Volunteer Management at the CUC by ytx42466

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									        CUC Administrative news
                                                        - the Spirit of Volunteerism by Paola Jani

Volunteer Management at the CUC
One of my core responsibilities in my work with the CUC as the Administrative Assistant is
Volunteer Management. Within this realm I am to recruit, coordinate, retain, orientate and
supervise volunteers in order for them to assist with mailings and routine matters of the
organization (for instance answering the phones while a staff may be on sick leave).

Over the last few months I have had the opportunity to understand volunteer management with a
more formal training; I have been able to theoretically understand this area of my work and
implement this in practice, thus providing me a holistic approach to Volunteer Management. As
many congregations across Canada work with volunteers as well, I wanted to take this opportunity
to share the wealth of resources and experiences that I have been part of with you. My anticipation
is that you will take them with you in the spirit of volunteerism to apply them in your own way in
your own congregations.

Theoretically, I have examined resources such as “Understanding Canadian Volunteers” by Norah
McClintock (found at http://www.givingandvolunteering.ca/), “Towards a New Partnership for
Community Building” a report by the Private Voluntary Sector Forum, Imagine Canada and The
Conference Board of Canada (found at www.community-fdn.ca/doc/PVSFENGJUL04.pdf) and “A
Matter of Design: Job Design Theory and Application to the Voluntary Sector” a publication by
Imagine Canada (found at www.volunteer.ca). Each provides its own unique addition to the
general area of Volunteerism, however adding specific knowledge to my work with CUC Office
Volunteers.

To briefly summarize, the primary resource speaks to contributions of volunteers in Canada,
volunteer trends, types of volunteers, understanding volunteers i.e. what motivates volunteers,
recruitment, screenings, training, managing and recognizing volunteers. This is a powerful tool for
individuals working with volunteers.

The second report’s research reveals that “effective private/voluntary partnerships and better cross-
sector coordination in community development has the potential to become an important
contributor in building Canadian communities and renewing Canada’s social foundation” (pg. 3).
For instance partnerships “tackle issues such as poverty, homelessness, palliative care and helping
children in need of support (pg. 3).” In essence more partnerships are being encouraged. As such
volunteers within the voluntary sector (e.g. non-profit) can themselves play a significant role in this
aspect. In analyzing these factors, this source presented ideas around the need for further
involvement of volunteers through the support of cooperate or governmental funding (i.e. grants),
supporting the Spirit of Volunteerism within Canadian society. From a holistic perspective of
Unitarianism it gages the ideas of community- the fact is Unitarian Volunteers help grow
community.

Finally, “A Matter of Design: Job Design Theory and Application to the Voluntary Sector” suggests
how to apply job design theory to the management of volunteer programming, especially in light of
time constraints. In much detail it specifically addresses competition for volunteers,
mandates/mission statements, skill sets, volunteer assignments, matching volunteer assignments
and also very usefully provides templates for designing organizational volunteer opportunities. It is
a forceful capacity building tool and I would highly recommend it to congregations across Canada.

Practically speaking, in order to strengthen my confidence and feel more comfortable with this area
of my work and further positive implementation, I attended two workshop sessions held at the First
Unitarian Congregation of Hamilton entitled “Making the Connection, More Effective Volunteer
Recruitment” and “Connecting the Steps: Making the Volunteer Cycle Work”. Here I was able to
network with co-volunteer managers and listen to the practical experiences of these individuals.
Their lessons and experiences shared also enabled me to build a Volunteer Community (thus also
connecting to the UU principle of interdependency). From these workshops the key aspects which I
took away with me were, specifically: interviewing volunteers, celebrating volunteers, body language,
motivating volunteers and clarity of language around recruitment.

In application of the above theory and practice learned, I would like to share an overview of my
current Volunteer Management Program at the CUC Office. I have developed a CUC Office
Volunteer Profile, which asks volunteers about their experiences with the CUC and volunteering
i.e. why do you volunteer? As the Administrative Assistant it is my hope to have each volunteer
profiled with a picture on the CUC website. I regularly host a CUC Volunteer Open House to give
thanks and recognition to their hard work. Volunteer tasks include, general office administration,
congregational mailing coordinators, general office day laborer, CUC Team Support Volunteer and
library and archrival assistant. Each of the areas has a volunteer opportunity ad posted on the CUC
website and some have been circulated to congregations within the Toronto area. I have also
connected with the Toronto Volunteer Centre (http://www.volunteertoronto.on.ca/) and Charity
Village (www.charityvillage.com) in order to look at ways to strengthen our volunteer pool

Naturally, in conclusion if you reside in the Toronto area, I would like to invite you to join me and
the rest of the CUC Office Volunteers to be part of our Team!! We would encourage you to join us
in our Volunteer Program! Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to call me
directly at 416-489-4121.

								
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