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Diverse Volunteer Recruitment. A Webinar for the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education (SCALE) August 14 th , 2013. About the presenter. Allison Reavis, Literacy Programs Director, America Reads and Counts.

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A Webinar for the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education (SCALE)

August 14th, 2013

about the presenter
About the presenter

Allison Reavis,

Literacy Programs Director,

America Reads and Counts

you won t be able to speak to the presenter but there are several ways you can participate
You won’t be able to speak to the presenter, but there are several ways you can participate:

Raise your hand

Respond to a poll



Let us know your opinion

Or you might be asked to share your thoughts on the whiteboard

Submit a question/comment using the chat

tell us who you are
Tell us who you are

A) Student leader

B) AmeriCorps member

C) Community Partner

D) Program administrator

E) Faculty

F) If other, please enter in the chat box


Where are you joining us from?

Use the pointer star to mark a spot on the map

  • Why should we think about diversity with volunteer recruitment?
  • How can we attract diverse volunteers?
  • How can we retain volunteers?

Defining Diversity

“The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.”

Do you agree?

Yes or No



Why should your organization desire to have a variety of voices and perspectives carrying out its work?



A study conducted in five central Ohio cities indicated that the typical adult volunteer was white and both middle-aged and middle-class (Safrit, King, & Burscu, 1994).

Why do you think this is the case? Is this a problem?

Great resource:


Status Quo?

What recruitment strategies are currently being used at your site?


Barriers to Recruitment

  • “I can’t find any volunteer jobs that I can do. I can’t find any volunteer opportunities that interest me or that utilize my skills.”
  • “No one seemed to care about me or my ideas.”

Not matching volunteers’ skills with assignments

Failing to recognize volunteers’ contributions

Not measuring the value of volunteers

Failing to train and invest in volunteers and staff

Failing to provide strong leadership


Barriers to Recruitment

Avoid passive exclusion

Actively seek inclusion


Other barriers

"People in the community think that because they are not professionals, or do not have formal education they cannot volunteer.”

How can language be a barrier?



“Local area non-profit in search of volunteers for our Adult Education courses. Content includes: Adult Literacy, Basic Math Skills, Computer Literacy, English as a Second Language (ESL) & Financial Management. Terrific opportunity for college students, retirees or anyone looking to give back to the local community and help others less fortunate than themselves. If you would like to join our talented pool of volunteer tutors and educators, please feel free to respond to the email above, or give us a call...”



“Do you believe everyone deserves 3 meals a day? We do.

We are starting a grassroots initiative to ensure access to 3 hot meals a day for all North Carolinians by March 1, 2012. Currently, we are in the early stages of our work and are looking for folks interested in helping out. If this sounds like something that might energize you, we would love your participation! Drop us a line here or at”



  • Transportation
  • Child care
  • Translation

Sustaining Diversity

Is your organization as a whole committed to promoting diversity, or is it content with maintaining the status-quo?

assessing diversity
Assessing Diversity
  • Have we explored our own perceptions and beliefs regarding race and cultural diversity?
  • Do we work in coalition with groups that predominately include people of color?
  • Have we researched the demographic makeup of our community?
organizational values
Organizational Values

“We are Inclusive.We respect the rich landscape of individuals, organizations, cultures, and opinions that exist in our region. We believe that this diversity is an asset and that investment in this social capital will contribute to a more holistic and humane society.”

-- Values statement from Latino Leadership, inc.


Case Study

Tampa Bay, Florida—Empowering Fathers and Teens in Low-Income Communities

The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay chose three ini­tiatives focused on empowering fathers and teens. The Nurturing Fathers program engaged fathers in self-esteem and relationship building skill development. In addition to honing their parenting skills, the men decided that they would teach parenting skills to other neighborhood residents and start a church-based volunteer tutoring program. The Neighborhood Youth Volunteer Initiative and Youth as Resources program involved two different groups of teens in identifying community needs and implementing neigh­borhood-improvement projects. Outcomes have included an organization called STEP, Students and Teachers Emphasizing Peace, and a community outreach project called “A Multi-Cultural Celebration in Honor of Black History Month.”


Advertising for volunteers

  • Distribution of Brochures and Posters
  • Public Service Announcements
  • Talking to Community Groups
  • Concentric Circles
  • Volunteer Fairs
  • Social Media


Top 5 reasons people leave

Not matching volunteers’ skills with assignments

Failing to recognize volunteers’ contributions

Not measuring the value of volunteers

Failing to train and invest in volunteers and staff

Failing to provide strong leadership

Great resource:


Some solutions

  • Assign appropriate tasks
  • Creating bonding experiences
  • Support and train your volunteers
  • Develop strategic plans
  • Make sure the volunteer has all of the resources required to complete the task

Tips for recognition

  • Keep a log of volunteer impact, special contributions, times when the volunteer went “above and beyond.”
  • Calculate the monetary value the tutor is adding. What would the tutor be paid if s/he was doing this a job?
  • Get the clients your volunteers serve to write or draw handwritten notes or pictures thanking the volunteers for their efforts.
  • Send a "thought-you\'d-like-to-know" letter to the volunteer\'s employer, acknowledging his or her positive contribution to your organization.

Tips for recognition

  • Write an article about the project for local newspapers or agency publication
  • Take the volunteer(s) out for lunch or a coffee break
  • Wall of fame, post up a picture of the volunteer with a summary of the project
  • Write a letter to prominent public figures
  • Certificates/etc. of appreciation
  • What else can you think of?


National Literacy Action Week:

January 27-February 1, 2014



November 1-2nd 2013

Registration open soon!


SCALE membership

September 2013

  • Monthly resource newsletter:with info about upcoming events and grant opportunities, news and research updates about issues that matter, and great ideas to improve your tutoring program.
  • Customized web-based training: Need to do a start-up training but don’t feel qualified? Noticing that your volunteers need help with something really specific, we’ll create a training just for you, tailored to the needs and schedule of your volunteers! ($200 value)
  • Unlimited FREE access to SCALE webinars: View current offerings here- (Value up to $25 per training)
  • Free Registration for the Read.Write.Act Virtual Conference:for all students and AmeriCorps members and deep discounts for staff and other volunteers. (Value up to $150)
  • Discounts on Read! T-shirts:and other literacy advocacy gear
  • Mini grants:Priority for all SCALE grant competitions and other program and funding resources
  • Access to SCALE\'s extensive lending library and resources: Items can be borrowed by mail or copies of chapters can be requested by email. Including best practices for tutoring, volunteer and program management, program evaluation, and updates about opportunities and grants.