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December 2018
Quick Tip for Leading Volunteers

Crafting a Good Volunteer Position Description Can Be a Useful Exercise

A volunteer position description that accurately represents the tasks to be undertaken and the effort that is required can serve as a method for readying the organization for the appearance of the volunteer. If you discover that either you or the staff with whom the volunteer will be working cannot put together a precise position description, it would be better to re-initiate the process of position development than to recruit a volunteer for a position that cannot be properly defined. Read on for a recommendation of what elements a position description should contain. Continue...
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Hot Topic

Seeking Funder Support for Volunteer Engagement? Assess Your Approach!

By Betsy McFarland
Funding specifically for the support of engaging volunteers remains elusive. Review the ways you are approaching funders.

Read or listento this month's Hot Topic.
e-Volunteerism Online Journal

Free-Access Articles

Volunteering Through the Eyes and Ears of a Dedicated Dog Volunteer - A light-hearted look at serious volunteering issues, as told by one dedeicated dog and his pet person. Enjoy this fun read while learning how mistakes in volunteer engagement might affect program recipients, volunteers themselves, and even the entire organization.
The Risk of Volunteerism Shortfalls: Are You Prepared? - Rob Jackson and Erin R. Spink discuss the concerning risk of volunteerism shortfalls. They debate the reasons behind these shortfalls while reviewing some steps we can all take to prepare for such a change.

New Postings for Subscribers

Getting to Know the Super-Volunteer, and Implications for Volunteer Management - Laurie Mook presents the results of a recent study of super-volunteers, defined as “individuals who volunteer 10 or more hours per week with a single organization."
Humor is the Best Medicine. . . and Training Tool -  Erin R. Spink interviews Tane Danger from the Theater of Public Policy, an innovative group that seeks to enhance learning through improvisational comedy. Erin reveals how volunteer managers can use humor in training, too!

Upcoming Articles

Volume XIX, Issue 1 launched on October 15, 2018, beginning our 19th year of continuous electronic publication for volunteer leaders around the world. Subscribers can look forward to the following upcoming articles:

  • an Along the Web article exploring how storytelling is a valuable tool that volunteer managers can use to help accomplish their goals;
  • a lively revisit of an old debate brought into the news recently: do Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs create positive, beneficial experiences for volunteers, or is paying someone to volunteer simply absurd?
Online Volunteer Management Training
The Everyone Ready® program delivers quality volunteer management training, online and on-demand, via video seminars, self-instruction guides, audio recordings, and journal articles. Enrollment options include organizations, networks, and individual members.

Featured Topic for Members

Designing Work for Volunteers
Unlock the mystery to designing work for volunteers that meets your needs and theirs! Steve McCurley helps you identify and define tasks for volunteers that benefit the organization, provide the volunteer with a significant and appealing way to make a positive contribution, and still fit within the abilities of today's time-challenged population. 

Demonstration for Non-members

Demonstration of the Everyone Ready Program
January 15, 2019 1:00 PM EST - Sign up for a chance to look inside the Everyone Ready volunteer management training program. We'll provide a ten-minute demonstration of the program, including a look at the Learning Center with 40+ volunteer management topics. When we are done, you can ask your questions! Registration required.
News in the Field
International Volunteer Day (IVD) December 5th, 2018

This year, IVD celebrates volunteer efforts that strengthen local ownership and the resilience of the community in the face of natural disasters, economic stresses, and political shocks.

Honoring volunteers engaged in economic & social development
By Jayne Cravens

Don't miss this thought-provoking article revisiting the roots of International Volunteer Day and arguing for saving the day for its original purpose.

Quick Tip (continued)

Position Description Elements

Title: What the position will be called, or what position is being offered.
Purpose: The result the position is to accomplish. This is the most important part of the position description.
Results: If there are definable results that contribute to the overall purpose, these should be listed.
Suggested Activities: Examples of what might be done to accomplish the purpose. The word “suggested” indicates that the volunteer has some authority to think, to pursue other approved activities if her supervisor agrees these might be effective in achieving the result.
Measures: How we will tell if the result is being achieved.
Qualifications: What skills, attitudes, and knowledge are desired, as well as any requirements requiring dress or conduct.
Timeframe: Estimated number of hours, length of commitment, and flexibility in scheduling.
Site: Location of work.
Supervision: Relationships with staff and other volunteers, reporting requirements and supervisory relationships, as well as procedures for monitoring and dealing with problems.
Benefits: Training, insurance, parking, reimbursement of expenses, childcare provision, any volunteer remuneration, events to thank volunteers, etc. An additional item to include might be the values and philosophy of the organization to which the volunteer is expected to adhere.
The precise format of the position description is not important. What is important is that all the elements are covered and that, in particular, a well-thought-out purpose is defined for the volunteer.

This Quick Tip has been excerpted from Volunteer Management: Mobilizing All the Resources of the Community, by Steve McCurley and Rick Lynch, INTERPUB GROUP, 2011. Permission is granted to reprint this excerpt. Reprints must include all citations and the statement: "Found in the Energize online library at"

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