Maximizing the Strategic Impact Of Your Volunteer Program – Closed Captioned

Maximizing the Strategic Impact Of Your Volunteer Program – Closed Captioned


STACY:
Am I starting? WOMAN:
Yes, you can get started. STACY:
I can get started, okay. Well welcome everybody. It’s kind of strange not to
be able to see any of you, but I understand there are
hundreds of virtual people out there in the world. That’s what
they’re telling me, anyway. So my name’s Stacy, and I am going to be talking
today about maximizing the strategic impact of
your volunteer program in your organization. So I’ve pitched this
presentation at senior managers, at executive directors, at CEOs, at boards,
but it’s also really, hopefully, a valuable thing for people
who are actually coordinating and managing
volunteers to see, because this is the kind of
thing that I talk to your senior managers
and your boards, and your CEOs about, so hopefully you’ll get a
sense of how you can present your own work and the
value of your own work in the organization
that you’re working with. So, this is me. I am the Executive Director of Community Volunteer
Connections, which is a volunteer centre
out in Coquitlam, BC, Canada. I’m also the Vice President
of Volunteer BC, which is the umbrella group
for volunteer centres across BC, and there’s about
25 of us that are active. My background is I have
a Masters in Counselling, and I have 10 years
experience working directly in volunteer engagement, and specifically around
strategic volunteer community deployment, which is fancy words for
‘I run a volunteer centre.’ I’m also a very good aunt, as you can see I put rocks
on the face of my small niece, which I think makes me
an expert at aunting, that’s my story and
I’m sticking to it. So I thought I would start off with the classic
definition of terms. Strategic. So strategic is relating
to the identification of long-term or overall aims
and interests and the means of achieving them. And I’ve pulled
this definition, not just to be annoying, because I know this is
something that almost every PowerPoint
presentation starts with. But really I want to give you
the sense that what this is about when we’re talking
about volunteer engagement, we’re talking about where
you want your organization to be in 3 years,
5 years, 10 years. This is how volunteer
engagement relates to the future of your organization, and becomes part of the plans
that might take years for you as an organization to
really nail down and achieve. The kinds of strategic goals
that organizations set for themselves are things like
creating a brand and a mission that’s easily recognized
and supported by the general public, so there’s a lot of marketing
that goes into there, there’s a lot of strategic
thought that goes into there, you might be want to be the
trusted authority in your area of influence with
key decision makers, so if there is a question
about your area of expertise, you want the
government to come to you. You wan the school
board to come to you, and find out
what should be done. You want to be able to
attract and retain high performing staff. You want to be able to sustain
funding and resources that allow your
organization to thrive, but all of these strategic
goals are there for a reason. They’re there to allow
your organization to make the impact necessary
to change the world. That’s what you’re going for. So whatever it is, whatever your
mission and your vision is, all your strategic goals have
to do with making that impact that you need in order to
change the world to meet your mission and vision. Volunteers are your
impact generators, and this is what they are
as a strategic resource. So they are a key resource
in any strategy that you have. The research shows us, and this is research from
the Canadian government, that volunteer programs, having volunteer programs
expand the impact of your organization by 60%, and we have some really
recent research that’s coming out of Dela– oh, I’m gonna pronounce their
name wrong and they’re gonna be mad at me. Ugh, Deloitte? I don’t know, anyway, these guys who
you’ve all heard of, they just did a 2010
research paper that looked at organizations that think about
volunteer engagement as a strategic part of
their organization, and I’d like to contrast that
vision of volunteer engagement with what you may know
as the magical elf theory of volunteers, which is volunteers are
magical elves that are free, because they work for free, and therefore you can kind
of call up your coordinator of volunteers and say I need
20 volunteers tomorrow, is that going
to be a problem? And they will just magically
have them appear because volunteers are magical. Having worked in the volunteer
centre world for a long time and interacted with many
managers of volunteers, if you’re not in fact a
manager of volunteers, you may be surprised to know
that that pretty much is the most common
request in the field. But we know that
volunteers are people, they’re not magical elves, that they take a lot of work
and energy to organize and to get the best out
of what they offer for your organization, and the organizations that
really take that seriously and build volunteer engagement
into their organizational planning as a strategy, they excel at that
volunteer engagement. They leverage volunteers
and skills at all levels, so at the front line they
engage volunteers well, in their fund raising
they engage volunteers well, in their consulting they
engage volunteers well, they engage them
all up and down, all of the needs that you
have in an organization. They have a 600% increase
in the return on investment, in terms of what their
volunteers are able to do, so that’s 600% more return
on investment by having your volunteers managed
strategically versus having them managed in a
more ad hoc fashion, and they can more
effectively address needs. You see organizations
run much leaner, so it takes about half the
budget to run the same kinds of programs, and they are better
positioned to grow, adapt, or sustain. So when you look at all
those advantages of volunteer engagement as a strategy, you can see that those kinds
of advantages really do cross all of the kinds of
strategic goals you might have in some organizations. I want to talk a little bit
about exactly how volunteers become the hidden impact
generator in your organization, and I’m gonna look at
Human Resource contributions, financial contributions, public relations contributions,
and quality contributions. So… Human Resources. First of all, your volunteers
obviously provide direct Human Resources, so they provide
frontline program delivery. If they are on
your crisis lines, they are your
crisis line workers. If they are in your food bank, they’re helping people, they’re actually
giving out the food. If they’re on your
Meals on Wheels program, they’re driving around, they’re delivering the food. So in a lot of ways they
really are the very front line of what you’re
doing in the community. They’re also very
involved in fundraising work. Those are both the ones that
your organization claims in terms of they’re running
your own fundraising event, but they’re also lots of third
party fundraising that happens, where you just provide them
some information and a couple of logos and maybe
some collateral to use for
their fundraising, and then they just go
out and throw a party and give you the money, which is pretty awesome. Your volunteers also provide
a direct contribution to the governance of your
organization when they come onto your organization
as a board director. But that’s not the only way
that volunteers become Human Resources for
your organization. Volunteers become staff
on a fairly regular basis. So what we know
about that is that, we haven’t got a ton
of research on that, but we know that from talking
to organizations that many many people who are working
in your organization have been volunteers for your
organization in the past. The better your organization
is at engaging volunteers, often the more likely you’re
gonna see volunteers hired on as staff, and there’s some
obvious reasons for that. They’re pre-trained,
but more importantly, they are already committed
to your cause and of your organization, they already
have a heart for it, and I want to comment for a
second on the fact that we don’t have a lot of research
about the rate at which volunteers are converted
into staff of non profit organizations. It’s interesting to me
that these are not questions that we study. That’s a part of how I think
of the gap in understanding the impact that volunteers
really have on our organizations is that in a lot of these ways
that volunteers contribute, we aren’t tracking that, and I want to talk a little bit
more about that in finance, in volunteers and finances, because that’s where
it becomes very obvious. So I’d like you
to ask yourself: if you think about
your volunteers, and many organizations
have hundreds or thousands of volunteers,
do you know, can you tell me off the
top of your head how much your volunteers as
a subsection donated to your organization last year? If you went in and you asked
your fund developers, could they tell you how much
the average volunteer in your organization donated
to your organization? Could they tell you how
much the average donation of volunteers compares to
the overall average, or to the average
of non-volunteers? Is it more? Is it less? Do you know the projective
lifetime giving of givers who are in the giving
range of your volunteers, and do you know if your
volunteers have a bigger lifetime giving average? These are all questions that
when you start to think of them, give you a sense of how
poorly understood the linkages are between how your
volunteers are actually contributing to
your organization. There’s a myth out there that
people give their time instead of their money, but that’s a myth, that’s just something that
sounded good at one point. The fact is though is your
volunteers are people who are passionate about the cause
that your organization is advancing, and if they’re passionate, they’re often going to want to
contribute in multiple ways. So these are key
questions to be asking, and to be finding
out the answers to. Volunteers and
public relations. So one of the things that
you’re trying to do as an organization is build
a trusted brand identity. Built an identity as
an organization that is responsive in the community, that understands
the community, and that your mission and vision
for community is valuable, and really the right thing for
your community to be embracing, whether that is you want to
see no kid grow up in poverty, or you want to see
restorative justice happen, none of those things that we
want to achieve as non profit organizations, happens without the good
will and the agreement of the community at large. Your volunteers are
your key ambassadors. This is a volunteer who was
volunteering at Elizabeth Fry Toronto, and has been volunteering
there for over 20 years. She’s lovely, she’s like,
a great ambassador, and she’s not necessarily
tapped as an ambassador, although this person is
because that’s how I found her, but look at what she says:
“Friends often say they admire me for what I do. They say I inspire them to think
about doing something similar. This makes me so happy.” This is a person who wants to
talk to her friends about what she does, who wants to share your
vision for what community should be,
and who does so. So imagine the power of that
as you begin to work that into your branding and
your marketing plans, as you think about how to
use that kind of passion and commitment to your
cause through social media, as you start to think about
how you might train her or assist her or mentor
her to be a better spokesperson for your cause, and imagine what happens if
you don’t invest that time in your volunteers. Because whether or not you would
ask them to or direct them to, they are going to talk
about your organization, they are going to talk
about their experience at your organization. And they’re going to talk
about it in very personal and influential and
persuasive ways, because when volunteers are
engaged with your organization, they’re doing it
from the heart. Every volunteer
is an ambassador. They’re an
ambassador for your mission, for your system of values, for your beliefs about how
the world should be different. And that is a huge key
resource for any of your marketing and
public relation goals. I’m gonna, I left this one for
last because in a lot of ways I think it’s really the
key and the most important contribution that volunteers
make to organizations. Volunteers humanize
organizations. Organizations, they have
a real tenancy to become bureaucratic and hierarchical. It’s the nature of putting
together an organization. An organization is really
about controlling everything that happens for a purpose, and the purpose is
your mission and vision, so it’s not a bad purpose, but it does mean that
efficiency is often going to have a high priority, and volunteers are not
necessarily there to make your operations more efficient, they’re there to make
your operations more human. One of the stories I have that
really resonated with me when I heard it was we have
a program that works with residence in a
mental health facility. The mental health facility in
our community is really well run. It’s a beautiful location, it’s in the middle of nature, the staff there are
incredibly committed to seeing people recover from mental
illness to see them become more socially engaged, community engaged, to get people
back on their feet, working and living
independently in the community. They’re really passionate
about that, the nurses, the doctors,
the occupational therapists. They don’t have a lot of time. Our volunteer program, and there’s about 20 volunteers
that’s in our program, they have time. So what their role is is
to come in and to build relationships with people. So we have in a
69 bed facility, they typically are
connected with at least 35 of the residents, and there’s at least another
10 on the list of residence that they’re making regular
contact with in order to encourage them
to get connected. So they have a pretty good
reach into the residence. And there are always
new people coming in, and connecting with
them is difficult. We had one volunteer
who, her shift, her two hour shift was to
sit beside a new woman who had come to the residences who had
not spoken a word to anyone, not the whole time she had
been there in the two weeks that she’d been there, but she coloured a lot. And so our volunteer brought
some paper and some pencil crayons and sat down, and just coloured
beside her for two hours. There’s no nurse that would
have had the time to do that, there’s no doctor that would
have had the time to do that, but our volunteer, that’s what she’s there for. And she wasn’t quite sure that
she was doing anything useful, but at the end
of that two hours, the resident turned to her
and handed her the colouring that she had been doing
and said “thank you for
colouring with me, ” and that was the first words
that that woman had said in that facility
since she arrived. The power of having the time
to connect is huge in the work that we do, and that is what your
volunteers bring to the table. They also bring that passion
and joy for the work that it’s easy to lose that in the
day to day grind of the work that we do. They are there
because they want to be. Some days I’m not here
because I want to be. (laughing) I’m here at work
because I have to be. But my volunteers are always
there because they want to be, and you can ride off of
that energy if you engage volunteers well, to improve your staff moral
as well as to improve the overall quality of the
services that you provide to the people you serve. Volunteers are very
responsible for bringing life and humanity into
our organizations, and without that, you can’t generate the impact
you need in order to change the world. So there’s this really neat
thing coming out of the States right now. It’s called the
Reimagining Service movement, and it’s really embraced the
idea that volunteerism is a strategic resources, and it’s gone past the idea
that it’s a strategic resource for the organization, and talks about it as a
strategic resource for the community as a whole. And that makes sense, because volunteers are people
who not only do they believe in what your
organization believes in, they believe that the
community as a whole is better when they are out there
working to improve it. So they’re not sitting back
and letting other people do the work of having
a great community. They look at the
world and they say “Oh, I’d like this to change, I think I’ll go change it.” That’s who these people are, and it’s an amazing thing
that there are so many of them. The Reimagining Service
Summits approach looks at that energy of volunteerism
and decides you know what? We are all responsible for
making sure that that kind of energy and spirit of self
sufficiency and ‘I can do it, and if I see
something wrong I can come in and make a difference’, that that resource is
something that the whole community benefits from, and the whole community
should also defend and support, so they look at it like
‘well let’s bring together all of the players
in the community, let’s bring together non
profits and businesses and education and government, and we’ll wrap it around
this volunteer spirit in our community and support it, and make it more effective’. They encourage organizations
to make volunteering of course a strategic function, not kind of an add on, like we have these programs
and it would be great to have volunteers run them so we’re
just going to add those in. They encourage the
community as a whole to have conversations about where
volunteers should be engaged, and to begin building
partnerships across organizations, and across
businesses and non profits, because business are now
wanting to see and be seen as more community engaged, and what better way to do
that than to encourage and support the volunteerism
of their employees? Principle four is
the key key one, and this is the one that a lot
of times it’s easy to miss. In order to get a
return on your investment, you have to invest. So you can’t get a return on
something you haven’t invested. And volunteer resources
takes investment of your organization staff time, and of your
organization’s resources. And this is a message that
the Reimagining Surface Groups movement is trying to get out, not just to organizations, because a lot of
organizations know this, know that you can’t organize
the work of 200 volunteers without having staff
time attached to that work, we know that when we’re running
non profit organizations. A lot of times our
funders don’t know that. They label it as
administration and they would like to see volunteers
do things all themselves. That is a nice
thing in theory, but the fact is that if
you’re running a large non profit organization, you want to be able to go
past having self organizing groups of volunteers, which may be 10-15 volunteers
at a time can self-organize. If you want to
scale up your results, you need to have some kind of
a staff model where your staff can really leverage the
impact of your volunteers by providing great recruitment, great management,
great supervision, and really make that
experience good for both the organization and the
volunteers involved. In order to get a return,
you have to invest. So this is a message
that at Volunteer BC, we’re certainly telling
our organizations that, but organizations tell us “Yeah, we already know, can you talk to our
funders about that?” So we’re talking to
their funders about that, so that’s really where, if you’re a
funder on the line, we’re happy to talk to
anybody at any time about what it actually
takes in terms of cash and staff resources to run an
effective volunteer program. Because it does
take an investment, it’s just that it’s
worth the investment. So let’s talk a little bit about
how we generally talk about volunteer programs and
demonstrate the investment, and then let’s talk about how we
really should be talking about the impact of our
volunteer program and the kinds of
investments we need. So, thinking about your
volunteer program, whether you’re running your
volunteer program or you’re a CEO or a senior manager and
you’ve got people who are coordinating volunteers for
your organization who will report to you. What do you know? There generally what
you know is the basics. Your program involves
60 volunteers a week, and those
volunteers contribute 12,500 hours per year, so you might know
that kind of thing. What you don’t know is
your impact statistics, and if you do know
your impact statistics, awesome, please contact me, I will put you on
a list of amazing, I’ll give you a gold badge, because this is really
amazing stuff when you find out about it. So an impact
statistic might be, it’s actually stuff you can
just calculate with math a lot of the time. Our volunteers contributed 12,500 volunteer hours in 2015, a human resource value
of $187,500, and that’s just
timesing it by minimum wage, or by $10 an hour, or there’s different ways of
calculating the value of that, you might look at it and go
‘well how much would I have to pay somebody if I
was getting them to do this particular work,’ and then
times it by that, and suddenly you’ve
got a dollar value, and generally the
dollar value will be quite surprisingly large. Our volunteers distributed 17,000 pounds of food to
families in need this year. Wow. That tells you the impact
of what your volunteers did, that’s a pretty big impact. Our volunteers helped 268
students succeed in school this year, with an average rise of 1.5
letter grades per student. Wow! That’s kind of impressive. These are all statistics
that talk about what your volunteers actually
accomplished in the year, and when the basic statistics
stop at what they did, the impact statistics tells you
the difference that they made, so if you can begin thinking
about the difference you want your volunteers to make
and start tracking that, you’re gonna have a much
better argument for why you need investment in
your volunteer program. And what do you know
about investment in your volunteer resources? So, there’s a ratio
that you want to know: how many hours per week is your
Manager of Volunteer investing in making volunteer
resources hum? And then your output is your
hours generated by volunteers, so this is where knowing
your hours is really useful. Now you can find out for every
hour of time you invest in your manager or volunteer, so that 30 hours a
week that they work, how many hours of human
resources do you leverage out of your volunteers? So here’s an example. Oh, I don’t know if I
finished my example. Oh well. Your human resource
value, if you’ve got, well I’m not gonna do
the math out of my head. Darn it. Oh well. This is something that you can
actually do pretty easily on your own. You know how many hours a
week your volunteer program coordinator works, and you’ll already know the
dollar value of your volunteer labour based on wages, and then for every dollar
you invest in your volunteer program, how much money do
you get back in HR, so in this situation, if you have $187,500
of HR value in a year, and you pay a
Manager of Volunteers $25,000 a year, that’s actually a
pretty cool ratio. So I want to talk quickly
about investing in your volunteer resources, ’cause it’s 10:30, I’m just
exactly on time here, we’re still going to have
time for questions at the end. And this is again a
tale of two stories, so you remember I talked
about the idea of volunteers as magical elves versus
volunteers as strategic resources for
your organization? In a similar, we have other parallel
stories that we talk about that seem really
obvious and intuitive, but then when you actually
analyze the story it starts to break down. So I want to talk about
the usual volunteer story. This is usually how we
talk about volunteers, and if you think about
recruiting volunteers, this’ll make a lot of sense. The hero of the
story is the volunteer. And the hero has a goal. But wait a minute, what is the goal of the hero? Is it to make a difference? Is it to make friends? Is it to get a
reference letter? Volunteers have all sorts of
different reasons for getting engaged in your organization. So if you start with the hero
of your volunteer program as your volunteer, then you have to take a
look at what their goals are. Well, any here in a good story
both has a goal and a barrier to
get to their goal, so if you have a volunteer
who’s the hero of your story, and their goal is to
maybe make a difference, maybe to make some friends, maybe to get a
reference letter, well what’s their barrier? Well usually the barrier for
volunteers is they’re really busy, they don’t really
now how to start, they’re not really sure
that they’re volunteer, they’re not sure
it’s gonna be fun. A lot of times they don’t
think they have the skills, so that’s lots of possible
barriers in this volunteer story. Our resolution to this story, generally, often,
is to just really yell loudly “Please come and
volunteer with us.” So the usual volunteer story
that puts the volunteer at the centre, that puts the
volunteer there as a hero, it doesn’t really
make a great story. But there’s a real volunteer
story that happens every day in our organization. Nancy runs a program that
pairs young girls up with teen girl mentors. Nancy is your
program coordinator, she’s your
Manager of Volunteers, and she is the hero of
your volunteer program. She has a clear goal, and a clear
barrier to her goal. There are more kids
needing mentors than Nancy has volunteers. This is a real
dilemma for Nancy, and she needs a
solution for it, and the solution is girls
helping girls – because you are volunteering. So let’s
contrast those stories. If your hero is the volunteer, then you have a
very confusing story. If the hero is the person
who’s coordinating those volunteers, is the leader, then your volunteers
become your impact generator. They become your solution. They become the resolution
to the problem of more kids needing mentors than your
organization has volunteers. So what that means is
your volunteers are a huge strategic resource
in your organization, and your manager of
volunteers is also a huge strategic resource
in your organization. So the hero is your
coordinator of volunteers, the goal is getting
done whatever it is your organization
wants to get done. The barrier is always there’s
more to do than people to do it, and volunteers are the ones
who make the difference by following the hero. If that’s the case, then you want to have a
really strong leader being your coordinator
of volunteers, and there are ways that you
can invest in building up the skills and the professionalism
of leading volunteers. There’s a certification in
volunteer administration that’s available, in Canada there’s the
Volunteer Management Professionals of Canada
which is the professional organization of
leaders of volunteers, in BC it’s AVRBC which is
the Administrators of Volunteer Resources BC, and there’s similar
ones in each province, and in the states it’s ALIVE, the Association for Leaders
in Volunteer Engagement, and these groups have been
championing the idea that coordinators of volunteers are
highly skilled professionals who bring a lot of
different skills to the table, to lead and manage and
inspire hundreds and thousands of volunteers for
your organization. There are other ways
that you can invest in leading volunteers. You can actually do
some program assessments. Your local volunteer
centre can do that, there’s also some really
great free resources available from the JFFixler Group, and I’ve got a link there
which I think when you get the PowerPoint slides after this
presentation you’ll be able to access that. I also included a case study
from the San Diego Humane Society. Now this is a journal
that you have to pay for, or an article that
you have to pay for, but if you’re actually
interested in learning more about how to assess and
understand the impact of your volunteer program and develop
a strategic plan around it, case studies
are just fabulous, so that’s a really good
resource if you’re interested in doing that. From your role as a board
director or a CEO or an executive director, you have a huge ability
to empower those in your organization who
lead volunteers. And a part of that is by
measuring what they do in a more sophisticated way, measuring that impact
that we talked about. Measuring not just the number
of hours and the number of volunteers, but how volunteers allow
you to serve community, and how volunteers are
strengthening the organization, either by becoming staff of
the organization and making contributions that way, or by donating cash resources
or in kind resources as well as their time. If you measure all of that
stuff it helps to remind you that it’s actually your
coordinator of volunteers who is responsible for
all of that impact, because if your volunteers
are not having meaningful experiences with your
organization through volunteering, they’re not going to
donate their money, they’re not going
to become staff, so you lose
those contributions. And you also want to be
asking and working with your coordinator of volunteers, because one thing I’ve found
in working with coordinators of volunteers is that they’re
so humble when I try to tell them that they are the
heroes of the program, they will just not
even listen to me, darn it. But they need to
take on that role, because they are the ones
that are responsible for advocating to make sure that
their volunteers are able to make the impact
that they can make, so if you are supervising a
coordinator of volunteers, you want to find out from
them what would help their program be even
more effective. What is the highest potential
of that volunteer program? If the sky was the limit, what could that volunteer
program achieve in terms of the mission and vision
of your organization? And find out what are your
coordinators of volunteers already doing to achieve that, because they have an idea
in their head about how much their volunteers
can contribute, and they’re
working towards that, and if you give them the
chance to talk about that, you’re gonna be impressed. And then, you want
to find out what do they need and want to do next to build up their
volunteer program, and how can you
help as a CEO, as a senior manager, what resources do they need? Do they need some
summer students, because you can
do that for them. Do they need some connections
to some possible sponsors? Well, you know,
you can do that too. If you’re willing to invest
in your volunteer programs, talking to your leader of
volunteers about how to most effectively do that is going
to be a really helpful move. So to sum up, volunteers have a part
to play in pretty much any organizational strategy
that you have on the table, so go back into your
strategic plan and take a look. What is it that
you’re going for? Are you looking to double
your financial resources? To double the amount of money that you get in
direct donations? Are you looking to increase
the power of your organization and the amount and the extent
to which your organization is known in the community? Are you looking to make sure
that in a labour market that’s getting more and more squeezed
and more and more competitive in terms of both the number of
employees that are out there to hire and the tendency
now of businesses to start building in that
work life balance, meaningful job work that the
non profit sector has always boasted that it has a
particular monopoly over. Volunteers have a part
to play in all of this. They are the people
who are committed to you, they are the people who
speak well of you in the public, they are the people who do
the work that you need to have done in order to
chance the world, and if they’re
going to do all of that, they require investment and care
in order to create that return. That…is the bottom line. So, questions? WOMAN:
Fantastic, Stacey, great presentation and I know
others are commenting on this as well, but such inspiring
stories about our volunteers. It’s always wonderful
to remember just what a connection they have with
the communities that we serve, so that’s wonderful stuff. That said, let’s jump into a little bit
of some of the mass that you covered today. So first of all, could you go over the
input/output ratio that you were discussing before? I know a couple of people were
asking just for a quick run through of that again. STACEY:
Sure, no problem. Let me go back and
find it in the thing. Do-do-do-dododo. (humming) Okay. Alright, okay. Ack! Why did it do that!? Just to annoy my iPad. It is down here. WOMAN:
And just while Stacey’s
getting her slide back up I just want to remind everyone, I know we’ve had a few
questions about some of the links that
were mentioned, etc, and remember we will be
sending out the slide deck as a PDF as well as
the recording, and you’ll get that tomorrow, so you’ll have access to all
of those materials as well. STACEY:
Yeah. Alright, so here’s how
the ratio works. If you think about how many
hours a week your manager of volunteer invests, and just for the sake of
argument let’s say they do, I don’t know, 10 hours a week. I know they probably do more, but you’d be surprised at how
much gets done by a manager of volunteers in 10 hours a week
so that’s 10 hours a week. Say you have 300 volunteer
hours that happen in that week, and that’s not a terribly
uncommon kind of a ratio. So if you’ve got…what that
basically means is that for every hour of time your
manager of volunteer invests into your program, they’re leveraging 30 hours
of volunteer time. And then if you have an idea
of how much that person gets paid, you can convert that into
dollars instead of hours, so you might see that for
every dollar you invest in your volunteer program, you’re leveraging say $1,000. I’m not gonna do
the math on that, but when you do that math, it starts to help you see that
your manager of volunteers is not just an
expense item in your budget, because if you look at your
bottom line and you look at how your staff
is accounted for, there’s revenue that comes in
and there’s expenses that go out, and your staff time is
an expense that goes out, and when funders or auditors
take a look at that they go ‘oh, you’re spending a
lot of money on staff, ‘ and they say ‘are you sure
you need all of those staff, ‘ because what’s
missing from that equation, especially in the
non profit world, is the amount of impact
that that staff creates. The more that you can start
talking about and thinking about the amount of impact
that your staff creates, the more obvious it is that
you can’t actually function as a non profit
organization without them. So if you want to
engage volunteers, you need that one hour of
investment to leverage that 30 hours of volunteer time that
you’re going to get out of that, and if you lose that 30
hours of volunteer time, well then who’s
gonna do that work? Who’s gonna make that
impact in community? What is the point of your
existence as an organization? It gets very
existential very fast. So that’s where one of the
things that I always encourage organizations to do, if you’re going to
talk about volunteers, also talk about how you’re
investing in your volunteers, so if you’re going to
talk about how you have 150,000 hours of volunteer time
invested in or coming out of your organization
every year to a funder, also tell them the ratio
of your investment to that, because funders can forget
that you need that investment, and they just look at that
300,000 hours or 150,000 hours and go “Wow, okay, great,
volunteers can do everything.” No, they require investment. That’s what you always
want to be clear about. WOMAN:
Great, and with some of
the statistics, are there any industry
benchmarks at this point, or is this a fairly
new area for the sector? STACEY:
Industry and impacts
in terms of what the ratio should look like? WOMAN:
Yeah. STACEY:
It so varies. It really varies. And a big part of it is
up to the organization to demonstrate the value of
the impact it’s making. So it may not be that time is
the best way of looking at it for you. It could be pounds
of food, right? So for every hour of time your
manager of volunteers invests you get volunteers are
moving 21,000 or 2,100 pounds of food into the hands of
families that need feeding, right? The ratio is there to
demonstrate that whatever impact your organization is
making by engaging volunteers has an investment
attached to it. And it’s not… I don’t know that it’s
possible to compare that across organizations, because it’s like
comparing the value of the impact you’re doing. It’s comparing the value of a
kid who’s been tutored and his grade level has gone up, to a cat that’s been found in
a shelter and then re-homed. You can’t really compare that. The only way to compare that is
how the community values that, and as long as you find
people in the community who care about your
mission and your cause, then comparing those
two things doesn’t matter. WOMAN:
That makes
a lot of sense. Absolutely. Okay, so let’s move to a bit of
a higher level here and look at obviously a lot of
organizations in Canada are smaller or they’re strapped
for time and resources and they might only have one
person working as a volunteer coordinator. How would you start adding
some of that strategy in, and is there a
place to begin? Because we’ve had a few
questions come in saying ‘gosh, I don’t even know where
I would start with this, I don’t have a
lot of time already, so where do I get
the ball rolling?” STACEY:
Yeah, well this is actually
stuff that you can go back to your board with, so a big part of this
strategy is that as a coordinator of volunteers, you really have a very focused
job on your volunteers. But you can also be telling
the story of what you do to your managers to
your directors, to your boards, so that they can understand
better the roll that volunteers play, so you know that you’re in
an organization that isn’t thinking fully about what
their volunteers can do if all you are being asked for is how
many volunteers do you have and how many hours
they contribute, right? You know from that that your
senior manager on your board is not getting the fully story
of your volunteer impact. So it’s up to you as the
coordinator of volunteers to start thinking
about well okay, what is the full
impact of my volunteers? And start claiming it, so when I say that the
donations of your volunteers wouldn’t happen without
you having good volunteer engagement, I mean that’s your money, I mean that that money
wouldn’t be there if you weren’t running a
good volunteer program, so if your fund developers
aren’t tracking that, ask your volunteers, right? Find out what other kinds of
contributions they’re making. Find out if they talk about
the program outside of the time that they’re
there with you, and without being asked, report that back up the line. Tell that story. Because if your directors and
your board of directors aren’t thinking that way
then they should be. They’re going to misunderstand
the impact of your program and your volunteers are making
and that’s not fair for your volunteers. WOMAN:
Absolutely. And when we were talking about
investments and volunteers, could you maybe
give some examples? We’ve had a few
people asking, you know, does that look like education
or thank you gifts or what are we talking about in terms of
investing in our volunteers? STACEY:
Surprisingly a lot of, well and it’s not surprising if
you’ve worked in volunteers. A lot of volunteers don’t
necessarily want to be thanked. It’s a little
bit uncomfortable, because they’re not necessarily
there for the thanks. It’s nice to be told you’ve
done the job well and that you’re appreciated, but really they’re there
in partners in making a difference in the community, so the thank yous that they
want often are more coming from the kids that
they’re mentoring, or from the community where
they’re making a difference, so those impact statistics can
actually be thank yous, right? Collectively you guys cleaned up
40 hectares of invasive growth, and now we have a
better habitat for squirrels, or whatever it is
that you’re doing. That kind of impact language
actually helps them feel good, so you can think about
that as a thank you or an appreciation. The other thing is yes, definitely invest in your
volunteers with training and access to training
that they might not have. There’s a museum, some of the major museums in
New York have these amazing volunteer programs training, where you know, volunteers get early access
to some of the curators or some of the people who
put together some of the exhibitions because those
people are coming in to set up the exhibition anyway, and you’ve got these people
who need to be able to take guests to the museum
through the exhibitions, and for them the opportunity
to have like a Masters level course with a
person who you know, has such a standing in the
art community that they’re able to put together an
exhibition for a museum? That’s huge! So remember, your volunteers are there
because they have a really niche interest in
what you’re doing, so the contacts and the
people of influence in your area of expertise hold a lot
of value for those volunteers, and that can be a great way
to both improve your volunteer program’s quality and give
your volunteers something that they really really value. WOMAN:
That’s great,
and that feeds into some other questions we
had about retention, and I think you’ve hit
the nail on the head there. All of this stuff can
feed directly into volunteer retention as well, which is just wonderful. Maybe you could
talk a little bit, Stacey, on building some of this
capacity for leadership at the volunteer level, so you know, can we use some of this to
get senior volunteers involved with engaging other
volunteers in the program? STACEY:
Absolutely, yeah. I mean any of this work
that you’re needing to do to demonstrate the
impact of your volunteers, you can bring your
volunteers on to do that, right? So it actually might be easier
to have your volunteers put together a little survey on
how much other volunteers are donating rather than that
coming from you as a staff, because there’s that little
weirdness about money and that’s the money that goes
to pay me and I’ve just gone and bought groceries with it
and now I’m uncomfortable, so why do it that way when
you can pull together a couple of keener volunteers, or bring in some
volunteers who want to do some program evaluation, and say these are
the questions I have. How many, can you go and
interview all of the staff at the organization who used
to be volunteers and ask them about how volunteering led
them to become an employee of this organization, and your volunteers go out
and do those volunteers which would be fascinating for those
volunteers to do and also super valuable for you
to get the results back, and then you feed those
results back to your senior management and suddenly they
are looking at your volunteers in a different light. So definitely the limit on how
you can engage volunteers in demonstrating their own
impact is just limited by your imagination. WOMAN:
And do you
happen to know, Stacey, if there’s
a dollar value, like an hourly dollar value
that’s attached to volunteers in Canada or is that something
that’s really gonna vary from organization to organization? STACEY:
Well in the States
they’ve got a general, they’ve put together, they do some math and it’s
all complicated and they come up with a number
and I think it’s like, I don’t know, $11 an hour or
something like that. In Canada we don’t have
a generally agreed upon, in British Columbia
the gaming grants, so that many
organizations get, allow you to claim $10 an
hour for front line volunteers and $25 an hour for volunteers
that are providing some kind of professional service. But you can also take a look
at what specific role it is that your volunteer is
playing in the organization, and match that to a paid
work position and use that as your number. In some ways it doesn’t matter
that much what number you pick as long as you have a
reason that you picked it. WOMAN:
Great, and this is a little tiny
bit outside the scope of our webinar today, but I think it may tie in
a little bit to some of the stuff that you’ve
been talking about. Any suggestions on,
you know, sometimes non profit staff
all are busy and overloaded with their own work and
sometimes can have a little bit of resistance to
working directly with working for a volunteer. Do you have any suggestions
on overcoming that? Would you suggest bringing in
some of this impact work when talking with staff who might
be a little bit resistant to bringing on a new volunteer? STACEY:
Yeah, absolutely. Well, there’s a couple
of issues there. One is that the attitude
towards volunteers and engaging volunteers is
something that you have to put into your organization
from the top down. So your… and one way you can do that
is working with volunteers an explicit part of everybody’s
job description and something that you get assessed on
your performance review for. So if you start to think about
your volunteers as a strategic value impact generator, then you start to have less
tolerance for your staff not working with them well. It’s like if you gave your
staff a thousand dollar budget and they threw it
out the window. Wow! Now you’re in trouble. (laughing) Why did you throw that
money out the window exactly? It’s the same kind of a thing. If a volunteer gets attached
to a staff person and that staff person for whatever
reason doesn’t want to work with them, doesn’t want to have
them engaged in the program, then you lose that volunteer
and you lose all of the potential of that volunteer
as a life long donor, as a word of
mouth ambassador, that staff has just done direct
damage to your organization. So if you begin to think
about it that way and realize, that’s not just a way
of thinking about it, that’s actually
exactly what happens. ‘Cause you now have a
volunteer who could have been a great resource for your
organization but now is out in the community
saying “You know what? I went and volunteered for
this organization and they didn’t have any time for me, they didn’t have
anything for me to do, they were really unorganized, they didn’t call me back. I don’t know that you
should donate your money to that organization.” That’s what’s happened! So if you’re okay with your
staff performing that way, well then that’s fine, but I wouldn’t be. WOMAN:
(laughing) It’s a good point. Reputation is everything. STACEY:
It’s everything, so you want to make sure your
staff understands that a huge part of their role is
good community engagement, and that means you know
how to work with volunteers, or else what are
you doing in this job? I’m pretty hard line about it. WOMAN:
Well, and it’s a
good line to have. We’ve got a question from
Sherry here which might be of interest to others. What percentage of the budget
should be dedicated to the volunteer program, and that’s including
stewardship and recognition. STACEY:
Mmmm, oh my gosh, it’s such a good question. (sighs) Oh, I’m gonna write that
question down and research it, because I don’t know. That is one of those
things that there is no rule of thumb around. And I mean what it
comes down to is… what it comes down to is that
if you see your volunteers as a key resource in getting to
your mission and your vision, then the amount that you want
to invest into it is line with that impact that you
want to create with it, so it’s in part, you know, there should be a healthy
budget in place to allow a coordinator the time and
energy to lead volunteers and engage them across the board
and evaluate their programs. And that has to do with how
big the organization is and how many volunteers you
have and what you have those volunteers doing, but you also would want to
see line items in everybody’s portfolio or budget
around volunteer engagement. So you’d want to see kind
of a line item in your fund developers in how they’re
going to find out all of those answers to those questions
about how much volunteers are giving, and integrate that
into their thinking. You’re going to want to see it
in your staff resourcing around, how are they helping the
volunteer program by providing access to volunteers
to staff training, with the idea in mind that
these volunteers might be our next staff. So I see it both as something
you would want to have dedicated funding to, but you also want to
understand that your entire organization and all of
its departments are also supporting community
engagement through volunteers, and there’s cost
attached to that. WOMAN:
Fantastic, well I think we’re coming up
on the top of the hour there, so I think we’re going to
cap questions at that one, so thank you again, Stacey, what a great
presentation. So inspiring, you know, I loved all the stories as
well that you wove in there, so thanks so much
for joining us today. STACEY:
Thank you, I really enjoyed it. WOMAN:
And just before we
sign off I do want to remind everyone that we are following
up with you by email tomorrow morning with the webinar
recording and the presentation slides. We’ll also have a link
there to a very short survey. If you can fill that out, it’s really helpful for us to
refine our webinar content and delivery in the future. You’ll have an opportunity
there to let us know if there’s any topics that you want to
see covered down the road, so it helps us with our
planning content as well. I’m also really excited to
announce that we’ve launched the data collection for our
brand new non profit sector salary and benefits report
that’s going to be published early next year. We do need your
help with that, so you’ll find information in
tomorrow’s email about how you can participate
in the survey, and be entered to
win an iPad mini, so that’s kind of a
fund raw there as well, so again, there will be links in the
email tomorrow to all of the information that was covered
today as well as links to those surveys, so with that I’d like to thank
you all for joining us today, and I hope y’all have a
wonderful rest of your day. Goodbye. Captioned by GigEcast.
www.gigecast.com

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