Thursday, January 14, 2010

The World of Volunteer Management Keeps Getting Smaller

Technology keeps making our world a little smaller and the volunteer sector is no exception. The internet is making it easier to find volunteer opportunities abroad and I know of volunteers who now keep in touch with other volunteers they met half way around the world. Over the past decade leaders of volunteers have turned to the internet more each year in seeking information related to their job. And as of today, the website is available for use in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Chinese. This has me very excited.

Although I am thrilled about this website being accessible to volunteer managers of non-English speaking languages for the exchange of information within their language, I am even more excited about how the site has the potential to facilitate a greater level of global sharing in the sector. Resource contributors can, if they wish, include their resources in the pool of resources available for translation. Bilingual users of the website will then be able to translate any of that content into another language. This will make it possible for all managers of volunteers to learn from the unique experiences of their peers, around the world. I don’t think it’s unusual to get caught up in the way we do things to the point that we come to believe that these are the only possibilities. I am truly looking forward to learning of some of the new approaches that get adopted through this global exposure to the volunteer sector.

Resource contributors can also indicate that they give permission for us to use Google’s translation software on their resources. Although we have just launched in the other languages, the use of translation software has enabled us to have twenty resources in each language already. More will get translated each week. The translations are not perfect but they certainly have the ability to share experiences, knowledge and resources across language barriers. These contributions are noted as translated by Google and are still be available for human translation or correction.

The idea shows early signs of catching on. We have already had one volunteer translate an article by Andy Fryer from Australia into Spanish. The link to Our Shared Resources was the most frequently clicked link in People First – Total Solutions’ last newsletter among the newsletter’s 6,000+ subscribers around the world!

What do you have that you would like to share with your peers around the corner and around the world? Go to and add something today. It’s quick. It’s easy. And it helps bring the world of volunteer managers even closer together.

Volunteer2 is proud to offer this free service to the sector as one of our ways of giving back. It is not associated with our volunteer management software and is open for all in the sector to use.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Orientation and Training Are Different

In our work with a wide variety of volunteer management databases, ranging from simple spreadsheets to custom designed programs, we often come across cases where there is a field labeled ‘orientation/training’ or other cases where a field is labeled ‘orientation’ but there are no fields to record trainings. Given this, when I saw Susan Ellis’ tip of the month “Orientation and Training Are Different”, I knew right away it would be a useful addition here for some of the blog readers. Thank you Susan.

Susan's Tip of the Month: Orientation and Training Are Different
In casual conversation, we often link "orienting and training" together and, of course, they are related - but they are not the same. They are sequential, with orientation (British colleagues say "induction") coming first. Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

What Volunteer Managers Want

In preparing the website we surveyed leaders of volunteer to ask them what resources of their peers they would like access to. The percentages next to each of the items indicate the percentage of the respondents that would like to have access to such resources.
  • Examples of volunteer manuals 80.0%
  • Examples of volunteer policies 77.0%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - training / orientation 70.9%
  • Examples of forms such as photo releases, confidentiality, parental permission for youth, etc. 69.1%
  • Volunteer position description templates 66.7%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - recognition 66.1%
  • Examples of volunteer position descriptions 60.6%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - strategic recruitment 59.4%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - supervision / evaluation 58.2%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - current trends 53.9%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - communications 52.1%
  • Volunteer manager position descriptions 50.9%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - screening 45.5%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - strategic planning 43.6%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - working with other staff 43.6%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - technology 41.8%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - reporting 40.0%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - generational influences 33.3%
  • ‘How-to’ articles / advice - budgeting / financial implications 31.5%
If you have developed any of these types of resources that you would like to share with others, or if you are looking for something to help you avoid "recreating the wheel", please go to