Volunteerpower News November 2003
Volunteer Power News November 2003
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter
©2003 Advantage Point Systems, Inc. Publishing
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Next Month the December Issue:
Volunteers Arent Free
What to Do for the Holiday Season When
Your Volunteers Are Stressed Out
November Newsletter Content
Interesting facts and resources for volunteer managers:
· Is volunteering on
the rise? Are more people actually volunteering?
· Average hourly wage
of the volunteer
· Volunteer clip art
· If volunteering is
really on the rise, why doesnt it feel like it?
· The four words that
volunteers hate: Oh, by the way
· If you missed last
month: Ice Breakers, Meeting Openers and Team Building Activities
A lot of people often ask me about current data on how many people are actually
volunteering. In answer to your questions, here is some information and
The Value of Volunteer Time
INDEPENDENT SECTOR Releases New Value of Volunteer Time
(Washington, D.C., February 19, 2003) INDEPENDENT SECTOR announced today that the
2002 value of volunteer time has increased by nearly 50 cents to $16.54 per hour.
The hourly value, updated yearly, is based on the average hourly earnings of all
nonagricultural workers as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. INDEPENDENT
SECTOR takes this figure and increases it by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.
INDEPENDENT SECTOR has long known the value of volunteering is immeasurable, both
for the person who volunteers and for the organization and people served. The monetary
value of volunteer time serves as an estimate to help nonprofit organizations quantify
this valuable resource, said Peter Shiras, interim president and CEO, INDEPENDENT
INDEPENDENT SECTOR produces a biennial survey on the giving and volunteering patterns of
Americans. According to the most recent survey, Giving and Volunteering in the United
States, 2001, 44 percent of adults volunteered. When asked why they gave of
their time, respondents cited compassion as the most commonly cited motivating factor.
Survey participants also attributed their volunteering to the belief that those who have
more should help those with less. Volunteers also gave of their time because they knew of
someone who would benefit from their volunteering, and others said volunteering was a good
way to meet people.
While we recognize that volunteers offer a wide variety of services, this estimate
provides a uniform way for volunteer managers, nonprofit executives, government agencies,
and others to account for the value of volunteer time, said Gordon Green, Ph.D.,
vice president of research, INDEPENDENT SECTOR.
You can find out more information about giving and volunteering in the United States at :
So What? How Can I Use This Information?
I once had 18 people who each volunteered about four hours a week doing office work
for our organization. Each had a very specific responsibility and every year I would
do a big splash in our newsletter with pictures and quotes, and I always closed with how
much money this fantastic group was saving our organization. Those 18 people would
have cost our organization $1190.88 per week that is over $50,000 a year.
Next Month: Volunteering Isnt Free
Just because we are saving over $50,000 a year by using volunteers (in just one
area of our work force), dont think that volunteers are free. Next week I want
to talk about the cost of volunteer labor.
Volunteer Clip Art
If you havent found the AVA (Association for Volunteer Administrators)
organization or web site yet, I suggest you check it out. I always love spending a
day working with this organization, which has over 50 chapters in U.S. cities. Ill
never forget a day I spent in Wichita, Kansas. The room was filled with over 50
volunteers who represented the girl scouts, soup kitchens, hospitals, several local
churches, environmental groups and the United Way. We spent the day working on the
question, How do I awaken the Passion and Power of the 21st Century
The national web site of AVA has a page with clip art you can download. You can get
How Many People Are Actually Volunteering?
The Philantropic Research, Inc in 2002 reported that volunteerism is on
the rise. VolunteerMatch (www.volunteermatch.org)
has had a 72% increase in volunteers since the same time in 2001. The Peace Corps
has had a 40% increase in applications in the last year. Similar reports are being
reported from nonprofit and federal government volunteer databases, including America's
Promise, GuideStar, the National Mentoring Partnership, Points of Light Foundation,
SERVEnet, the United Way, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Citizen
One of the most thorough reports I have ever read came from the United Postal Service in
their 1999 report. You can read it at:
If the News is So Great Why Am I Having So Much
Dont you love it when some guy is telling you that people are
volunteering and they want to change the world and all the time you are struggling with
finding volunteers. Great news doesnt help when you cant find the
qualified, committed and talented volunteers you need.
There may be many reasons why you are having a difficult time. Please e-mail me with
your specifics and Id love to try and help you FREE.
I got a call from a volunteer last week (one who was asked to be a volunteer that is a
switch to get a call from a volunteer). She was really struggling because she did
want to be a dependable volunteer, but she was ready to quit. As I listened to
Lauren, I was reminded of the four words that volunteers hate.
Lauren was recruited to work as a helper for her daughters girls club.
As a parent, she felt obligated and really wanted to help. What can I
do? I would be happy to be a helper, were her responses. She was eager and
felt that she would be happy to bake cookies, drive, stuff envelopes, attend activities
and anything else, as long as it was behind the scenes stuff. That is Lauren.
The leaders said, Great. We are excited to have Sabrina and Savanna in
our club, and we would love to have you volunteer to help.
Lauren went to the first meeting and said, What do you want me to do?
The leader handed her a huge manual and said, Oh, by the way, we
ask all volunteer leaders to read this. Lauren took it home and started
to read it when the phone rang. The leader said, Oh, by the way,
we are giving a test on the manual. We want all our leaders to know the philosophy
and what we expect from our volunteers. Lauren said, Im happy to
read the manual--she was being polite, but Im more the behind the scenes
type of person. Can I be a helper? The leader then said, Well,
we really need parents to be leaders. Oh, by the way, we are having an
eight-hour training session next Saturday and want all our leaders to attend.
Lauren is conscientious and wanted to be a support. After all, her girls were
taking part, and she felt that she should help. Lauren had a big decision to make,
and it was troubling her. Should she quit, feeling guilty that she had not kept her
commitment, or should she continue, hating every minute of it and feeling duped by the
continuous Oh, by the ways!
Classic Oh, By the Ways:
· Oh, by the
way, all volunteers need to be fingerprinted.
· Oh, by the way, all
volunteers pay dues to the national organization. Dues are $150 a year.
· Oh, by the way,
each year each board member calls 10 donors to ask for end of the year contributions.
· Oh, by the way, all
volunteers attend our annual planning retreat.
· Oh, by the way, all
volunteers spend at least 12 hours just before the 4th of July working in the
The classic come back for the volunteer is, Oh, by the way, I quit! You
What is wrong with this picture? The problem is not Lauren. The problem is not
even with the demands theres nothing wrong with asking volunteers to be
fingerprinted or with asking volunteers to attend our annual planning retreat. The
problem is the volunteer organization that follows the Oh, by the way
Read how we can solve this problem and boost the commitment of our volunteers at
In Case You Missed Last Month: Ice Breakers
Irene from the Cayman Islands writes:
- Thanks for the latest newsletter. I held a meeting last night at our church and
accessed your site for icebreaker ideas. I was able to use one of them...identifying
favorite things. It is interesting to put these things in "action" in a
different environment! With the cultural differences (I have a mixed group...U.S.,
Caymanian, Jamaican), you get some interesting responses and situations. Everyone
participated and we had some fun.
Wow thanks Irene. Its always encouraging knowing that somebody is using the stuff
we send out each month.
In case you missed the icebreakers last month, you can find them on a new section on our
website under resources entitled, what else, Ice Breakers, Meetings Openers, and
Team Building Activities." We have 18 activities organized in three groups:
Ice breakers, Event and Meeting Planning Openers, and Team Building Activities.
1. Community Building Ice-breakers -- Getting to
· Eight door
opening questions (i.e. "In high school . . .")
· Two truths and a
· My favorite ______
· What do we have in
· Common traits
· Hot seat
2. Event and Meeting Planning Openers (Retreats,
Strategic Planning, Meetings)
organization . . ." opener
· The check in
· Cultural analysis
before a strategic planning retreat
3. Team Building Activities
· Developing team
focus -- stranded in the desert
I have used all of them with great success. You can copy them and use them:
- IS YOUR ORGANIZATION LOOKING FOR SPEAKERS or VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT
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
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:
and fill out the form.
For more articles by Thomas McKee, visit the Articles Section on our website at:
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Thomas W. McKee
Tom McKee is a leading volunteer management speaker, trainer and
consultant. You can reach Tom at (916) 987-0359 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other articles and free resources are available at