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Volunteer Power!
Volunteer Power News - Number 62
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter

2008 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: Training Volunteers Who Think that They Don't Need Training-- Thomas W. McKee
  2. Monthly Volunteer Leadership Insight: The Best Advice You Ever Get on Leading Meetings - Thomas McKee
  3. Hear Thomas and Jonathan McKee on June 24th - at the Chase House - The Inns and Spa at Mill Falls in Meredith, NH

Featured Article: Training Volunteers Who Think That They Don't Need Training - by Thomas W. McKee
Training The New Breed of Volunteers ... who perhaps think that you can't teach them anything

I want to begin a new series on training your volunteers. We all agree that training is essential; however, the New Breed of Volunteers are professionals. We maintain that our greatest potential for recruitment (see article) are the retired boomers. They are often retired teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, or professors. And the young, single professional, right out of Stanford, are eager to help us-you get the picture. But then we ask this professional to attend our training program.

Question: Do we ask the high-capacity person to attend our volunteer training program-often led by a volunteer?

Answer: Absolutely-but do it with finesse.

Before you start your training program, answer these questions.
  1. What do I want the person to know that he/she doesn't already know?
  2. How can I motivate the volunteer to want to learn what he/she doesn't know?
  3. How does the volunteer learn best?
  4. How can I know that the volunteer is learning?
  5. Who can best deliver our training?
What do I want the volunteer to know that he/she doesn't already know?

Shock - not everyone needs formal training. I recently recruited someone to head up a community project. We were forming a team of people to spend a weekend doing needed projects in our community, and I wanted someone to take the leadership-an experienced project manager. I knew who I wanted, called him and took him out to lunch. I presented the project to him and when he said that he would head it up, we immediately began brainstorming team members to head up the project. We scheduled our first team meeting.

It would have been ridiculous to say to Reggie, "Before I turn you loose, I want you to attend a workshop on project management." Reggie is a project manager. He knows the ropes and I can turn him loose.

I find that I can do a lot of training about our organization at one-on-one breakfasts, coffee, or lunches. When I recruit leaders who know how to lead projects, meetings, and/or teams, I am able to lay out the scope, budget and time schedule, and they are off and running.

But on other volunteer assignments, we need to do training because the volunteer doesn't know what they need to know. What they don't know might include stuff like the following:
  • Why we do what we do
  • How we do it the way we do it
  • Why we do it the way we do it
  • The very specific equipment that we use
  • The consequences to the organization if it is not done.
  • The consequences to the organization if it is not done the way we want it done
  • How to handle "high maintenance" members
  • Budget constraints and handling money
  • Historical information (particularly in the case of museums, hospitals, churches)
  • Belief systems (government, religious groups)
Take the time to very carefully answer this question and write down everything that the volunteer needs to know. Then you are ready for question #2.

How do you motivate the volunteer to want to learn this information-especially if they think they know it?

The answer to that question is, "Sell the benefit." We have to sell the "Why" when we recruit.

I was recruiting a team of volunteer office receptionists for our volunteer organization just recently. I needed a team of volunteers to answer the phone from noon to three every day for two weeks. I interviewed and recruited four people, and when I did I asked each of them the following question:

Last week we got calls from a single mother who could not pay her electric bill. It was a heart wrenching story, and I felt so sorry for this woman with three children and the fact that her electricity was going to be turned off. How would you handle this call?

Most of them ask, "What is your policy?"

I then tell them about the one-hour training program where we go over our policies and procedures. Then I ask them to show up at the office 15 minutes early for their shift where the office manager will role play with them one of the calls that happened that morning.

When I was in college, I worked at the college information desk. Gwen Rees was my manager, and on my first day at work she took me aside and told me we were going to role play one of the calls that she received that morning. It went like this:

Gwen: Ring, Ring

Tom: I picked up an imaginary phone and said, "Information Desk"

Gwen: "I have a dead alligator that I would like to donate to the school. Could you use it?"

Tom: I was silent for a while and then said to Gwen, "I haven't got a clue. Can the university use a dead alligator?"

Gwen: "Think, Tom. Who in the University might want a dead alligator?"

Tom: "Ugh-the science department?"

Gwen: "Think, Tom. Who in the science department might use a dead alligator? Did you ever dissect anything in high school?"

Tom: (I was a slow learner). "Oh, the Biology Department" I transferred the imaginary phone call to the science department.

I have followed Gwen's example of training and found that these simple role plays work great for keeping the volunteer up with current information that I want the volunteers to know. And it is fun.

To be continued next month. We will talk about how to present dynamic training to a new breed of 21st century learners.

Monthly Volunteer Leadership Insight: The Secret to a Good Meeting is the Meeting before the Meeting - Thomas W. McKee
John Maxwell in his Leadership Gold says, "The secret to a good meeting is the meeting before the meeting."

Many meetings are boring and fail for two reasons:

  1. The leader doesn't have an agenda.
  2. Other people in the meeting have their own agendas.
One way to solve this problem of ineffective meetings is to have a meeting before the meeting. You figure out who the key people are going to be in any given meeting and have a meeting with them either individually or in a small group to make sure that you are all on the same page. Some might think of this as manipulation. And it could be, if that is your purpose. However, my role as a volunteer facilitator of other volunteers is not manipulation. I want to facilitate a meeting that is energizing and motivating. I want to engage everyone in the decision making in a way that the members leave the meeting with a sense of ownership and enthusiasm. And to prepare for such a meeting, I have found that a breakfast, coffee or lunch meeting with one or two people before a meeting always helped me to be prepared.

Maxwell suggests the following reasons to have a pre-meeting:
  1. The meeting before the meeting helps you to receive buy-in.
  2. The meeting before the meeting helps followers to gain perspective.
  3. The meeting before the meeting helps to increase your influence.
  4. The meeting before the meeting helps you to develop trust.
  5. The meeting before the meeting helps you avoid being blindsided.
For more on this topic and other leadership insights, I recommend John C. Maxwell's newest book, Leadership Gold.

Volunteer Power Workshop in Hew Hampshire: Hear Thomas and Jonathan McKee Together in an all-day Workshop
When: June 24th - 8:30 - 4:00 P.M.

Where: Chase House - The Inns and Spa at Mill Falls
312 Daniel Webster Highway
Meredith, NH
What: Father and son, Thomas and Jonathan McKee, authors of The New Breed, will lead a volunteer management workshop.

The New Breed of Volunteer
Understanding and Equipping the 21st Century Volunteers

Topics include:
  • The seismic shifts that have changed volunteer management in the last 5 years and what to do about these shifts.
  • The generational differences of volunteers how to recruit them, manage them and get them to work together.
  • The four-stage method of recruiting and managing a new breed of volunteer.
This workshop is being sponsored by the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority Downtown Resource Center.

For information and registration use this link


Tom's Books: The New Breed and/or They Don't Play My Music Anymore
The New Breed


Here's a glimpse of the Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Common Predicament
Where It All Begins

Chapter 1: Who Is the New Breed of Volunteer?
   A Profile of the 21st Century Volunteer

Chapter 2: Recruiting the New Breed of Volunteers
   The "Courting" Relationship

Chapter 3: Finding the New Breed of Volunteers (Not Scaring Them Away)
   The Seven Deadly Sins of Recruiting Volunteers

Chapter 4: Tapping into Two New Breeds of Volunteers
   Retiring "Boomers" and "Generation @"

Chapter 5: Motivating the New Breed of Volunteers
   Discover Three Levels of Motivation

Chapter 6: Empowering Volunteers to Do It Their Way
   Move from Delegation to Empowerment

Chapter 7: Managing the Virtual Volunteer
   Virtual Volunteers and Using Technology

Chapter 8: Managing High Maintenance Volunteers
   Performance Coaching the Volunteer from Hell

Chapter 9: Leading the Successful Volunteer Organization
   Mobilize the Collective Power of Volunteers

Chapter 10: A Leadership Case Study
   A Fable of How to Do It Right

  • Sample Position Charter
  • Sample Project Charter
  • Interview Guide for Hiring a Paid "Volunteer Manager"
  • Sample Questionnaire for Virtual Volunteers
  • Sample Board Code of Conduct
  • Strategic Planning Retreat - Agenda of Questions
  • SWOT Analysis Form
  • Ice-Breakers and Openers
  • Team Building Activities
  • Sample Training Exercise-A Case Study:


Plan Your Future
When the World
Keeps Changing

Get Tom's Inspiring Book

As we try to navigate the 21st Century in this increasingly fast-paced and technology-driven world, many people are drowning in our culture of unremitting change. In the innovative book, They Don't Play My Music Anymore, Thomas McKee presents a creative approach to facing personal and professional change. He offers eight essential principles that can help you gain the confidence to face an unknown future. Using these techniques, you will develop a new thinking frame by which to approach your future with hope and confidence as you learn to embrace change instead of merely reacting to it.


Tom's Eight Principles
Will Help You Gain the Confidence
To Face an Unknown Future

"In a world where change seems to be happening faster than the five miles every second the Space Shuttle travels, They Don't Play My Music Anymore offers a practical, common sense approach to not only surviving this frenetic pace of change, but building and growing from it. Incorporating Tom's methodology as I chose to make a change in my profession has helped me map out and launch into new adventures in many ways as exciting as the three space missions I flew. I very highly recommend applying these principles!"
Rick Searfoss, NASA Astronaut
and Space Shuttle Commander

Hear Tom McKee Live: Listen to an MP3 of a ten-minute sample keynote presentation by Tom McKee, The Power of Volunteer Passion
Thomas McKee
Who Takes the Fall When Your
Keynote Speaker is Just

You Do!

You can count on Thomas McKee for any size group. He has spoken to over one half million people in Europe, Africa and the United States over the past 35 years and has worked with some of America's top corporations, organizations and associations.
(More info about Tom here)


Click here to listen

Tom McKee is a leading volunteer management speaker, trainer and consultant. You can reach Tom at (916) 987-0359 or e-mail him at tom@volunteerpower.com. Other articles and free resources are available at www.volunteerpower.com

For more articles by Thomas McKee, visit the Articles section on our website.

Resource Highlight: Take a Peek at Our New Website
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