working with volunteers. She has consulted and/or trained for such organizations as the Washington National Cathedral, Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music America, and the Association for Volunteer Administration.

Send your questions to Connie at AskConnieP@cs.com.
Connie Pirtle
Strategic Nonprofit Resources
10103 Edward Avenue * Bethesda, MD 20814 * VOICE: 301-530-8233 * FAX: 301-530-8299

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Recognizing Volunteers Book Image