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Friday, September 28, 2012


Welcome to the first issue of the Volunteer Management Network e-newsletter! Our quarterly e-newsletter will share resources regarding volunteer management, highlight successes of state and local LTCO volunteer programs, announce upcoming training opportunities, introduce new NORC resources and provide quick tips. We encourage you to share your volunteer management best practices, send us questions or suggest topics you would like us to address.

This issue is devoted to discussing building and assessing a volunteer Ombudsman program. The resources in this issue will
provide tips and tools helpful to state and local LTC Ombudsmen programs with established volunteer programs as well as LTCOPs developing a volunteer program.

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What is the Value of a Volunteer Ombudsman?

Do you know what your volunteer program is worth? Many non-profits organizations are familiar with the Independent Sector’s estimated value of volunteer time and will use that estimate to demonstrate the financial value of their volunteers’ time annually. Using this estimate to calculate an overall financial value of the hours contributed by volunteer Ombudsmen is effective; however, some programs may want to explore this further by calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) of a volunteer program.

Generally speaking, a ROI formula is (Volunteer Value-Program Cost) divided by Program Cost. Calculating the ROI of your volunteer program to determine the financial value of your program is helpful, but the ROI alone may not show the entire picture of the actual “worth” of volunteers. Partnering the financial benefit of a volunteer program with the actual stories of their impact (e.g. using de-identifying case examples and data from your program) would be the most effective
way to show the true value of volunteer LTCO. A blog entry from
Energize, Inc.discusses this further.

The following resources discuss the ROI process for volunteer programs in greater detail:

Spreading the Word: Key Learnings and Findings (Part 4)
The Boomer Solution: Skilled Talent to Meet Nonprofit Needs
The Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative "Make a Case" page

Illustrating both the financial value and actual impact of your volunteer program is a highly effective way to demonstrate the true value of a volunteer program. This information could be used a variety of ways, including; advocating for additional program funding, protecting current funding, justifying travel or other expenses, recruiting new volunteers and recognizing the work of volunteers.

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Self-Evaluation Tool for Volunteer Programs

NORC’s Self-Evaluation and Continuous Quality Improvement Tools for state and local programs have a section dedicated to the evaluation of Ombudsman volunteer management (H. Volunteer Management on page 19 of the state LTCO tool and page 27 of the local LTCO tool). The volunteer management section addresses the following areas for self-evaluation: recruitment, training, supervision, support, retention, recognition and treatment of staff.

The self-evaluation questions (indicators) asked in this section are applicable to state or local LTCO with established volunteer programs or those developing a volunteer program, as the questions focus on the skills necessary for effective volunteer Ombudsman program management. Some of the indicators may seem basic, but they require the user to fully assess each aspect of their program often identifying areas that need improvement that they originally felt were sound (e.g. developing a systemic recruiting process, matching volunteers with jobs that correspond with their skills and experience,
regular program evaluation that includes volunteer input).

To demonstrate how to use this tool NORC released a webinar titled, "Program Effectiveness: Self-Evaluation Tools for Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs" and an instructional brief (state and local). The webinar and instructional briefs provide an overview of the self-evaluation tools, share experiences of local and state Ombudsmen that have used the tool and introduce the new mini-tool.

The mini-tool (stateand local) is a condensed version of the original Self-Evaluation Tool used for a quick, initial assessment of a state or local program to identify areas for improvement and areas of strength. Once those program areas are identified, the user can move on to the comprehensive evaluation tool for an in-depth assessment of each

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Tell Us What You Need

As we create new materials, develop webinars and add resources to our website regarding Ombudsman volunteer management, we
need to know what is important to you. We’ve created a brief 11-question survey seeking your input as we expand upon our Volunteer Management Network resources and evaluate the success of our current activities and materials.

To complete the questionnaire, please click here. We would appreciate a response by Monday, October 15, 2012.

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Join Our NEW Listserv!

We've created a Volunteer Management Network Google Group. This group is a private listserv for Ombudsmen that manage volunteers and will serve as a forum for discussion, questions, highlighting resources and sharing challenges and successes.  To join please email Amity Overall-Laib.

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