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A blog for the people who manage, coordinate, and supervise volunteers. Chocked full of useful information to help you create amazing volunteer programs.

 

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Is It A Performance or Conduct Issue? Free Tool To Help You With Problem Volunteers

Posted By Jessica Pang-Parks, Education Coordinator - Grassroots Growth, January 19, 2017
Updated: January 18, 2017
 

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

At the start of each year, we often reflect on the past year’s achievements, and think about how we can grow and improve. For grassroots groups, this means reviewing things like governance and outreach but what about the performance of your volunteers? Maybe some of them are not doing their best work and you have to consider letting them go.

If you are experiencing issues with volunteers in your organization, dismissal should be the last resort. Work with the volunteer to find a resolution and make every effort to keep them on board. Remember, volunteers are people and people are complex; problems will come up in every organization. How you handle them will indicate the organization’s level of legitimacy to volunteers and other supporters.

Providing feedback to volunteers should start with identifying whether the issue is one of performance or of conduct. An issue of performance is relatively easy to deal with, whereas an issue of conduct often presents more challenges.

Let’s use an example to demonstrate these two issue types:
Imagine your organization is doing a book drive, and volunteers are tasked with calling potential donors from a shared list. Each call is to be logged on the list so the same donors aren’t called repeatedly. 
 

 

One of the volunteers isn’t updating the list after each call, and donors are getting annoyed with the duplicate requests. This is an issue of performance; for some reason, the volunteer isn’t following instructions. You should clear up any misunderstandings with the volunteer and do follow-up training if necessary.

   
 

 

In the same example, another volunteer is making the calls and updating the list correctly, but donors have been complaining about this volunteer’s “bad attitude” and “rude language”. This is an issue of conduct; providing more information on the task or doing follow-up training will not resolve the problem. In this case, you will need to meet with the volunteer and have a conversation to review expectations. 

 

What do you say? How do you even bring up the subject?

Thankfully, the Grassroots Growth project has developed a volunteer evaluation template to help you step-by-step through the process!

 

  DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE  

 

For more information on grassroots volunteer management, register for our FREE Volunteer Management Basics workshop on Thursday, January 26th

We are also releasing two highly-requested interactive training modules through our website: Volunteer Communications and Feedback, and Managing Volunteer Issues. Join our online community now to access those resources and to connect with other volunteer-run organizations across Ontario for advice and peer mentorship. 

 

Grassroots Growth Website

 

As the Education Coordinator, Jessica is responsible for developing and delivering workshops and online content to help build the capacity of grassroots organizations across Ontario. Contact Jessica

Tags:  free resources  free templates  issues of conduct  issues of performance  Volunteer performance review 

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What's The Best Volunteer Management Database For You - Tips From The Bottom Up

Posted By Claire McWatt, Project Coordinator, May 19, 2016
Updated: May 18, 2016
 

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

In our most recent workshop, Leading Beyond the Core, the Grassroots Growth team explored the vast expanse of online databases for managing volunteers. Grassroots groups, like all non-profits, have to make decisions about how to best manage their lists and online presence. New software products are coming out every day, and features change at such a rapid pace that it can be a huge challenge to keep up. So, how do you choose the right content management system? The answer is: by being a smart consumer.

Back in the day, volunteers were managed using lists and contact sheets. They were mobilized by making phone calls. Computers brought us Excel spreadsheets, scheduling apps and e-mail, making things a lot easier. In the world of Web 2.0, we’ve seen all kinds of volunteer management software emerge, with a litany of shiny new capabilities, for a wide range of prices. Today, platforms such as Volgistics, Better Impact, and so many others compete in a saturated market for our precious business.

The market has changed a lot. We now have options that integrate all the features needed to run a non-profit and/or campaign into a one-stop-shop platform. Nationbuilder, widely becoming the benchmark, is a very popular integrated option. Volunteer managers are also testing new software, like Timecounts, with the capability to send text messages and tag volunteers with a wide range of extra skills.

For grassroots groups, there are five key points to remember when considering your management needs:

1. What can you realistically afford?

Platforms range from free to thousands of dollars per month. Some bill annually, some monthly. It’s great to have everything, but your budget will be a big factor in what you ultimately choose.

2. What are the needs of your organization?

Some platforms are best for mobilizing people, others for managing memberships. The type of work you do will factor heavily into what kind of product best meets your unique needs.

3. How many volunteers do you have in total?

If you have a lot of volunteers, standalone volunteer management software may be very useful. The more volunteers you have, the more likely it is to be necessary, and the more likely you are to need one that has more fancy features.

4. What are your shift-management needs?

If you need to manage a lot of volunteers at the same time (usually for events), you may want standalone volunteer management software, or at least the free or paid add-ons available in integrated products. Further, if you need to manage volunteers across different areas, standalone software is probably best for you.
 
5. What is your technological proficiency?

Are you an Excel pro? Sometimes the best option is what the person using it is most familiar with. If your volunteer manager has been using one platform forever and knows it inside and out, sticking with old faithful can sometimes be your best bet.


In the end, it is most important to consider your volunteer needs, and to reexamine them often. The market changes, and so do your volunteers. Taking the time to consider whether your database is working for you, both in the larger context of your non-profit, and as it makes your volunteer manager(s) life easier, will help you stay up-to-date and on-task.



 

 

Claire leads the development of the Grassroots Growth project’s online community of practice, including the Peer Mentorship Forum and Wiki Resource Directory. She also manages relationships with Grassroots Growth partners, handles project administration, and collaborates with the Education Coordinator and Outreach Coordinator in research, training and outreach.


Tags:  Free resources  volunteer engagement  volunteer management  Volunteer Management Databases 

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Seasonal Volunteer Planning - Template Thursday

Posted By Sammy Feilchenfeld, Training Coordinator, April 14, 2016
Updated: April 12, 2016
 Template Thursday


Will you be recruiting volunteers for summer roles this year? If so, it’s time to start planning now. Summer camps, sports groups, festivals and events will all be recruiting volunteers for summer programming over the next couple of months—to make sure you’re on track, use our free planning resource for seasonal recruitment! Feel free to download, print or photocopy this resource, taken from our Short-Term Volunteers workbook, and check out our other great resources here. Keep an eye out for more free templates in the weeks to come.

 

 

 

As Volunteer Toronto's Training Coordinator, Sammy Feilchenfeld develops and delivers in-person, online and on-demand training in order to support managers and coordinators of volunteers in Toronto’s non-profit and charitable organizations.

Tags:  Free resources  planning for volunteers  volunteer management  volunteer management professional development  volunteer manager resources 

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