volunteer management

The DASCorps Survival Guide: Volunteer Management


Volunteers are the backbone to most any nonprofit. VISTAs (who are also a type of volunteer) often have to set-up and develop volunteer recruitment and management programs and systems. Occasionally this is part of a VISTA workplan, but typically VISTAs create volunteer programs because they find that accomplishing their work without additional help would be nearly impossible.

Volunteer Management


This area is for any and all resources related to Volunteer Management.

DCN's Volunteer Management Handbook


The handbook I've been working on for the past few months is listed below (and it's also found on the Volunteer Management Wiki.


6 Volunteer Management Presentations


These are some of the resources I present to donors and to agencies. They are rough and they require extra explanation in many places. But, since I haven't trademarked them, unfortunately, I am sharing them with you. Feel free to email me with any questions...I also have a list of websites and reading that supplement this. I'll get it on the wiki sometime soon hopfully.

Big Job


I've been here two full weeks now and my boss has been gone for a week and 1/2 of that. Plus, she's going on vacay next week, so I'm kinda winging it. The good news about that is that I'm getting the opportunity to settle into the job and people watch while getting comfortable. The bad news is that my boss and a few others are the only ones that know I'm a VISTA.

Comment from Ben Sheldon on July 6, 2007 - 4:34pm

I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble being recognized around the office. I'd recommend wearing the VISTA shirt, but honestly, I never wore it either (eww, polyester). Maybe we should have sashes :-) Of course, the best way to be recognized is for doing a great job, and it sounds like you're doing it.

We'd really appreciate any help you can provide on the wiki. Also, we're trying to expand our library at CTC VISTA HQ, so please let us know if there are any books on volunteer management you can recommend.

Thanks for the update and keep up the good work!

Comment from Kevin Palmer on July 8, 2007 - 12:30am

Just keep showing up. Everyday. Work hard. Just like you are. People will get the idea. I've definitely been in the situation where someone introduced me as a VISTA and I was ignored/mitigated. Only after showing up and working hard day after day did people start to understand who I was as a VISTA. Also if you want to shoot me whatever you're getting on the volunteer management front I'll post it to the Wiki for you. Nice deal on getting Sysco and IBM on board as a volunteer base, too!

Comment from Morgan Sully on July 10, 2007 - 2:22pm

Hey Kelli,
Bummer about the 'huh? you're not needed' attitude you're encountering. People sometimes miss just what a VISTA is - we're not exactly employees, nor are we volunteers - we're VISTAs. When I say 'domestic PeaceCorps' people seem to get it. VISTAs do invaluable work around the country in many different regions and you're now writing a part of that 40 year old legacy with the work you do.

keep it up sister,

"All that is possible is seeking expression though human beings."

Comment from Kelli Williams on July 10, 2007 - 4:06pm

Thanks for you positive comments Morgan,I really appreciate it. I probably should have said more good things about the people I'm working with. The ones I'm actually WORKING with, and Ms. You're Superfluous isn't one of them, are really very positive and happy to have me. There are three people in the office that have actually been VISTAS before, 2 are my bosses. Surprisingly, the 3rd was an Americorps direct service for EIGHT years and she still snubs me. Go figure. So anyway, for the most part-my coworkers have been great. But I really appreciate your insight, thanks a lot!- Kelli

Comment from Kelli Williams on July 10, 2007 - 4:09pm

Hi Kevin, thanks for the support. I should have a free morning this Friday so I'm going to try and get my info organized to send it to you. If you'd post it that would be great and I'll certainly take you up on that offer! Thanks again!-Kelli

Comment from danielle martin on July 11, 2007 - 5:06pm

On the "explaining you're a VISTA" front, I have to admit, I pick my battles. If I'm trying to get something simple, I may just go with "I'm an intern" but if I'm meeting community partners who count, I go into the spiel. But what's really helped me is having a great supervisor (Thaddeus) who really gets what VISTAs do and having HIM explain it to people. Maybe get a few people on board to take the giving the spiel off your shoulders alone.

ALSO - tell me more about this "psuedo-digital storytelling medium"? Digital storytelling is sorta my gig this year...you should check out http://storiesforchange.net and tell me what you think.


3 External Resources for Volunteer Management


Listed below are a variety of external links related to Volunteer Management:

Management Help's Extensive Volunteer Management Resource

Volunteer Today's Volunteer Resource Clearinghouse

A Few Good Case Management Tools


The attached pamphlet by www.idealware.org provides a brief overview of case management system to keep track of volunteers and/or clients.

Volunteer Management SWOT analysis


The first (and possibly only) meeting of the Volunteer Management working group that was held at the June 2007 DASCorps Pre-Service Orientation went through a basic SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis using collective experience for organizing and implementing a Volunteer Program. The following is the SWOT list generated from that meeting.

Felicia Sullivan's "The Three C's of NPTech: Contacts, Communication, Cash"


Felicia Sullivan at PSOFelicia Sullivan presented at last week's Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) about "The Three C's of NPTech: Contacts, Communication, Cash." The full powerpoint presentation (with loads of helpful links) is available at http://organizerscollaborative.org/presentations. Felicia is the new Executive Director of the Organizer's Collaborative, as well as an ongoing advocate for community media and technology projects in Boston and in Lowell, MA. The CTC VISTA Project is partnering with the OC to hold then next PSO in Lowell in June during the Grassroots Radio / Grassroots Tech June 21-24 in Lowell (http://www.grassrootsradioxii.org and http://www.organizerscollaborative.org/conference). Stay tuned for more info!

Turning Blind Nonreaders into Readers


by Denise Meise


West Tennessee STAR Center
West Tennessee STAR Center

The West Tennessee Special Technology Access Resource Center, better known as the STAR Center, is a non-profit organization in Jackson, Tennessee that specializes in assistive technology. In 1988, Chuck and Margaret Doumitt discovered that their two youngest children were losing their eyesight, and doctors eventually determined that they had a rare condition called Batten’s disease. This disease would cause blindness, seizures, loss of motor skills, and ultimately death. Chuck and Margaret began to dream that George and Angela would someday have access to assistive technology. Instead of moving to a larger city that already had an assistive technology center, the Doumitts decided to start one on their own.