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On this page are ideas to help you work more efficiently with volunteers. There are tips on recruiting, engaging, coordinating, and managing the work of volunteers.

~November 2014 ~


Portland State University

College of Urban and Public Affairs

Hatfield School

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Earn a Professional Development Certificate

Volunteer Engagement and Leadership Program (VELP)

Online Classes Winter 2015

  • Recruiting Volunteers
  • Leadership and Management in Volunteer Programs
January 5, 2015

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         Many managers of volunteer programs have needs for “wordy” resources.  Check spelling in an online newsletter; make up a poem to recognize a volunteer, looking for just the right word—all require dictionary type resources.  Here are some of the resources available online.  Beware:  Most have ads.


Merriam Webster Dictionary and Thesaurus:

There is a free online dictionary and thesaurus, word games, a word of the day, and many other English language and vocabulary reference tools.  There is even help for the crossword addicts in the world.

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The Free Dictionary

This is a free online dictionary and thesaurus, with an encyclopedia link to Wikipedia and others. Easy to get derailed from work on this site.  The game Hangman is on the home page with other word games.  No apparent ads, either.

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http://dictionary.reference.com/ cartoon figure reading dictionary

This features a free online Dictionary, Thesaurus, Crossword Puzzle, Word Games, a Word of the Day and an Online Translator.  You must sign up and the home page offers only links to those who have signed up.

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Free online spell checker

Want to double-check your spelling in a document---always a good thing to do.  More than once! In emails, too.   Here is the site to help you get it right. 

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This is a rhyming dictionary and has link to a thesaurus too. It features a search for rhyming words, has reference tools, and a spell checker.  There are also reference tools for quotes from Shakespeare to Mother Goose. 

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Famous quotations

Watching the PBS show “Roots” I learned that most Jews in Russia—hundreds of years ago--- lived in an area called “The Pale. An area of Ireland was called the “pale.”  The English reference was defined as “anything outside the authority's jurisdiction was uncivilized.”

My family used “beyond the pale” to refer to things that were difficult or beyond belief.  So, off to this site I went to identify the real definition of the quote and derivation. (made a detour to Wikipedia, too).  You can look for a type of quote or search for source.

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  • 34% of people under 25 say they get no news during the day; this is up from 25% in 1998
  • Believability ratings for news aggregators—Google News or AOL—are lower than for major print, cable, and broadcast outlets.
  • 51% of CNN viewers are Democrats, 39% of Fox viewers are Republicans.
  • 37% of the population goes on line for news at least three days per week; compared to 31% in 2006
  • 44% of college graduates go online every day for news compared to 11% for high school graduates.

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press identifies three segments of news audiences: 


  • 23% of news consumer are in this category
  • Mostly middle-aged
  • Get news from multiple sources (traditional and Internet)
  • Engaged
  • Sophisticated
  • Demographically sought after


  • Youngest of the news audience
  • Median age of 35
  • Make up 13% of the news consumer pool
  • Better educated than Integrators
  • Leading the way in using the Web


  • This is the most common segment within news audiences
  • 46% of news consumers
  • Older population (average 52)
  • Least educated (60% have no more than high school diploma)
  • Most prevalent source of news is TV
  • Have little or no interest in tech news or science

Source: “ Notes”, publication of the National Assembly Of State Arts Agencies

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Get a tip on some aspect of volunteer administration daily on Twitter.

You do not need a twitter account. Just visit the site on the Web. Paste this address into your browser and you can pick up new ideas. Book mark the page for ease of revisiting.



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