Volunteerpower News August 2003
Volunteer Power News - August 2003
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter
©2003 Advantage Point Systems, Inc. Publishing
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__________________________________________This month I want to share with you two requests that you have asked for. I am constantly being asked, "How do we recruit and manage the younger volunteers?" This is the number one question I am asked at our workshops. Secondly, we are being asked about past issues of our newsletter. We have just put these on our website for those of you who missed earlier issues.
August Newsletter Content
§ Building Community - It doesn't just happen
Building Community - It doesn't just happen
One of the most important roles of the volunteer leader is to build team community. In my early years of leading volunteers I was very naïve and I thought that community would just happen if we just spent time working together. I was so wrong. Fortunately, years ago I discovered that a deep sense of camaraderie and unity does not happen spontaneously.
One way to build community is to use community-enhancing exercises. I have used all of the following in two formats: Meetings and board retreats:
One way to build community is to start every meeting with an icebreaker. Need an icebreaker for your next volunteer committee meeting or board meeting? Try this one:
Volunteers often don not really know much about each other. We can help by using a "disclosure" question to break down the masks that people often wear at meetings. When people get to know one another at a more personal level, they have more fun when working.
1. What was your most prized toy as a child?
Retreats Every year I would take our board of directors on a retreat and we would spend a weekend together visioning for the coming year. We always started out Friday evening with a dinner and then an activity like the following:
The Hot Seat
Everyone sits in a circle and one by one each of us take the hot seat. Sitting in the "hot seat" we had to answer a series a questions asked by another board member. Some of the more memorable questions were:
1. What were your greatest disappointments in the first third of your life? Second third? Recently?
It is impossible to listen to the honest reflections of another board member without being drawn to that person.
Facilitating Effective Volunteer Meetings
The goal of a meeting is not just communication, decision making or problem solving. The meeting process should send members away with a sense of energy and commitment. How do you do that? Americans hold over 15 million meetings a day and spend over $30 billion a year on meetings; however, most Americans consider meetings a waste of time and boring. The committee or team meeting with your volunteers is one of the untapped resources for energy, enthusiasm, communication, education and synergy. Let's face it—meetings are one of the most important part of volunteer management; however, it is where leaders often just "wing it."
Check the following "agree disagree" statements and check your answers with article.
______ ______ Meetings need an inclusion activity to set the mood.
Meetings need an inclusion activity to set the mood.
Meetings should include official minutes.
If you consider a meeting to be a waste of time, you should not attend.
Volunteer team meetings should be held on a regular basis.
If you want to make a point at the meeting, sit next to the leader.
You should mix meetings with meals.
"Breakfast is best, lunch is longer, at dinner you're dimmer!" -- Milo O. Frank
Frank says that breakfast is best because everyone is fresher and has something else to do; therefore, the meeting is usually short. He feels that at luncheon meetings you have a tendency to waste a lot of time ordering food and traveling. Dinner can be the best or worst – the best for the social approach and the worst for a specific business objective because when you are tired, it is hard to think clearly.
Tips for meeting planning:
Facilitating meetings is fun, energizing and rewarding work. Improve your ability to facilitate meetings by making sure that you follow this check list.
1. Before the meeting:
2. During the meeting:
-Attendees, decisions made and action items
3. After the meeting:
Virtual Meetings What are they?
The best possible way to have a meeting with our volunteers is face to face. These meetings provide the base arena for camaraderie and community building. However, in today's world of fast paced, high-tech communication we need to consider virtual meetings.
What are virtual meetings? The four most popular alternatives are videoconferencing, web conferencing, tele-conferencing, and extranet. For a basic description of these four and their advantages and disadvantages see http://www.volunteerpower.com/articles/virtual.asp
IS YOUR ORGANIZATION LOOKING FOR SPEAKERS or VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT TRAINERS?
Is your organization part of a larger professional association, or a statewide, regional or national organization? Does that group have local, regional or national meetings and conferences? Would you like a Volunteer Power Session presented at one of those meetings?
Our fast paced 1.5-hour session is a stand-alone training designed to introduce staff, board and volunteers to a systematic model for building the volunteer team. Participants learn a practical, effective approach for dynamic volunteer teams.
For more information, or to recommend an organization looking for such a program, please go to our Web Site at:
http://www.volunteerpower.com/ and fill out the form.
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