What Is Service Learning and How Does Century College Utilize This Learning Tool?

April 11, 2012

Service learning is a type of experiential learning that engages students in service within the community as an integrated aspect of a course.  Service learning is designed to get students into the community for active learning related to what they are studying in the classroom.  Effective service learning courses involve students in course-relevant activities in partnership with a community organization, and structure opportunities for students to reflect on their service experience to gain a better understanding of course content and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.

Century College biology project

There are three main elements of every service learning experience.  Service learning:

  • is reciprocal, meaning the student and the community organization both benefit from the assignment.
  • provides real-life application of materials so that students retain more course curriculum and come away with an appreciation for the role we all play in civic engagement.
  • always involves opportunities for reflection.  Reflection assignments are important, allowing students to think critically about the experience both during and after their service.

At Century College, if an instructor chooses to utilize service learning in a course, it is a required assignment of the course, often replacing a textbook with real-life experience.  Students who complete a service learning assignment should engage in meaningful, hands-on, real-world activities.

Century College elementary partnership

As just one example, the service learning assignment for an Introduction to Human Services course provides an opportunity for students to serve local nonprofits.  Students are learning about the history of human service; education and training; worker roles; agencies, programs and community resources; career and job opportunities; skills, knowledge and values of the human service worker.  Through the service learning assignment, they have a minimum of 25 hours of individual hands-on experience assisting agencies with projects such as tutoring youth, completing relevant administrative office work, helping with programming at transitional housing organizations, or leading recreational activities for seniors.  Students reflect in class discussion groups and through a final writing assignment.

The following are excerpts taken from hundreds of positive Century College student reflections about the service learning experience:

  • “We learn these theories in school but until we really apply them or see them in action, they’re not real.”
  • “I think it was a great experience and service learning makes me feel like I made the right choice to go to school to become a teacher.”
  • “I wish more of my classes had service learning in them.”
  • “Because of my service learning assignment, I am more open and appreciative of volunteer work. I’ve found that it’s a lot more enjoyable to give something than to receive something.”
  • “I spoke to one of the nurses about applying to work there. She said since I have some experience with this location, my chances are high for possibly getting a job there. It was a wonderful feeling to know that I may already have some connections.”

The Service Learning Department at Century College closely collaborates with faculty members, community partners, and students by researching appropriate service learning sites, placing service learning students, and providing a clearinghouse for strong support, information, and problem solving.

Century College communication group

Each instructor and course at Century College has a designated service learning coordinator.  A presentation to the class is made early in the semester, information is distributed, and questions are answered.  Each semester, “Strategies for a Successful Service Learning Experience” materials are made available on Century’s Student Success Day.

At the same time that students are gaining academic, professional, and personal skills, local community partners receive valuable service and assistance.  We are encouraged by the frequent positive comments from our community partners.  The following are three great examples of how agencies and the overall community benefits from service learning:

Staff at one of the local nature centers has commented, “Over 100 hours were contributed by students over two seasons in planting and maintaining woodland wildflowers, ferns and grasses for a Federal Sustainable Trails Grant.  At the rate of $16 per hour as specified in the grant, the value of the student labor for just this project was $2,336.  However its long-term value is much greater in terms of re-establishing native vegetation along new trail corridors to restore habitat, stem erosion and protect water quality.”   

 

As one of our closest school partners has commented, “Elementary primary age students have shown incredible growth in the areas of reading and math given the extra one-to-one and small group help. In some classrooms, almost 100 percent of the students met their [Measures of Academic Progress] targets! That is simply amazing, and was not the case prior to the volunteer program consisting of the service learning students.  Attendance for some of the at-risk students went up as we provided these extra mentors.”

One social service nonprofit wrote, “As a result, [our] limited staff was able to raise more funds to be given to area health and human service agencies. These agencies have been dealing with major cuts in funding. Having more student volunteers was especially helpful last year, enabling us to raise over $4,000 in one evening to fight local hunger.”

Below are some statistics about Service Learning at Century College:

  • Approximately 2,000 Century students participate in service learning each year.
  • Over 15,000 Century students have participated in service learning since it began at Century College in 2000.
  • Century College students have contributed over 200,000 hours of service to the community in the last decade.
  • About 40 percent of the programs at Century require a service learning assignment.  Some Century programs require service learning to graduate.
  • Service learning hours are recorded on the students’ official transcript if they satisfy the service learning requirement and complete at least one reflection assignment for the course.
  • Students completing more than 40 hours of service learning while attending Century are recognized on the commencement program.

Considering the current economic and employment situation, service learning involvement is as important as ever in terms of contributing to our communities, as well as promoting student growth and increasing a student’s professional skills.

To learn more about how service learning can be incorporated into your work, please contact the Service Learning Department at Century College.

Kara Nakagaki, Service Learning Coordinator

Judy Lykins, Director of Service Learning

Email address – ServiceLearning@Century.edu


The Well-Educated Volunteer

April 4, 2012

It’s April and the volunteer program leader’s mind turns to volunteer recognition.  “How can WE give back to THEM?” some of us sob, ringing our hands with tear-stained cheeks and flipping through the latest catalogue of tchotchkes.  My answer – “educate them!”  Instead of relying on the old standby of a trinket or bauble, provide volunteers with something that lasts – and that’s education.

We conduct a survey of volunteers who attended our annual recognition luncheon (I know luncheons are no longer in vogue, but there’s been a 35-year tradition here, attendance continues to be fab, so we still do this.)  I’ll never forget one survey comment – “You can skip the leaf of lettuce and rubber chicken.  Just give me an hour of education and a cup of coffee and I’m happy!”  While this surprised me on many levels (our volunteers have to get 12 hours of education annually to remain certified) it totally made sense –older adults, including those pesky “Boomers,” indicate life long learning as a priority.  A 2000 AARP study of over 1000 older adults (that’s 50+) showed that 9 of 10 recipients said “they want to learn.”  http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/general/lifelong.pdf.  So why not educate them?

I admit I have it easy.  There are so many aspects of horticulture that the educational topics seem limitless and we struggle to just limit ourselves to 10 sessions annually.  However, I doubt we’re alone in this.  Most non-profits, congregations and other entities that utilize volunteers have a story, as do their clients, so why not educate others about those stories?  Food shelves can educate about the issues that lead their clientele to use their services; health care organizations can educate about the latest health trends or even diseases affecting their area; schools can educate about the latest trends affecting their students, or the latest trends in education.  If you stop to think about it, you could have endless ideas too.  And then take it a step further – why not offer a certificate?  Attend 5 sessions and get a certificate stating you’ve received so many hours of education and now have a “specialty.”  And then just think what those specialty volunteers could do!

Education can also be a motivator.  Tom McKee of Volunteer Power suggests sending volunteers to conferences as a way to motivate (http://www.volunteerpower.com/articles/motivate.asp.)  He even suggests that organizations budget to send their volunteers to over-night conferences.  I’d be motivated too for a paid over-night trip out of town, even if it was just toSt. Cloud. Kidding aside, I think Tom’s message is clear — invest in your volunteers and they’ll invest in you.  Studies also tell us that sharing how a volunteer’s work impacts your organization or organization’s clients, not only can motivate people to do more, but sharing a volunteer’s impact can also lead to longer retention.

So now’s your time to be creative!  What can you educate your volunteers about?  Here are some suggestions to help you get started:

  • Make it meaningful:  people give to your organization for a reason – and hopefully that’s because they’re engaged in your mission.  How can you educate your volunteers more about your mission and the people you serve?
  • Make it timely:  what’s new and different in your organization’s world?  The world is in a constant state of change – what’s new and different that you could share with your volunteers?
  • Make it easy:  we all have lots of interesting things to share, but no one is going to come and listen, not matter how interesting, if we offer education at times that aren’t’ convenient to our volunteers.  Provide sessions in the evening or on the weekend.  Also – remember that “less is more.”  More people will come to a shorter session than a half or full-day session.
  • Make it fun:  while talking heads can be fact-filled with interesting data and concepts, adult learner’s attention spans change about every 11 minutes or so.  Thus, things need to be lively.  Engage people in games, quizzes or conversation.  Make the room come alive!
  • Make it delicious:  finally, if you’re going to educate people near an hour normally reserved for a meal, be sure to have something for folks to nibble on.  It doesn’t have to be much – but at the least offer water and coffee.  Even popcorn is cheap, delicious and a little can feed a lot of folks!

So put away that catalogue of tchotchkes and put on your thinking cap.  Recognize your volunteers with an educational forum to show your appreciation for their hard work.

Terry Straub, Program Coordinator; University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Program in Hennepin County


The Millennials

January 10, 2012

Generation Y. Millennials. Echo Boomers.  The Boomerang Generation.

These names are used to describe the generation of young adults born between 1982 to the mid-1990s. They range in ages from about 18-29. They face high unemployment rates (37 percent are unemployed or out of the workforce) and because many graduated college during a recession, they will face the poor economic consequences of this on their salaries and careers for up to 15 years. Yet Millennials are extremely optimistic and are volunteering in record numbers.

As a millennial myself, I was curious to take a more in-depth look at this generation and how it impacts the field of volunteerism.

A Few Fun ( Possibly Superfluous) Facts

  • 2010 Pew Research describes millennials as “confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat, and open to change.”
  • 3/4 of millennials have profiles on a social network, while 1/5 have uploaded a video of themselves to the internet
  • Almost 4/10 have a tattoo and 1/4 have something other than their ears pierced
  • 37% of 18-29 year olds are unemployed or out of the workforce (This takes into account those going to school who are not employed; the December unemployment rate for 20-24 year olds was 14.4%, compared to the national average of 8.5%)
  • 2/3 claim that “you can’t be too careful” when dealing with people, but are less skeptical of government than previous generations
  • 6/10 millennials were raised by both parents, the lowest rate of any generation so far
  • 1/5 are married (Boomers’ marriage rates were twice that)
  • 1/3 are parents
  • Millennials are gearing up to be the most educated generation; 39.6% of those 18-24 were enrolled in college
  • 1/8 of those over 22 are living with their parents again (hence the term “boomerang generation”)
  • Only 2% are military veterans
  • They are the most likely generation to identify as liberal, are not as supportive of a strong national security policy, and back more progressive social policies
  • As a generation truly defined by their use of technology, 83% sleep with their cellphones

Delaying Adulthood

Sociologically speaking, millennials are delaying the traditional markers of adulthood, like completing school (more return to graduate studies), leaving home (we are the ‘boomerang generation’), becoming financially independent (more are taking national service positions), marrying (the average age for marriage is 26 for women and 28 for men, five years later than the Boomers), or having children. The name “Failure to Launch” generation came from this postponement of adulthood. If you somehow missed the intriguing article, “What is it about 20-somethings” written by Robin Marantz Henig in the New York Times in August of 2010, I would suggest a read. It debates the merits of putting off adulthood and whether this prolonged adolescence should be categorized as a new life state, “emerging adulthood.” But the reality is, that many 20-somethings are prolonging the journey to adulthood (by traditional markers).  And it has real consequences for their participation in volunteerism.

Volunteerism

Millennials are volunteering in record-breaking numbers. According to the National Conference on Citizenship, “Millennials are showing strong interest in civic participation and reversing some of the declines observed among youth since the 1970s.” We are more civically engaged than both Gen X and the Boomers were at our age, at least when it comes to volunteering. Millennials are less likely to vote and participate in groups, church, or meetings.

Millennials may be more involved in service because of the proliferation of opportunities available to them. Many high schools and colleges require service hours and offer many opportunities to get involved. This is one of the reasons 18-23 year olds are more involved than the older half of their generation: they have access to more civic engagement opportunities.

There has been an increase in recruitment numbers for the PeaceCorps, AmeriCorps, and, recently, military service (though overall numbers for military service are down from previous generations). In fact, AmeriCorps applicants have tripled in the past two years, according to Gayle Baker of ourvalues.org. Due to financial times, and a desire to prolong adulthood, many choose national or international service as a way to purposefully spend a year or two while waiting for more job opportunities to become available.

Millennials volunteering numbers have been rising steadily, according to volunteeringinamerica.gov. The majority of Millennials gave their time to educational and youth service institutions in 2010.

Optimism

Millennials are characterized by their optimism, or as others may call it naivete. Millennials are optimistic about their economic futures, despite the fact that most of them are unhappy with our current salaries. 90% believe that they will eventually live a good (financially secure) life.

Millennials are continuing to follow their parents’ upbeat advice, “Follow your dreams.” Right now, that just means volunteering to find a job and remaining obstinately optimistic that our economic prospects will change.

Are you a millennial? Why do you volunteer? 

How do you engage millennial volunteers in your organization? What are the unique challenges or benefits that you see when trying to engage this generation? How can you capitalize on their optimism?

All facts, data, and information used in the article came from:

Pew Research Center (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2010/02/24/millennials-confident-connected-open-to-change/)

National Conference on Citizenship

(http://ncoc.net/226)

Generation Y or Millenials” by Gayle Baker, Marketing Director at ourvalues.org

volunteeringinamerica.org

Kat Southard (ksouthard@mavanetwork.org; 651.255.00556)

Member Outreach Coordinator

AmeriCorps*VISTA (trying to put off adulthood!)

Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration


High Skilled Volunteers: Transition into Retirement

October 14, 2011

Many individuals who have been with a company for a long time are being encouraged to find volunteer work as part of a transition between their paid work with the company and retirement. Some companies are able to pay their employee while they are in transition. Many of these individuals are looking for high-skilled volunteer positions, where they can put their knowledge and skills to work. If your organization is ready to work with individuals with a high degree of skills, and you are lucky enough to have one of these knowledgeable individuals to work at your organization, it becomes a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Michael Shay was one of these individuals. Michael was employed with General Mills for 18 year as a Senior Research Chemist and was responsible for the information systems. He interfaced with the IT staff to develop solutions that analyzed data. In January 2008, Michael was looking for an organization that he could put his skills to use.  Michael found Hammer, an organization that supports adults and children with developmental disabilities.  Why Hammer? Michael replied, “Everyone was so friendly and full of passion. It wasn’t just a job; it was about people’s lives.” Michael started working with Hammer’s IT department and developed training manuals, started building some applications for Hammer’s intranet, and start learning more about database management and virtualization. During that time, Michael also assisted MAVA’s Marketing & Technology Committee with their move to a new website and database management system. Michael volunteered with Hammer for 5 months and in June 2008, he was hired as a full-time staff in the IT dept. While hiring Michael was not anticipated when he started working with Hammer, hiring him was a natural choice when an opening became available.  Michael has since taken over the database management and also troubleshoots. He enjoys working at Hammer and states, “I have learned so much. There is a lot of looking towards the future, which is impressive in a non-profit organization.”

Many volunteers are looking for high-skilled positions. Some are no longer interested in the office work and want to offer more to organizations that are willing to put their skills to good use. Organizations can look at what is needed in their organization but more importantly, can look to the volunteer and find out about their passions, skills, and interests – and see how you can make it work within your organizations.  Non-profits organizations that put high-skilled volunteers to work doing what they are passionate about can make it a win-win situation for both parties.

 

Katie Bottiger

Director of Volunteer Resources

Hammer


Job Seekers + Nonprofits = Win-Win Situation

September 21, 2011

The focus of this blog post is not how to engage volunteers, but how they are able to positively affect nonprofits. MAVA has an excellent toolkit about how to recruit and support job-seeking volunteers. Now that we got that out of the way, let us continue on.

Nonprofits have had to find new and inventive ways to meet the obligations of their surrounding community with the budget deficit hanging like a black cloud over people’s heads. Financial support may be part of a successful nonprofit, but people physically helping at nonprofit is the other half of the puzzle. With all industries laying off workers and non-profits looking for ways to maximize their budgets, this situation creates a collaborative environment that can benefit each other and all people involved. Professionals who have been laid off are turning into one of the most helpful assets to nonprofits during this turbulent time.

Close to half of nonprofits ran a deficit in the 2009 operating year, 48% of Minnesotan nonprofits, according to Minnesota Nonprofit Economy Report from the Minnesota Council on Nonprofits. Yet, they were employing one out of every nine working professionals that same year. Concurrently, some ofMinnesota’s largest companies like Delta, BAE systems and Snyder Stores have laid off over 2,500 employees just in the 2010 fiscal year. With the nonprofit sector’s increasing need for assistance and the economy’s downsizing, these two variables can work together in ensuring that out of work professionals keep up their skills and expand their knowledge into a new field.

I am a research and numbers kind of girl: quantifiable results, reasonable calculations and measurable information from reputable sources put a smile on my face and a spring in my step, especially positive figures. Kat Southard mentioned before on this blog the statistics from the Volunteering inAmericawebsite, and I would like to expand upon this topic. Minnesotan volunteers have contributed $3.7 billion dollars of volunteer time from 2008 to 2010. To put this number into perspective, Twitter was worth $3.7 billion at the end of 2010, so the volunteering population ofMinnesotacontributed the amount of money to run a worldwide social networking service. On a small-scale, the average amount of money each volunteer hour is worth in Minnesota is $21.36 per hour (Independent Sector), and the annual amount of time a person volunteers in the Twin Cities is 40.8 hours or one week’s worth of work (Volunteering in America). Hypothetically:

$21.36 per hour x 40.8 hours per year = $871.488 per year

While the Volunteering inAmericasurvey is comprehensive, it does not have statistics particular to any type of volunteer. I would like to note that ANY nonprofit would be happy to have $871.49 put back into their organization.

Besides the cost factor, volunteering in local communities keeps talent in Minnesota. The government shut down this past summer was a wakeup call for the public sector and forced people to reevaluate their occupation. Some of the 22,000 people affected have spoken of moving to other areas outside of Minnesota for a more secure environment in order to avoid another government shut down(Click here to read the article). Minnesota has been proud of its numerous accomplishments in technology, business, environment and living standards, but this trend may discontinue if its valuable workforce flees to other states for jobs. A brain drain, an exodus of highly skilled workers, would not only hurt Minnesota’s economy but a lost investment in talent. By offering highly skilled volunteering positions, nonprofits challenge and engage this key group of individuals that strengthen their ties to the local community. Therefore, this action ensures that there is a greater possibility that these people will stay in the area. Volunteering, with or without a job, keeps an individual involved with social activities, local concerns and their fellow neighborhood members.

The most important aspect of this entire situation is that volunteering gives nonprofits the means to demonstrate their work to people who may not understand our love of community service. The best way to have a person outside the sector see the culture of nonprofits is to work alongside the nonprofit people. However, retaining talent inMinnesota, utilizing an idle workforce and supporting the community are nice bonuses too.

Alyssa Surges

AmeriCorps VISTA

Community Initiatives Coordinator

United Way of Olmsted County


Recognizing Different Models of Volunteerism

May 5, 2011

Traditionally the definition of volunteerism has included phrases like ongoing long-term,  planned-action, organizational context,  charitable in nature, and lacking expectation of compensation. And though these still can apply to volunteerism they seem to no longer define it. As volunteerism continually takes on new forms and attracts an increased variety of people, the science of finding, correctly placing and keeping each volunteer a satisfied member of a program has morphed from a game of checkers to a game of chess. Not only are there more types of pieces to manage, the strategies used for each piece changes over time. Although each volunteer program cannot be expected to be a perfect fit for every volunteer, by understanding your current ‘program personality,’ learning about each volunteers’ needs and how these needs will change over time, you can optimize your program’s success even in this new volunteerism environment.

Despite the frustration that might come with this ‘game change’ for volunteer management professionals, it is important to recognize these changes and find a way to adapt our programs so we can appeal to and manage this new conglomerate of volunteers efficiently. The consequences if we don’t could include decreased volunteer numbers, lack of diversity in the program, higher rates of turnover, or a decreased ability to support our non-profit through volunteer service.

Program Personality vs. Volunteer Types

In “The Multi-Paradigm Model of Volunteering,” the authors divide programs and volunteers into four categories, based on their being either objective or subjective, and being either radical or stable. These categories are: traditional, serendipitous, social-change, and entrepreneurial. Below I’ve focused on using these four types to describe volunteer programs, giving us the opportunity to compare who we are as a program to individual volunteer types we interact with regularly. (individual types are explained fully at http://www.volunteertoday.com/PDF/multiparadigm%20POLF.pdf). Hopefully making this comparison will help us figure out who naturally fits well in our model and how we can increase satisfaction in those volunteers that do not naturally do so.

Traditional (Objective/Stable) – You provide consistent ongoing volunteer roles that are predictable. Changes are made to your program infrequently and current policies and procedures are based off of those from the past. You expect volunteers to stick to the volunteer role they were originally given and thrive when everyone does what they say they are going to do. When you do undergo change you allow your volunteers, who have a lot of experience and knowledge help steer the direction. You are having a hard time finding a way to fit highly-skilled, episodic and mandated volunteers into your program. Your program reacts to organization needs. Recognition takes the form of public thanks and traditional banquet and award ceremonies.

Serendipitious (Subjective/Stable) – You have some regular volunteer roles but volunteers can easily come and go as they please and regular volunteer hours are not a requirement to participate in your program. You have a variety of one-time or episodic opportunities to accommodate volunteers who want to apply a specific skill or work on a specific project. There is a good balance between making sure both the non-profit and each volunteer is comfortable and allowed to move at its own pace. You sometimes have an issue with ongoing volunteers getting upset by other volunteers who come and go. Your program focuses on making sure your volunteers are enjoying the process of volunteering and making sure they feel like they are making a difference.

Social-change (Objective/Radical) – Your program isn’t afraid to move things around on a regular basis to test if you can improve your current state. You aren’t afraid of change although you are determined to make changes that are for the betterment of the volunteer community versus for individual needs. There is a plan and structure behind each change and although you change things often, the changes are measured and success from each change is looked at objectively. You expect volunteers to trust your motives as a change agent and support change without necessarily knowing the full context behind them and run into issues when volunteers’ problem solving efforts do not match your program’s direction. Volunteer roles typically expect much and look for highly motivated people to fill them.

Entrepeneurial (Subjective/Radical) – Your goal above all else is to do good and your focus is on seeing a problem and fixing it, without necessarily doing so in a structured way or using a proven model of success. Independent from other non-profits and possibly other departments in your non-profit, you still can work with other organized groups to accomplish your goals. You are open to volunteers having major input on how you serve the community and actually rely on their creativity and ability to adapt at a moments notice to drive your program forward.

Maintaining Volunteer Satisfaction For Each Type Over Time

In “The Three-Stage Model of Volunteers’ Duration of Service,” it states that volunteers find satisfaction and their decision to stay in that role from different things depending on how long they have been in their volunteer position. By looking at volunteer types, and what will increase their satisfaction in three stages, a program can optimize volunteer service duration and program success.

Stage 1: In the initial stages of volunteering, a person’s service duration can be predicted by how much they think their needs will be met. They focus on the positive outcomes of their new volunteer role whether it be helping their community or the tangible benefits they will receive for joining the role. Traditional volunteers are motivated by promises of recognition events and a smooth volunteer intake process. Serendipitious volunteers will be made happy when given the opportunity to own their own process as they start a project. Social change volunteers will start in a role when they see a strategic plan for the program or organization. And Entrepreneurial volunteers will enjoy getting to a lot of space to make decisions.

Stage 2: While volunteering in their first year, volunteers notice the negative outcomes of volunteering and their service duration is dependent on if they believe the positive outcomes outweighs these newly realized negative ones; if so they will continue to volunteer.

In the 2nd stage Traditional volunteers will have cause to leave if a stable and very regular role cannot be obtained. Serendipitous volunteers will struggle if they are not given flexible schedules or too many policies. Social Change volunteers will have issues here if they are made to do something in a way they see as inefficient. Entrepreneurial volunteers will stop working well if they are placed in a generic role that doesn’t allow them to have a real effect on the organization or the mission.

Stage 3: Beyond a year, volunteers have a stronger chance of remaining in their role if they begin to identify their volunteering as a fundamental part of who they are, regardless of the initial positive or negative outcomes they previously identified or relied on for decision-making. Here although a volunteer might identify negative aspects to their volunteer role, their personal link to the role keeps them in it. If a volunteer doesn’t naturally match your program type it is difficult to have them reach this point with you unless they have found a supervisor that understand their individual needs or they intensely identify with the mission of the organization.

Knowing what affects a volunteer’s longevity changes over time, as well as what type of volunteer each person is can help you navigate through the ever-growing number or supervision or recognition tactics you may have to utilize in any given day. Although the variety of volunteers is growing, the amount of time and effort you use to manage them can remain the same if you just know what you are dealing with.

Further Understanding Your Program

To further determine what kind of program you are and how you can address a more diverse group of volunteers, ask yourself these questions. Based on your answers think about how your program personality is affecting who is joining and staying with your program. Who might it be pushing away and how can you adapt?

  • How open to change are you?
  • How structured is your program?
  • How able/willing are you to accommodate individual volunteer wants and needs?
  • How many different types of opportunities do you have (ongoing, episodic, one-time, informal, group, residential)?
  • What types of people seem to be attracted to your program?
  • What types of volunteers thrive in your program?
  • What level of interpersonal interaction do you supply to volunteers?
  • How controversial does the public perceive your non-profit to be?
  • How dependent on volunteers is your non-profit?
  • How well does your program recognize volunteers equally regardless of their time commitment or level of involvement?
  • How important does the general public view your non-profit’s goals when compared to other non-profits?
  • How well do you measure prospective volunteers’ organizational commitment during your intake process?
  • How often do you gauge your volunteers’ satisfaction and measure it against how long they have been with the organization?

Resources:

http://www.idealist.org/info/VolunteerMgmt/Models

http://www.volunteertoday.com/PDF/multiparadigm%20POLF.pdf

http://www.ucm.es/info/voluntariado_I%2BG/files/PublicacionesThethreestagemodelofvolunteers.pdf

Molly Kennedy Lageson

Volunteer Resources Specialist, Science Museum of Minnesota