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Volunteer Generation. It Can’t Be Ignored. Because. It can’t be ignored because the Corporation has targeted it as critical issue for all AmeriCorps programs. Volunteer programming can result in program long-term sustainability.

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volunteer generation

Volunteer Generation

It Can’t Be Ignored

Because . . .
  • It can’t be ignored because the Corporation has targeted it as critical issue for all AmeriCorps programs.
  • Volunteer programming can result in program long-term sustainability.
  • The use of volunteers (when done correctly) offers built-in support to existing programming.
  • Volunteer programming is technology that builds the capacity to make your program do what it already does faster and better.
basic facts about the industry of volunteerism
Basic Facts about the Industry of Volunteerism
  • Volunteers provide much needed resources to nonprofits.
  • Volunteer services add richness to an agency’s culture and helps agencies adjust to budget cutbacks even though the demand for services increase.
  • 44% of the adult population volunteered with a formal organization in 2000, according to a study done in 2001, by (Giving and Volunteer in the U.S.).
  • 15.5 billion hours of service were provided, which represents a value of $239.2 billion.

1. Volunteer positions and/or job descriptions

-each program department discuss and determine its needs. How a volunteer could enhance its capacity.

-use staff meetings to introduce to all staff and get their feedback.

-program director set a date to review drafts of descriptions from department heads (education, construction, life skills/case management/leadership).

-distribute and discuss final products) with all staff.

2 recruitment plan
2. Recruitment Plan

-determine if you will have a formal recruitment period, encourage walk-ins and how often to recruit.

-recruit based on defined goals that were agreed upon by staff body.

-have clearly allocated space to use.

-make sure volunteer application is updated, if needed. Who will interview? Have standardized interview questions for everyone to use.

-places to advertise: your facility, psa’s on public tv/radio, newspaper, internet (Craigs List). AmeriCorps website, colleges/universities, give to members to distribute in their communities, have board of directors distribute, if agency has multiple programs send/give them flyers, ask community nonprofits if you can post flyers.

3 insure positive staff perception
3. Insure positive staff perception

-there has to be buy-in from everyone. keep staff in the loop of volunteer program develop. Make sure they are aware of the process and provide participation opportunities, where applicable.

-it is important to emphasize to all what the benefits of volunteer service are to their line of work (how a volunteer can decrease their work load).

-understand how the services of a full-time AmeriCorps member, ongoing volunteers, or project-based volunteers will contribute to the efficiency of the program (talk about the implications during the staff meeting preceding the activity).

4 selection and job matching
4. Selection and job matching

-keep in mind the 7 main reasons people volunteer: to give back to a cause that helped them in the past, to say thank you, to meet new people, to support a specific cause, to gain experience, to lower stress, and because they have the time and want to!

-use the above reasons and feedback from the volunteer interview to match the volunteer to the appropriate position. Match carefully because this can make or break the volunteer experience. Don’t scrimp on the time needed for this phase of programming. If possible, designate a committee for review of application selection and matching.

-have the volunteer read and sign off on the job description. Take the time to discuss expected duties and give the volunteer the opportunity to give feedback on the fit between their goals and the outlined goals of the description.

5 orientation and training
5. Orientation and training

-who should do the orientations, will each department be responsible for conducting its own?

-is there a defined space for doing orientations.

-set a respectful tone by being on time for sessions.

-introduce them to all program staff, members, and other volunteers.

-have defined plan for ongoing training needs.

-have volunteer orientation packets.

-provide them with a program volunteer handbook.

-give them a program t-shirt or other program item to encourage program identification and a sense of team/welcome/appreciation.

6 volunteer evaluation
6. Volunteer evaluation

-be sure to have introduced the evaluation process during orientation.

-honor the time established for the evaluation. Free yourself of distractions or other obligations.

-evaluations can be designed to measure the volunteer perception of his/her experience and/or be combined with an evaluation of performance.

-have you provided an experience that matches the job description and agreed upon goals?

-was supervision an integral part of the experience?

-do you have a tool to measure service recipient satisfaction?

6 reward and recognition
6. Reward and recognition

-It should not be a nebulous or haphazard practice.

-implement it with the plan to consistently follow through.

-identify what the forms of recognition are and make sure everyone is aware.

-suggestions include certificates of award, verbal acknowledgement, program tee-shirts, gift certificates, construct a wall of fame for volunteers (pictures). Use morning meeting , monthly appreciations and/or staff meetings as a venue.

oversite of the volunteer program
  • can be assigned to a well trained full-time AmeriCorps member or a designated staff.
  • the full-time AmeriCorps volunteer can manage the major responsibility of recruiting and training non-AmeriCorps volunteers. This member could also be responsible for identifying and arranging community service projects.
  • this member needs to have good leadership skills, be appropriately socialized and has good organizational skills.
  • 100% of the full-time members time is allotted to service.
  • success is based on qualifications of the volunteer and appropriate supervision.
  • Good supervision is critical to the members perception of the experience and success of the volunteer program. With all that goes on at a program, it is difficult be consistent with supervision.
  • Use the AmeriCorps on-line site to recruit, participate in college/job fairs, and alumni.
partnering suggestions for generating volunteers
Partnering Suggestions for Generating Volunteers
  • banks
  • telephone companies
  • universities/colleges
  • recreation/park departments
  • community nonprofit organizations/partners
  • law firms
  • food pantries
  • community centers
  • Cable tv stations
  • homeless shelters/soup kitchens
suggested documents for a volunteer file
  • Application
  • Job/position description
  • Time sheets
  • Evaluation
  • Volunteer policy
  • Request for criminal/motor vehicle background check
  • Volunteer Management-Series, pg. 8, 1990. Steve McCurley. Book
  • Recasting Retirement. Booklet
  • Websites


used to identify other nonprofits


online volunteer matching services; particularly youth


resources for managers of volunteers. Best practices, nuts- and-bolts of implementing a volunteer program




above three sources are for criminal and motor vehicle background checks