Archive for August, 2011

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5 Tips for Writing an Awesome Volunteer Position Description

August 23, 2011

Highlight the benefits.

Volunteering has a lot of benefits. Of course there’s the great feeling you get while you’re volunteering, but there are a lot of other benefits people get from volunteering.

Volunteering can give you an opportunity to build a network, learn new skills, it can help give your resume a boost. You can meet new people and make a difference in someone’s life.

Try highlighting these things in your volunteer position description. Take a few minutes to think about what else your organization offers volunteers.

Make the position description fun.

How many volunteer position descriptions have you seen that have the word “volunteer” in them? While “Office Volunteer” might give someone a fairly good idea about what they’ll be doing, think about being a bit more creative with the title.

Don’t stop at the title, though. Do you need a crew of construction volunteers that have four arms so they can get all of the work done in half the time? Why not ask for it? What about someone to help socialize dogs that can be stretched in two different directions when one dog gets really interested in a rock, and another gets interested in a squirrel.

Don’t forget to revise them!

Your volunteer needs may change over time, and you want to make sure that your position descriptions reflect those changing needs. You don’t want your position descriptions to attract the perfect volunteer only to have them find out that they won’t be doing the kind of work they thought they’d be doing.

At least once a quarter take some time to look at your volunteer position descriptions to check that they’re still asking for the things that you need.

Take just a little bit of time to be serious.

Sure, one of the tips was to have fun with the position descriptions, but it’s important to take a moment to be serious, too. Make sure to include a list of the types of skills you want a volunteer to have, or that you can teach a volunteer, so they can be great volunteers for your organization. Don’t forget to include specific information about how to contact your organization (like a contact person’s name) so they can volunteer.

Include a call to action!

Volunteering is a pretty big action, but if a prospective volunteer is looking to give their time, why not ask them to engage in another way? Do you have a Facebook page? How about a Twitter account? Do you have microvolunteer projects available? What about a donation page? Include a link to these at the end of the listing for the volunteer opportunity.

The HandsOn Nevada staff is always here to help you craft your volunteer descriptions. Please let us know how we can help you.

For more information visit http://handsonblog.org/.

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Five Tips for Making Your Volunteer Program Part of Your Brand

August 23, 2011

 

Dan Pallotta writes about nonprofit issues for the Harvard Business Review. He recently wrote about the difference between a logo and a brand. A logo is something that is easily recognizable while a brand is something that permeates everything that your organization does. Your brand is even part of your volunteer program.

Your call to action in your volunteer program. It may seem obvious to have a call to action built into your volunteer program, but how does what you’re asking volunteers to do relate to your organization’s overall call to action? An animal welfare organization may have multiple volunteer positions, but if it can’t articulate how each of the positions relates to its mission, some of the positions may be harder to fill than others. Being able to demonstrate how each volunteer position supports the organization’s goal makes them more attractive to volunteers who support your organization’s mission.

Customer service in your volunteer program. You might not think of customer service when it comes to volunteer recruitment and retention, but it’s an important part of any volunteer program. From having an easy way to move from being interested in volunteering to being a volunteer, to knowing when to show up to volunteer, to simply being available to ask questions about volunteering, good customer service helps to support your volunteer program. Volunteers who have a a positive experience volunteering will tell their friends about their experience and be an advocate for your cause. Volunteers who have a negative experience volunteering will tell their friends, too.

How you talk about your volunteer program. How you talk about your volunteer program reflects on your organization. If your volunteer program is mentioned as an afterthought, then it affects how people outside of your program look at the program. It also affects how your volunteers look at the program. Highlight the work of volunteers whenever you can to show what an important part of the organization they are.

Your people in your volunteer program. The volunteers that serve with your organization are as public as any other part of your organization. Your volunteer program shouldn’t have an ‘any warm body’ approach to volunteer recruitment. There should be a screening process that ensures that you recruit volunteers that are passionate about your cause and are able to do the tasks that are asked of them. If they don’t know how to do the task, make sure you’re able to teach them how to do it well.

Your home for your volunteer program. Where your organization’s volunteer program lives reflects on your program and the organization. Do you ask your volunteers to work together with staff, or is there a “volunteer office” in a corner somewhere that staff don’t normally go? Is the volunteer office really a storage closet?

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Engaging Family Volunteers at the Holidays

August 23, 2011

The summer is almost over and before you know it the holiday season will be upon us.  It is not too early to be thinking about the volunteer opportunities your organization will have during this season. The holiday season has become a time when more and more families are creating the tradition of volunteering together. A recent Gallup survey indicated that more than a third of American households volunteer together as a part of family life. As volunteering together becomes a holiday tradition for many families, it is important to make sure your organization plans ahead and structures those holiday season opportunities to allow families to work together. The HandsOn Network has created a checklist for organizations that wish to provide these opportunities to family groups. The checklist found at http://www.handsonnetwork.org/files/resources/BP_FamilyProjectChecklist_2010_HON.pdf goes over different aspects of a project and allows the organization to determine whether or not a specific project is family friendly. This tool can be a great resource and will help alleviate any potential pitfalls to family volunteering. 

As your organization makes plans for the holiday season, please make sure to let HandsOn Nevada know what your volunteer needs will be. We can post these opportunities weeks in advance so that individuals and families can plan ahead and your organization can be prepared. Please contact us if you would like more assistance in making a project or experience more family friendly.

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Helping the Community Go Back To School

August 22, 2011

On Saturday, August 20th, the City of North Las Vegas held their 13th Annual Community Back to School Health and Education Fair at the College of Southern Nevada-Cheyenne Campus. Thousands of participants starting arriving as early as 5:30 a.m. to register their school aged children for this amazing event. Once making their way through the line and receiving wristbands to pick up their new backpacks; which were donated from Wal Mart; they joined the crowds inside various CSN buildings. Numerous vendors such as Sam’s Club were on hand to give kids free haircuts, dental exams, eye exams, immunization shots, physicals and other services necessary to enroll in school! Not only were parents able to get these services at no cost, but vendors such as Lowe’s were on hand to do craft projects which the kids could enjoy on site or take home and build with their family at a later time. In addition to the necessities, a variety of businesses were on hand to make families aware of what great activities that Clark County has to offer. Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead Recreation Area and camps for children dealing with hardships were just a few of those distributing information. Finally, parents also had the opportunity to gather information to help their child grow at each stage of their life. From specific instructions on how to help their child succeed at each grade level, to problems they may encounter such as drugs and alcohol. Overall this day was an overwhelming success. Parents and kids were wearing huge smiles, drinking loads of water to stay cool, gathering tons of information and accomplishing everything necessary to enjoy that first day of school!

~Hilary

If you’d like to volunteer for other Back to School events or find other volunteer opportunities, visit the HandsOn Nevada Website at www.VolunteerCenterSN.org to find the right opportunity for you today!

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Featured Partner

August 16, 2011

Building on a great 67-year foundation, Second Baptist Church is undergoing a major facelift!  They have recently renovated the sanctuary and upgraded their media technology.  This organization’s outreach starts with North Las Vegas, but branches out to all of Clark County, NV.

Second Baptist Church offers a meaningful opportunity to volunteer not only in August, but throughout the remainder of the year.  The Step Up! Mentoring Project focuses on providing adult mentors and the community an opportunity to support, guide and assist with raising a local youth who is at risk or who just needs a role model in his/her life. Mentors will encourage the mentees’ to put God first, improve their community, improve their communication skills, respect themselves and others and focus on career goals.  For more details and to sign up click HERE.

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Save the Date

August 16, 2011

Save the Date!

 September 1 – 12, 2011

2011 marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our nation. In honor of our military service members, individuals will ‘pledge’ volunteer hours of service to the community during the next 12 months.  In addition, volunteers will be asked to write a letter of thanks, support and appreciation that will be distributed to our local military heroes.  Visit our website for details.

 

 

October 22, 2011

SAVE THE DATE for our Mega-Collaborative Project with Albertson’s, Three Square Food Bank, Goodwill of Southern Nevada, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army and United Way of Southern Nevada.  Mark your calendar now for Saturday, October 22nd and plan to Make A Difference in southern Nevada.

 

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Volunteering During High School Matters

August 16, 2011

Volunteering during High School Matters

High School is a time of socializing, learning, and exploring. These four years can have a great impact on the future lives of students. A great way to explore, learn and socialize is through volunteering. Volunteering allows students to explore different career fields, learn new skills and meet new people. It is easy to volunteer and there are opportunities throughout southern Nevada to participate in. There are also many other benefits of volunteering.

Studies show that students who are active while in high school make better grades, are less likely to be involved in negative behaviors, and are more likely to be successful later in life (The Case for High School Activities). Additionally, we know that colleges and universities look highly at meaningful volunteer experience during the admissions process. While it may not be as important as GPA or entrance exam scores, it is often the deciding factor between two students who have the same GPA and/or entrance exam score. This meaningful volunteer experience can also be added to the resume. Employers like to see diverse experiences and skills. Finally, volunteering fulfills needs in our community. Now more than ever our community is in need of individuals who volunteer their time and energy to make southern Nevada a better place.

Visit the HandsOn Nevada website at http://www.VolunteerCenterSN.org to find opportunities to make a difference, meet new people and to gain new skills. Also, be on the lookout for more opportunities for high school students to volunteer.