Monthly Archives: January 2014

Taking time to give yourself some education

So January is at an end and you are probably starting to gear up to the spring season of budgets, workplans, special events and volunteer recognition.

This is also the time that you should start thinking about re-energizing yourself, your staff and your volunteers…so how are you going to do this?

It is really important to keep up to date with the trends and changes in volunteer engagement and what better way than to take some time to learn.

So here are some ideas to help you out:

Local associations are always providing opportunities for education within their monthly meetings, not only can you go to your own AVA meetings but you should also look at what others are doing

Conferences are coming up including the PAVRO conference in Ontario which will be held in May, so check that out

Take a look at what the colleges are offering as well, and see if there is a course that you think will help

What about getting some of your colleagues together who have common interests or challenges and hiring a workshop facilitator to come and deliver a customized workshop for your needs

Organize a workshop for staff and volunteers in your organization that work with volunteers and bring in a workshop facilitator to help you deal with your specific needs. For example: managing special event and committee volunteers

Provide a workshop for your volunteers as a tool for volunteer recognition ( what a great way to say thank you by providing education…your volunteers will love it)

These are just a few ideas…..for more ideas give me a call or email me and I will try and help you come up with a unique experience for yourself, your staff or volunteers

Take a look at my list of workshops as well, they can all be customized to your needs

If you dream it, you can do it


New Year and New Challenges and Opportunities: What are volunteer programs challenged with and what are opportunities they should explore

Have you taken time to take stock of what you find challenging in managing a volunteer program? Do your colleagues face the same? Are there some common challenges that have arisen that are common for our field? What are some of the opportunities that we can embrace to address some of these challenges?

Below is a list of what I think are a few rising or persistent challenges and some opportunities that are worth addressing this year.

Maybe this is an opportunity to build some short term and long term strategies to address these.


  • Recruitment and succession planning
  • Technology
  • Staff and volunteer relations
  • Risk
  • Looking at roles that impact clients and how to work with staff
  • Competition
  • Types of volunteers and roles (retention)
  • Communication
  • Internal and external engagement
  • Building partnerships both internal and external
  • Raising the profile through innovation
  • Using social media to attract different volunteers
  • Collaboration through team building
  • Using tools to measure activities and evaluate the cost
  • Using technology to educate volunteers, staff and patients
  • Working with programs  and management to raise internal profile

Ideas for strategies:

Review existing program and supports, gaps and opportunities (SWAT)
Build a succession plan for volunteer engagement including coaching and mentorship
Take a pulse
Survey and focus groups
Look for networking opportunities and look for best practices amongst your peers
Intensify your marketing and presence to encourage volunteer engagement
Develop more education and training opportunities for life long learning for volunteers
Look for ways to develop more cross program, department and organizational collaboration
Be innovative and creative, how do you know things won’t work unless you try
Be persistent and methodological…..remember the hare and the tortoise
If you need any help, feel free to reach out to me at
Happy planning

High Skilled Volunteers Are An Untapped Market You Should Be Tapping

Traditional volunteering where an organization has needs, posts those needs and interviews based on those needs has always been the way most volunteer coordinators manage their volunteer program but things are changing drastically.

High unemployment rates and early retirement is breeding a new kind of volunteer. This volunteer is highly skilled and wants to both use those skills and learn new skills. Are you ready for this kind of volunteer?

Why am I writing about this? I am not sure if volunteer coordinators are addressing this opportunity to its maximum potential?

Here are a few suggestions that you can do to attract, place and retain these types of volunteers?

Have a plan and create a model of success by creating buy-in from your staff and current volunteers

Know what is out there and where you can access high skilled volunteers and target market

Be able to demonstrate to the volunteer how you can support their journey with them and why and how they can make a difference

Look for opportunities from within to create interesting projects that they can work on

Share stories of success internally and externally

Be creative and find new venues to recruit

Shift your interview process into a conversation so that you and the volunteer can learn from each other and find common ground and opportunities

Understand the motivation of the volunteer so that you are both clear about expectations

Build a team that can guide the process of change and attract key members that can lead through enthusiasm

Remove obstacles by developing a strategy for engagement and assessing and addressing the risks involved

Change any necessary systems or structures that will create obstacles to success (application process, interview process, training etc….)

Develop performance measures and evaluate success and challenges so that you can accurately understand effectiveness and efficiency in your program


Create short term win and celebrate and tell stories

Finally, don’t give up…ask for advice….learn from each other

Feel free to contact me at for more information or advice

New and exciting workshops for 2014

Happy New Year to All

There is a frost in the air but a passion in the heart for jump starting the new year with a fresh series of workshops designed especially for your needs.

Over the past few months, I have been asked about working with committees and boards. One of the biggest challenges is attracting the right board or committee member and harnessing their enthusiasm so that they are contributing at capacity and gaining what they need from the position.

This is an area that many nonprofits struggle with. I have developed a workshop that targets how to find the right volunteer, how to interview them and how to keep them engaged.


Coffee tea or the right volunteer board or committee

Is it difficult to find the right committee or board member?
Once you have found them, are they contributing at their optimum?
Are you losing the ones you want to stay and the ones you want to leave won’t ?

There are so many questions to ask and this workshop will help answer some of the questions on attracting and engaging specialized cohorts for high level, committee, special events and boards.

Volunteerism is changing with the economic, social and technological changes. There are many specialized cohort such as young employees, youth, highly skilled volunteers out there looking to make a difference but their needs vary. They are interested in sitting on boards, working on committees, sharing their talents and learning as they engage.

This interactive workshop will look at who they are, what they want, where to find them and how to keep them

Learning outcomes

Understanding the unique expectations for each group
How to attract volunteers to your boards , high level and committees
How to retain volunteers through the volunteer management cycle
What kinds of recognition works for each group, where one size does not fill all