The basic principles of successful volunteer engagement are applicable to any type of setting. The resources in this program have been field-tested with organizations in various sectors including social/human services, literacy, animal protection, emergency services, healthcare – even the military! Naturally, any single seminar or guide will be of great interest to some and of less interest to others but, cumulatively, the bi-monthly cycle of materials has proven relevant to all our members so far.
We firmly believe that the type and content of an organization’s work is not the primary issue in volunteer engagement training. All of our members share these characteristics or objectives:
- Operations widely scattered across the country at many sites, yet the need to have some national consistency in the vision for and approach to volunteer involvement
- Very few local people designated (and trained) to be “directors of volunteer engagement,” so that the majority of people who are working daily with volunteers are doing so “when they can find the time” -- and without training in doing it most effectively
- Reliance on volunteers in governance (whether boards of directors or advisory) and usually in fundraising – often without linking this level of volunteer to the issues of any volunteer involvement throughout the organization
- Interest in building support, advocacy, and revenue for the work of the organization, yet not always seeing the connection of volunteer “service” (frontline) to community resource building (or seeing it, but not knowing how to act on it to move from fundraising to people or friend raising as a mindset)
- Desire to expand the scope of volunteer roles and participants to: 1) be more creative; 2) attract a high caliber of volunteer; and 3) tap into 21st century service models such as virtual volunteering, micro-volunteering, new pro bono initiatives, service-learning, etc.
In other words, the mindset and skills of volunteer management are generic, not agency-based. The ideal way to use the Everyone Ready resources is to allow us to introduce new concepts and best practices that work everywhere – in order to start people thinking and talking – and then you add whatever you wish to make each topic most meaningful to you. No off-the-shelf training will ever do it all for you, of course. So that’s why we emphasize the role of the Point Person in “translating” each topic to your specifics.
We have selected a wide range of topics with universal interest. Because we are especially concerned with learners new to the field and for whom managing volunteers is only part of their job, we present the material as an introduction or overview. We then direct you to even more resources to delve deeper into the subject for full analysis and consideration.