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Working with Diverse Volunteers – Deriving Advantage from Difference. Regional Extension Conferences February 2004. Definition of Terms for a Common Understanding. Diversity

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Working with diverse volunteers deriving advantage from difference l.jpg

Working with Diverse Volunteers – Deriving Advantage from Difference

Regional Extension Conferences February 2004


Definition of terms for a common understanding l.jpg
Definition of Terms for a Common Understanding Difference

  • Diversity

    Differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, spiritual practice and other human differences. Diversity=Variety.

  • Affirmative Action

    Systematic way to insure non-discrimination. Actions taken to provide equal opportunity.


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Legally Driven Difference

Government Initiated

Prevention Focused

Assumes Assimilation

Reactive/Proactive

Effectiveness Driven

Extension/Self Initiated

Opportunity Focused

Assumes Pluralism

Proactive

AA/EEO vs. Emphasis of Diversity


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Definition of Terms for a Common Understanding Difference

  • Pluralism

    An organizational culture that incorporates mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork, and productivity among people who are diverse.

  • Assimilation

    Adapting cultural patterns to those of the majority group.


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Definition of Terms for a Common Understanding (cont.) Difference

  • Culture

    A set of traditions and values that shape the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of a group of people.

  • Ethnocentricity

    An attitude that one’s own culture or ethnic group is superior.


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Definition of Terms for a Common Understanding (cont.) Difference

  • Ethnicity

    The designation of a population or subgroup having common cultural heritage as distinguished by customs, characteristics, language, and common history.

  • Race

    A socially defined population that is derived from distinguishable physical characteristics that are genetically transmitted.


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Definition of Terms for a Common Understanding (cont.) Difference

  • Underserved or Underrepresented Group

    An audience or group of people that are not being reached by Extension programs.


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Three things all organizations essentially perform Difference

They all:

  • Develop products and/or services

  • Market these products and/or services

  • Deal with issues of customer/client satisfaction


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Why is EVERYBODY on this bandwagon — even business? Difference

  • “Lifelines” – “Who Wants to be A Millionaire?”

  • “Advantage” – something to be gained

  • “Value Added” – getting the most you can from your efforts


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The critical questions to ask in the context of “diversity” are:

  • How does difference, or absence of difference, affect how we design products or services, market them, and deal with customer/client satisfaction?

  • Do all cultures, for example, provide volunteer services the same way?

  • Do you market to all cultures the same way?

  • How do you please a customer/client if you don’t know what he or she values?


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Recruiting Diverse Volunteers “diversity” are:

  • In the current political and economic climate of accountability for everything Extension does, we are asked to reach the audiences we have not reached in the past.

  • There is advantage to be gained from difference.


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Know Your Audience “diversity” are:

  • If you want to target a certain segment of the population or a certain culture – spend some time understanding that group.

  • Hispanic – Family is the hallmark of comfort and commitment.

  • African American – Community is a high prized value.

  • Study what that culture values, their family structure, and their priorities.


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Build Relationships “diversity” are:

  • Recruiting volunteers in an underserved area is not instant.

  • Once you have learned about the culture, learn about the community and the individuals within the community.

  • Meet the “elders” or leaders of the community.

  • Go to community events.


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Involve Others “diversity” are:

  • Carefully choose other individuals who are already elated with and are accepted by the community members and whose personal and professional goals support the Extension mission.


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Always Be Respectful “diversity” are:

  • Different groups and different cultures just do things differently and have different priorities.

  • Be sensitive to those differences and priorities.


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Be Patient “diversity” are:

  • Recruiting groups who are not currently a part of the Extension family will not happen overnight. Building the relationships and learning the community are very important steps before ever asking for the first volunteer.


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Strategies for Recruitment “diversity” are:

  • Personally extend invitations through visits and phone calls.

  • Supplement personal invitations and in another language, if necessary.

  • Utilize radio, newspaper, and community bulletin boards.


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Strategies for Recruitment “diversity” are:(cont.)

  • Offer food, door prizes, and possible music as part of the meeting.

  • Take into consideration daily schedules of potential volunteers when setting meeting times.

  • Accommodate language preferences.

  • Explain how Extension will benefit their families.

  • Specifically describe how volunteering will benefit their families and their communities.


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Strategies for Recruitment “diversity” are:(cont.)

  • Emphasize your long term commitment to the community.

  • Initially recruit for short term assignment.

  • Don’t get discouraged by limited response – keep trying.


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Possible Barriers to Recruiting Hispanic Volunteers “diversity” are:

  • Language

  • Transportation

  • Limited Skills

  • Lack of knowledge about becoming a volunteer

  • Low literacy levels

  • Not understanding the system and becoming intimidated


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Possible Barriers to Recruiting Hispanic Volunteers “diversity” are:(cont.)

  • Cultural differences

  • Feeling intimidated beyond their linked parameters

  • Expenses incurred in being a volunteer

  • Timing versus availability


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Possible Barriers to Recruiting “diversity” are:African American Volunteers

  • May volunteer but not under the title “volunteer.”

  • May volunteer where they know people and are known.

  • Many organizations have a culture foreign to experiences of potential volunteers.

  • Goals of the organization and community presence must be known and identified.


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Ways to Support Diverse Volunteers “diversity” are:

  • Review organizational structure, policies, and practices to identify any that may inhibit the participation of minority volunteers.

  • Be sure meeting and work spaces visually reflect a diversity of cultures.

  • Greet volunteers individually when they arrive and thank them when they leave.


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Ways to Support Diverse Volunteers (cont.) “diversity” are:

  • When possible, have food available – a cup of tea or coffee will do – to demonstrate hospitality.

  • Assist with child care and transportation.

  • Avoid out-of-pocket expenses.

  • Simplify paperwork and give clear expectations.

  • Treat volunteers as coworkers, valuable members of the team.

  • Provide suitable working conditions and a choice of assignments.


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Ways to Support Diverse Volunteers (cont.) “diversity” are:

  • Provide quality training and support.

  • Empower volunteers – involve them in planning as well as delivering services.

  • Do not overwork volunteers – balance work with informal opportunities to socialize.

  • Recognize volunteers appropriately.


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Ways to Recognize “diversity” are:

  • Invite volunteers and their families to a small celebration within their community and present certificates of appreciation.

  • If volunteers have worked with youth, have youth present the awards.

  • Sponsor a weekend camping trip or other leisure activity for volunteers and their families.


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Ways to Recognize “diversity” are:(cont.)

  • Provide on-going recognition to individuals – many thank-you’s and praise.

  • Provide an opportunity for additional training.

  • Advance the volunteer to a position with greater responsibility.


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Summary “diversity” are:

Ask yourself:

  • Is recruiting minorities going to be priority?

  • Am I willing to learn about another culture and different belief system?

  • Why will minorities want to participate in the Extension program?

  • If you have affirmative answers, then…


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Summary “diversity” are:(cont.)

  • Create an asset map of the community – their leaders, churches, and associations.

  • Do two on two’s – go to their home turf and dress appropriately.

  • Start a community advisory committee – organize a meeting around this group.

  • Have food, an agenda, discuss the assets and where Extension is weak, and how the assets help strengthen Extension.

  • Make sure the meeting does not last more than 1 ½ hours, select a date for the next meeting, and let the group select the chair.

  • Do a recap with the attendees during the next few weeks, meet with the convener, and plan the next meeting.


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Summary “diversity” are:(cont.)

  • Learn the culture and build

    TRUST BRIDGES.

  • Reach out to the population.

  • If you are afraid, admit it and take someone along, but do not overwhelm.


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References “diversity” are:

  • Odyssey Conference In-service Training November 2001

    Diana L. Smith, Extension Agent for 4-H

    1303 17th St., Palmetto, FL 34211

    [email protected]

    Robert Drakeford, Ed.D

    Extension Specialist

    2006 Duncan Hall, Auburn University

    Auburn, AL 36849-5620

    Harvey Gordon, M.S. 4-H Specialty MSU

    Box 9641, Starkville, MS

    [email protected]

  • Pathway to Diversity, Strategic Plan for the Cooperative Extension System’s Emphasis on Diversity


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Working with Diverse Volunteers – Deriving Advantage from Difference

Agent surveys conducted by, Ralph C. Prince, Martha W. Thompson, and Dr. Lionel Williamson

Presentation designed for February 2004 Extension Regional Conferences


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