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Friday, March 1, 2013

Volume 1, Issue 3

FREE or Low- Cost Volunteer Recognition Ideas

Since National Volunteer Week is approaching (April 21-27) and LTCOPs may be planning annual volunteer recognition events or other ways to recognize and thank volunteers for their service we wanted to highlight some free or low-cost recognition awards, programs and resources. Visit the NORC website for additional resources (NORC Compendium, Chapter 3) and LTCO best practices regarding volunteer recognition.

The President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA): This award recognizes volunteers that have achieved the required hours of service in a 12-month period or cumulative hours over a lifetime. There are three award levels based on service hours (bronze, silver and gold) and the award includes a personalized certificate, a congratulatory letter from President Obama and the award pin. To participate in this award program, your program needs to become a certifying organization and enter your volunteers’ hours in the online PVSA system. The price depends on the type of award ordered: $2.00 each (lapel pin only), $3.75 each (certificate and letter) or $4.75 each (pin, certificate and letter).

Special Video Message: Share a recorded video message of appreciation from the State LTCO, Director of the State Unit on Aging or another individual during your volunteer appreciation event, on your program’s website and via social media.

Letter of Appreciation: Share a signed letter of appreciation from your State LTCO, Governor or another individual with your volunteers.

Governor’s Volunteer Service Award or State Agency Volunteer Service Award: See if your state has a Governor’s Volunteer Service Award and/or state agency volunteer service award or recognition. Some of these awards are based on nominations and others are based on years of service or other criteria.

Press release or letter to the editor: Submit a press release or letter to the editor during National Volunteer Week recognizing an individual or your entire program’s volunteer service.

Monthly or Quarterly Updates: Share your program’s data with the volunteers each month or quarter so they can see how their service impacts the program and residents you serve. For example, the Oregon Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program shares examples of LTCO advocacy in their Long-Term Care Ombudsman Outcomes document.

Show their Success: Create a PowerPoint, Prezi presentation, video or another type of visual media to share pictures of the volunteers, success stories, interviews with residents and family members about the importance of volunteer LTCO and play it during the appreciation event, post on your website and/or social media. Feature a volunteer in your program's newsletter.

Daily Points of Light Award: This award honors individuals and groups creating meaningful change in communities across America. Each weekday, one volunteer or volunteer effort is recognized with the Daily Point of Light Award.

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Volunteer Management Resources

The need for "volunteer management skills" was among the top three priorities identified by LTCO responding to our 2012 Volunteer LTCO Management Questionnaire. There is a wealth of general volunteer management resources available online and the following is a short list of available websites. If you are aware of other helpful volunteer management websites or resources not included on this list, please share it with us.

Aging Network's Volunteer Collaborative:This resource center provides volunteer management information specific to the older adult volunteer field and is funded and supported by AoA, n4a, NASUAD and other partners.

Energize, Inc.: An international volunteerism consulting and training firm. Their website has a variety of free volunteer management resources, including information regarding ethics, motivation, interviewing, training, screening and supervision.

National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government

ServiceLeader.org: Information for volunteers and volunteer leaders provided by the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.

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Volunteer Management Blogs

Do you blog or follow blogs? You may want to add some blogs regarding volunteer management to your reading list. Blogs provide you with quick, timely information and often from a variety of writers if the blog features guest bloggers. Blogs will often provide links to additional resources regarding the topic discussed. The Aging Network's Volunteer Collaborative has two blogs, Engaging Wisdom and Making a Difference. You may also want to check out Energize, Inc's blog News in the Volunteer Field, Tobi's Nonprofit Management blog and the Engaging Volunteers: VolunteerMatch blog.     

Have you considered starting a blog for your LTCOP? Using a blog you could share information regarding long-term care with the community (e.g. how to find a nursing home, how to start a family council), share resources with your volunteer ombudsmen and recognize your volunteers' service. Several blog hosting sites are free and some have the option to create private blogs so you can control who has access to the content. To get started, this blog provides information about the top 10 free blog websites.

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Quick Tip- Get Organized!

First impressions are important and individuals seeking to give their time and energy to a volunteer position deserve to receive a prompt response to their inquiry, a clear understanding of the volunteer role and responsibilities and a streamlined screening and training process. It is critical for your volunteer's experience and your program's success to have an organized intake, screening and training process.

As a volunteer states in Tobi Johnson's free e-book, "Be organized. As a volunteer you want your time spent doing something productive. I volunteer a couple times a year at the local food bank. We get signed in and are working in 10 minutes. At the end of the day the supervisor tallies up all the pounds of food we've bagged, boxed and tagged. What a sense of accomplishment!"

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News from the Network...

This new article will appear in every future issue in order to highlight your work and "news from the network". We invite and encourage you to send us stories of your success and best practices regarding volunteer management so we can learn from you and share your experience with your peers.

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