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Volunteer Power!
Volunteer Power News - Number 114
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter

© 2012 Advantage Point Systems Publishing

A warm welcome to all volunteer managers-those of you who recruit, motivate and mobilize volunteer workers.

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In This Issue
  1. Featured Article: The Occasional Volunteer
  2. Check this Out: Tom McKee speaking at ReGroup in Loveland, Colorado, January 21-21
Featured Article: The New, New Breed of Volunteer is Even Newer
The Occasional Volunteer
Thomas McKee

How do we engage volunteers who are merely fulfilling a requirement? They have little passion, if any, for their involvement, which is very different from most of our volunteers. Some of these requirements might be a court ordered demand, an organizational requirement such as a homeowners association, or the demands of an youth organization for parents to take their turn as a volunteer.

In response to our last newsletter, The Challenges and Opportunities of Leading Four Generations of Volunteers, I received the following e-mail from Denis O'Brien, Volunteer Development Manager for Foroige, in Ireland. They are tackling the problem of what I have called the non-volunteer volunteer head on, and I want to share it with you. When I got his e-mail, I was fascinated by his term, "the occasional volunteer."

Here is the e-mail I received from Denis:

Hello Tom

I work as the "National Volunteer Development Manager" for one of Ireland's largest and leading youth organizations. We have been operating for 60 years and originally based much of our work on that of the 4H organization in the USA. We reach more than 10% of the population of 10 to 18 year olds, have 5,500 volunteers and 370 staff. For more see www.foroige.ie.

I am really interested in your non volunteer volunteer article - we have loads of those! Our youth groups all over the country draw up rotas [a U.K. term meaning a register of names showing the order in which people take their turn to perform certain duties] of parents - against our advice. We want a core group of passionate people and indeed a group of 4 or 5 of those is enough to run one of our groups - but so many people get involved because they feel they have to, no one else will, or because they want something for their young people and no one else is providing it. Almost inevitably such people cease volunteering when their own children age out of the group.

What we have introduced is a concept of "occasional volunteer." This allows clubs to draw in parents up to 5 times a year without requiring them to attend training, or go through reference and Garda (Police in Ireland) checks. These occasional volunteers are not allowed unsupervised access to young people or to deal with behavior issues. They are the extra pair of hands on a day trip or big event, or to fill in if a regular volunteer is absent etc.

It does not solve every problem - we have had to revise our recruitment procedures to clearly state that volunteers are those who freely give time etc. and state that young people cannot be excluded because their parents are not able to volunteer.

As we develop better communication systems, I hope to develop strategies to draw in some of these volunteers to become more passionate and perhaps swell the 10% a bit more through telling them of the value of what they do and the impact on the young people.

I loved "The New Breed" and always read your monthly newsletter. Many thanks


After reading his e-mail, I spent a very enjoyable time on Foroige's, website. I recommend looking at it. Finally I contacted Denis and asked his permission to reprint his letter. Denis not only gave me permission, but he sent me the following policy document description about the occasional volunteer.

Occasional volunteers are those who help out at once off events/ programmes / trips on an irregular basis, but in any event not more than 5 times a year. The category of Occasional Volunteer does not include those who attend the club regularly on a rota basis.

The Recruitment Process
These do not need to undergo the normal recruitment process, nor do they do not need to undergo Garda Vetting. However it is required that occasional volunteers must always be accompanied by a regular voluntary adult leader/paid staff when with young people. It is recommended they attend a preparatory meeting with the regular leaders but in any event should be given clear information on:
  • The purpose of Foróige and of the event
  • The programme of events
  • Their own function and tasks on club event/ trips/programme, preferably in writing
  • The developmental role of the voluntary adult leader
  • The names and contact details of those in charge of the event
  • Basic child protection guidelines
  • Procedures for dealing with particular situations that are likely to arise at the event
The occasional volunteer should be told that matters of discipline must be dealt with by the key voluntary leader or paid staff in that group and not the occasional volunteer. All volunteers on overnight trips away should be Garda vetted.

Denis commented about policy document description: "It's a bit dry and legalistic but such is the nature of procedural documents."

Thanks so much, Denis, for sharing this with us. I give you props for deciding to do something about the problem of the occasional volunteer. You are doing a great work, and we share your passion for the youth of Ireland (and the world).

Check This Out: Tom McKee Speaking at ReGroup-January 21-23 in Loveland, Colorado
Reaching Today's Volunteer
ReGroup 2013

Most of my workshops are not open to the public, but are designed for a specific non-profit organization. However, I am going to be teaching The New Breed, Volunteer Power workshop that is open to the public in Loveland, Colorado in January 2013.

The January Conference
Focus on Faith-Based Organizations
Loveland, Colorado
January 21-23 (A three-day conference)

Leading Today's Volunteer

Understand, empower and grow the volunteers in your ministry!

We know that finding (and keeping!) good volunteers is challenging. We've created this leadership training event to equip you with the best tools and knowledge to help you understand today's volunteer. You're invited to join us for a 3-day interactive training with Thomas McKee. It's a time for learning, sharing with others, and getting tangible tips you can take back to your church to multiply your volunteer involvement.

This training will help you:
  • Discover what the 21st century volunteer expects and what you must do if you want to recruit and lead the new breed of volunteer
  • Understand the seven deadly sins of recruiting volunteers and what leaders must do to have a successful recruiting and screening process
  • Discover how to lead volunteers with vision and purpose
  • Learn how to mobilize the unlimited power and passion of volunteers
  • Get equipped with practical resources to evaluate how empowerment-friendly and generation-friendly your organization is towards volunteers
If you're involved in any area of ministry that involves recruiting, training and/or leading volunteers, then this training is just for you!

Download Conference Information

January 21-23, 2013, Loveland, CO

Before December 31st: The cost for the ReGroup is $149. Only $119 per person if you register 2 or more!

After December 31st, 2012: $199 per person.

Register Now

Volunteer Power Key-Notes, Workshops,
Or An Education Day
The New Breed of Volunteer
A Volunteer Power Workshop
Recruiting and leading the 21st Century volunteers who want to do it their way

Workshop Content

The questions: Volunteerism is hot. From American Idol, Disneyland, Glee, Lady Gaga, President Obama to Wells Fargo, Intel and Wal-Mart, giving back is the rage.
  • How do we take advantage of this trend in our organization?
  • How do we mobilize the passion and power of volunteers in a culture that sometimes stifles passion and professionalism because management only allows volunteers to stuff envelops?
The answer: A 21st Century leadership strategy. We need to know how to impact our volunteer culture so that we can recruit and empower a whole new breed of volunteers.

The 21st century volunteer culture is very different because of tectonic shifts that have changed volunteer leadership. These shifts have impacted the volunteer organization; therefore, how we recruit and lead the New Breed of volunteer is a whole new game. The tectonic shifts include the following:
  • Twitch Speed - The core characteristic of Lady Gaga is speed. She is doing in 10 minutes what it took Madonna ten years to achieve. How nimble is your organization in responding to today's volunteers?
  • Generations – Gen Y and retiring boomers-the new frontier of volunteers
  • Technology – The addition of social networks as a leadership tool
  • Empowerment – The knowledge worker demands to be led- not managed
  • Slacktivism – Getting involved with the click of a mouse
  • Episodic Volunteering – Sign up for only short-term projects or only when unemployed
A LEADER OF VOLUNTEERS STRATEGY: In this workshop you will learn ...
  • How to manage change: How to interpret a changing culture
  • How to empower the volunteer without dropping the ball
  • How to coach your volunteers instead of manage them: The four stages of coaching
  • How to frame your recruiting message in order to transition slactivists and episodic volunteers into valuable non-paid staff.
Contact us to book a workshop, key-note presentation.

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