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					Volume 5, Number 2                                                                         Spring 2001



Starting Off Right: Corporation for National
Service Programs                                                                                                    The newsletter of the
ByEdward Doty and Margaret Hawthorne Doty, Program Consultants,Catholic Network of Volunteer Service                 National Service
                                                                                                                     Resource Center

      s a new program director, you are probably         requirements than traditional AmeriCorps pro-
A     very optimistic about the potential success
of your project. But many programs set them­
                                                         grams. Traditional Am e ri C o rps members em­
                                                         phasize direct service while AmeriCorps* VISTA
selves up for problems or even failure before their      members focus on capacity building. The Senior
first member or participant is ever enrolled. All        Service Experience Corps can use skills other                  A project of ETR
national service programs, no matter what                streams don’t have access to. And many Learn                 (Education Training
stream, face common challenges. You can suc­             and Serve America programs deal with the                      Research) Associates
cessfully meet and avoid most mistakes with              unique aspects of working with young people.              funded by the Corporation
                                                                                                                   for National Service under
proper starting procedures,maximizing your new           Know the schedule and reporting requirements
                                                                                                                     Cooperative Agreement
program’s chances for success.                           for required hours of service, evaluations and any            No. 98CA-CA0011
     There are five basic steps to take before you       other relevant paperwork. Know exactly what
are ready to begin your program. Each of these           benefits members receive, and what the require­
areas must be addressed and procedures put in            ments are for receiving those benefits. Know the
place before your program begins. Ot h e rw i s e,       activities in which your members may and may
you will end up fighting your own lack of organi­        not engage. This knowledge is essential as you
zation for months to come.                               plan the details of your program.
                                                             Grant provisions and regulations are available
1. Know the Corporation’s Rules                          on the website for the Corporation for National
                                                         Service (www.nationalservice.org) under Re­
It sounds obvious, but your first task is to know,
                                                         sources for Programs (look under the relevant           In this Issue:
inside and out, the rules that govern the type of
                                                         program),or from your state commission or Cor­          Program Start-Up
program you are starting. For example, Educa­
                                                         poration for National Service state office.
tion Awards programs have different reporting                                                                    The Key to Supervisor y
                                                                                  See Starting OffRight,page 4
                                                                                                                 Success . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
                                                                                                                 Building a Strong Peer
   Editor’s Box: Start-Up of a National Service Program                                                          Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
   This issue focuses on the important first steps       more articles zero in on special concerns of            Program Start-Up
   in starting up a national service program. In         service-learning and literacy programs.                 Blueprint . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
   articles from across the different streams of             A Program Start-Up Blueprint organizes
                                                                                                                 Start-Up Challenge:
   service, contributors provide a catalog of the        the different aspects of start-up in a timeline
                                                                                                                 Recruitment for the
   issues and concerns new program directors             that can serve as a practical tool and reference
                                                                                                                 Young Fathers Project . .8
   and staff must face in preparing for and              guide for new program staff.
   launching their programs.                                 Finally, we provide a list of publications          Financial Management
       The issue kicks off with a discussion of          available through the NSRC website and                  for New Programs . . . . .9
   the five basic steps of program start-up, which       lending library, which provide further infor­
                                                                                                                 Library Spotlight . . . . .10
   is supplemented by separate articles on the           mation on many of the principal components
   critical components of financial management,          of start-up, from member recruitment, train­            Literacy Projects: Start-Up
   recruitment, building a network, and supervi­         ing and development to supervision and sus­             Issues and Concerns . .11
   sion (including supervisor training). Two             tainability.
                                                                                                                 Starting Smart in
                                                                                                                 Service-Learning . . . . .12
Orientation                   The Key to Supervisory Success
Outline for
                              By Lisa Guccione, AmeriCorps*VISTA Program Director, Community and Economic Development Office,
AmeriCorps*                   Burlington, Vermont
VISTA Site
Supervisors

I. Program Overview           Note: Though these guidelines were written for          job easier and help them stay organized by keep­
Present the big picture of    AmeriCorps*VISTA site supervisors, they may             ing them as informed as possible. The advance
national service and your     be applicable to other streams of service.              planning and preparation required will be hard
organization and ensure                                                               work, but it is well worth the effort. We have
that each site understands
its place in your organiza­   T     he old saying, “An ounce of prevention is
                                    worth a pound of cure,” is certainly true
                              when it comes to preparing AmeriCorps*VISTA
                                                                                      learned to err on the side of providing the sites
                                                                                      with too much information. Here are some
tional structure.                                                                     examples of information to provide:
1. National service over­     site supervisors for a year of hosting a national
view: History of national     service member. The Community and Economic               � Before the member begins,provide site super­
                              Development Office (CEDO) in Burlington,                   visors with a written list of the distinct
service, VISTA,Corpor a­
                              Ve rm on t , has learned this lesson, and it has           responsibilities of the sponsor agency staff or
tion for National Service.
                              developed a detailed orientation and training              program director, the AmeriCorps*VISTA
2. Streams of service:        plan for setting up both site supervisors and              leaders (if you have them),site supervisors and
Cover the Corporation for     members for success.                                       members.
National Service’s organi­        The city of Burlington has been sponsoring
zational chart and explain                                                             � Distribute team rosters, a list of site descrip­
                              AmeriCorps*VISTA members for seven years.In
the different streams of                                                                 tions, and program overview materials so that
                              that time CEDO has grown from coordinating
service (SOS) and pro­                                                                   site supervisors can familiarize themselves
                              five members in 1993 to the current program,
grams under the Corpora­                                                                 with the work of the program and know how
                              which includes 54 members working in two dis­
tion’s umbrella,with an                                                                  to contact their counterparts and those doing
                              tinct teams. The 27-member community devel­
emphasis on the organiza­                                                                similar work.
                              opment team focuses its efforts in Ve rm on t’s
tional structure in your      most densely populated low-income area,                 � Develop a public relations flyer that includes
state.Explain where SOS       Burlington’s Old North End Enterprise Com­                your program mission, a description of the
paths might cross and the     munity. CEDO also manages a statewide Ameri­              sponsor agency, the program goals and objec­
role of the state commis­     ca Reads literacy initiative that includes 27 mem­        tives,and past successes.This quick reference,
sion versus the Corpora­      bers working to ensure that all children read well        which can be used for both sites and the
tion state office.            and independently by grade three. With only one           media, will help supervisors easily explain
3.History and mission of      program director, two AmeriCorps*VISTA lead­              their relationship to national service.
the sponsor organization      ers, and AmeriCorps*VISTA members placed in             � Ensure that supervisors as well as members
and its connection to         city and state government agencies,schools, uni­          are aware of reporting requirements well in
national service.             versities and nonprofit agencies, CEDO needed             advance. Help them decide what to count and
                              a generic, yet thorough supervisor orientation.           let them know what you will do with that
II. AmeriCorps*VISTA              The underlying premise in building a strong           information. Provide a mid-year and end-of­
Terms and Conditions          program is to establish and maintain close rela­          year summary of accomplishments to help
Review the basic terms        tionships with the site supervisors who are guid­         them recognize their place in the larger effort.
and conditions of Ameri-      ing your AmeriCorps*VISTA members on a daily
Corps*VISTA service.It        basis. The key is for supervisors to see themselves     � As early as possible, send sites a schedule of
never hurts to repeat these   as much a part of the national service family as          team meetings, training, check-ins, s e rv i c e
for those supervisors who     the members.                                              projects, and reporting deadlines. We provide
have already attended a           Fo ll owing are some tips that will help you          supervisors with a tentative schedule for the
pre-service orientation       design a supervisor orientation and training plan         first six months at the beginning of the pro­
(PSO). Enlist them as         that will provide a solid foundation in the nation­       gram and then send members and supervisors
your allies in keeping the    al service culture with an emphasis on prevention         monthly updates with a simple bulletin and
member accountable to         as a tool for success.                                    calendar.
the team and their work                                                               � Don’t let geographic distance prevent you
focused on the goal of                 Remember that most site supervisors              from communicating regularly with supervi­
capacity building.            1        will supervise an AmeriCorps*VISTA
                                       member as a small part of their duties.
                                                                                        sors.If you are unable to meet face to face, set
                                                                                        up a listserv, use interactive TV, and hold
                              Although it is important to set high standards            regional meetings or conference calls.
                              and expectations for the quality of time and ener­
                              gy that they give to members, you can make their


2
                                                                                                            Orientation
                                                                                                            Outline (continued)

                                                                                                            III. Administrative Review
                                                                                                            Review the program and
                                                                                                            fiscal information needed
� Most importantly, ensure that every piece of       � Ask supervisors if there is any training that        to run a successful pro­
  group information (every memo, e-mail, bul­          they need to be more successful in working           gram.
  letin, agenda and calendar) that you share           with AmeriCorps*VISTA members. Work­                 1. Corporation project
  with the members is also sent to the site            shops on topics such as giving productive            application: Give a remin-
  supervisors. We have learned that, despite           feedback, coaching, and adult learning styles        der that the workplan is a
  being in the same building, the same depart­         may be well received.                                working document and
  ment and the same office, mail somehow does                                                               should be used to orient
  not always get shared.                                                                                    and guide new members.
                                                               Give site supervisors all the information

         Recognize that many AmeriCorps*
                                                     3         they will need to get started before the
                                                               member arrives at the pre-service orien­
                                                                                                            2. Financial agreements:
                                                                                                            Provide clarity on travel
2        VISTA supervisors have tremendous
         skills and experience in their field of
                                                     tation. One way to accomplish this is to develop a
                                                     formal training program (see “Orientation Out-
                                                                                                            and training reimburse­
                                                                                                            ment processes and cost-
expertise, but they may have had little or no        line” sidebar).                                        share agreements,if ap­
training in supervisory skills. You may need to                                                             plicable; review the terms,
help them understand the unique position that                                                               conditions and process for
AmeriCorps*VISTA members play in their                         Help new supervisors to interact with        the stipend and education
agency.                                              4         their peers. If possible, try to develop a
                                                               formal mentoring relationship between
                                                                                                            award;provide a schedule
                                                                                                            for pay periods; and ex­
� Sites are most successful when the supervisor      your new supervisors and your veteran supervi­         plain who to call with
  not only integrates the AmeriCorps*VISTA           sors. At the very least, you will want to provide a    questions on the living
  member into the agency staff (by including         forum where veteran site supervisors and second-       allowance.
  him or her in staff meetings,for example) but      year members are invited to share suggestions,         3. Reporting expectations
  also makes a commitment to the professional        experiences, and effective practices, and answer       and paperwork.
  and personal development of that member.           questions from new supervisors.                        4. Timeline/annual calen­
  More coaching and training may be necessary
                                                     With advance thought and personal attention to         dar:Explain which train­
  for AmeriCorps*VISTA members than for
                                                     site supervisors, you will be able to create a         ing, service projects,and
  other staff. Supervising national service mem­
                                                     national service network throughout your host          team meetings are required
  bers, simply put, takes more time. If you can
                                                     sites. The sense of team spirit that you work so       and which are optional.
  give supervisors an accurate sense of how
  much time each week they should be spend­          hard to instill in your members will carry over to
                                                                                                            IV. Roles/Responsibilities
  ing on check-ins and project guidance, you         supervisors. And ultimately, the goal of placing
                                                                                                            Review the different roles
  will help them and their fellow staff be ready     members in projects that value the member and
                                                                                                            and responsibilities carried
  to bring a member onto their team.                 the national service resource that they are getting
                                                                                                            out by Corporation staff,
                                                     will be much more easily achieved. Invested and
� Provide supervisors with the same training                                                                program staff, site supervi­
                                                     informed site supervisors make for a good experi­
  needs assessment that you use for your mem­                                                               sors and members.
                                                     ence for your members and will be your best tool
  bers. Ask them to rate the training needs for
                                                     in the fight to get things done. �
  members in order to help you design member                                                                V. Recruitment
  training. Invite them to participate as learners   For more information, contact Lisa Guccione at         If you will be coordinating
  in any of the workshops you offer for mem­         (802) 865-7547 or lguccione@aol.com.                   member recruitment and
  bers. Include them as trainers for your mem­                                                              placement,make sure that
  ber workshops and Early Service Training.                                                                 site supervisors are clear
  Ask for their feedback on the impact that the                                                             on the process and time-
  training has had on the members’work.All of                                                               line, including a review of
  this will help them become more invested in                                                               relevant deadlines and en­
  the team’s identity and ensure that you, as a                                                             rollment paperwork.
  program manager, have a clear sense of the
  success of your member development plan.




                                                                                                                                      3
                              Starting Off Right: Corporation for National 

                              Service Programs
                              (continued from page 1)



                              2. Explain Your Mission                               4. Orient Everyone
                              Articulating your mission is not as easy as it        Every stakeholder needs to be oriented to the
                              sounds. You probably had a variety of personal        mission and methods of your new program.
                              reasons for initiating the program, from dissatis­    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that every­
                              faction with what you were doing before to the        one else understands what you’re tr ying to do if
                              desire to address a local community need while        you haven’t told them explicitly. You need sepa­
                              accessing a larger support network. H ow ever,        rate orientations for different kinds of partici-
                              your reasons may not be ones that will motivate       pants,whether they are site supervisors,staff, vol­
                              anyone else to pursue program goals. You need to      unteers, members or others. Even if a category
                              come up with a clear, concise mission statement       contains only one or two people, plan and execute
                              that will compel other stakeholders—members,          a full orientation to maximize ownership of your
                              participants,volunteers, site supervisors, program    program and to make sure protocols will be fol­
                              directors and support staff—to share your pur­        lowed. Lack of understanding of requirements
                              pose and promote it effectively. Write it down! If    can cause people to take shortcuts into prohibited
                              you do not put it in writing, chances are you will    areas or leave you without information you need
                              vary your mission statement to suit the occasion,     to report to the Corporation.
                              and different stakeholders will end up with dif­
                              ferent concepts of your organization’s goal.          5. Build a Support Network
                                                                                    Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Go to as many
                              3. Develop Organizational Systems
                                                                                    conferences as you can and get to know others
                              The primary organizational systems that need to       with similar programs. Join the listservs relevant
                              be in place as you begin are the methods for keep­    to your program and participate in the discus­
                              ing track of member activities, your calendar and     sions by asking questions and sharing your opin­
                              any funds you receive from the Corporation.           ions and knowledge. Use the technical assistance
                              Make sure you know exactly what information           services offered by the Corporation. Take every
                              must be kept. Review samples of reporting forms       opportunity to make connections with other pro­
                              for similar Corporation-funded programs to be         gram directors. Ask them what experiences they
                              sure you keep track of all information you will       have had and how they sol ved the problems they
                              need to report to the Corporation. Then, make         encountered. The more extensive a support net­
                              sure you know when each form and report must          work you can establish,the better chance you will
T/TA Master Calendar
                              be filed to keep your program on track for every      have to address and correct problems in your pro­
This is a calendar of         stakeholder. The calendar needs to include dates      gram as they arise.
events, conferences and       for member enrollment, orientation, activities,           The ultimate success of your program will
meetings of interest to       reporting requirements and completion. (Finan­        depend on a wide variety of factors, some of
programs in national          cial reporting is addressed elsewhere in this         which you can control and some of which you
service. To find out what’s   newsletter.)                                          can’t. But you can get off on the right track by
happening, visit www.etr.         You should also start planning for assessment     taking these five steps before enrolling your
org/nsrc/calendar.html.       of your program. Use the goals and objectives         members or recruiting other participants. Know­
                              from your grant application to determine the          ing what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and
                              assessments you will need during the year. Ensur­     how to keep track of what’s been done, then
                              ing your methods of data collection are in place      ensuring that the other people involved in your
                              from the beginning will make it easier to evaluate    program know the same, are key to starting a
                              the results of your program at the end of the year.   strong program. �
                                                                                    For training and technical assistance in program
                                                                                    start-up, contact Karen Stran at 1-800-543-5046
                                                                                    or kstran@cnvs.org.




4
Building a Strong Peer Network
By Mark Fulop, Program Director, National Service Resource Center, ETR Associates



Does This Scenario Sound Familiar?                          So, Where Do I Start?
   am a new program director—actually, I have
I  been in the position for about seven weeks.
When I became a director, I didn’t receive any
                                                            Make the time. The most important lesson to
                                                            learn about networking is that it must be a high-
                                                            enough pri o ri ty for us to make time to do it.
training and, as a new director, I sure could have          Schedule networking on your calendar right be­
used some.If it were not for the Director’s Hand-           tween “staff meeting” and “write progress report.”
book, I would be completely in the dark about
what I should be doing. It is uncomfortable to be           Get wired. The National Service Resource Cen­            Effective Practices
left to form my own interpretation of what is in            ter (NSRC) hosts a number of program-specific
                                                                                                                     Information Center
the handbook, and at times I am really uncertain            electronic discussion groups (listservs) for the
                                                            Corporation for National Service (see Join the
                                                                                                                     (Epicenter)
which way to turn.I still have questions,so I rely
on other directors who have offered their assis­            Conversation). Several of these groups will con­         Epicenter is an online
tance to me. Recently I had the opportunity to              nect you to over 500 other program directors and         database of effective prac­
attend a state conference, and I heard other new            members. To join the listservs, you’ll need a com­       tices for national service
directors complaining about having no idea what             puter connected to the Internet.                         programs. You can search
they were supposed to be doing as directors.I also                                                                   the database to find out
                                                            Collect and give away business cards. The old
heard that, like me, they felt that they did not                                                                     what’s working for others
                                                            practice of exchanging business cards is still a
have the basics for how to do their jobs as direc­                                                                   in national service, or
                                                            critical one for networking. If you were asked to
tors. I love this work, but no one said it would be                                                                  contribute your own
                                                            name the most important thing in your office
easy!                                                                                                                effective practice. Visit
                                                            other than your computer and phone, would you
     Can you find yourself in this story? Whether                                                                    www.nationalservice.org/
                                                            reply “my business card Rolodex”? If not, then
it was years ago or toda y, we have all had to con­                                                                  resources/epicenter to
                                                            you are probably under-utilizing your profession­
front the issues of getting a new program off the                                                                    explore the database.
                                                            al netw o rk . Who we know is probably more
ground. When you’re a new director, or e ven an             important to solving problems than what we
“old” director starting a new program, the work is          know. A great tip when you are meeting new
challenging at the best of times and overwhelm­             people is to make a few quick notes about them
ing at the worst of times. New directors and pro-           on the back of their business cards, and then fol­
grams are expected to start up fast—often with              low up with a quick note to start nurturing a pro­
little direction or knowledge of where to turn for          fessional relationship.
answers. This article focuses on using peer net-
works and mentoring as important sources of                 Know what you don’t know, then ask. Asking
answers to your start-up questions.                         someone to mentor you because you are new and
     We all have experienced the value of getting           don’t know anything might sound as if you are
advice or direction from those who know more                asking that person for unlimited access to their
about a subject than we do. But have we made                time and energy. On the other hand, if you figure
getting peer advice a priority for project manage­          out what you don’t know, it is easier to ask for
ment? Creating an intentional strategy to develop           help. So, instead of asking for open access to a
a mentoring relationship will help us grow pro­             mentor’s time, focus on something more specific.
fessionally. Mentoring is the backbone of many              For example, instead of saying “I am new and
national service projects, ranging from Learn and           don’t know anything,” it might be better to ask,
Serve projects to local Foster Grandparent initia­          “It seems like you have a lot of experience in
tives. As leaders, we should use mentoring not              managing interpersonal conflicts among volun­
only as a program strategy, but as a key feature of         teers, so could I call you if I ever need some
our peer networks. Peer mentoring and network­              advice on this topic?”
ing are critical to our awareness that none of us
                                                            Create a learning club. Another approach to
are in this alone. Even if you are located in a
                                                            networking is to create a learning club. If you
small, isolated community, there are many ways
                                                            know a few other new directors and maybe one
that you can get connected to your peers.
                                                            or two more seasoned ones, you could create an
                                                            informal learning club to exchange resources
                                                            regarding a topic or topics by e-mail or confer­
                                                            ence call.
                                                                         See Building a Strong Peer Network,page 8

                                                                                                                                             5
Program Start-Up Blueprint   By Cole McMahon,Director of Training and Technical Assistance, Maryland Governor’s Office on Se
ervice and Volunteerism,and the participants at the Atlantic Cluster New Program Directors’ Orientation,Linthicum,Maryland, September 2000
    Start-Up Challenge: Recruitment for the
    Young Fathers Project
    By Laine Renfro Sedillo,Executive Director, New Mexico Teen Pregnancy Coalition




         he New Mexico Young Fathers Project                   designed pre-service orientation that builds the
    T    began in 1999, with funding from the
    Office of Population Affairs and its collaborative
                                                               ethic of service, unifies the team, and gives them
                                                               the knowledge they need to begin service. Set­
    partners: Planned Parenthood of New Mexico                 ting clear expectations in the beginning will
    and the Father & Family Center. The program                reduce confusion and misunderstandings later in
    received funding to develop and provide a multi­           the year. After pre-service orientation, train your
    faceted educational program to address the needs           members thoroughly and often,since they have a
    of young parenting males at 10 teen parent sites           lot of desire, but not as much technical expertise
    across the state.One of the biggest start-up chal­         as you might expect.
    lenges was recruitment of AmeriCorps mem­
    bers. Through the process of recruitment, pro­             � Seek to learn about the skills members
                                                               already have. Members may possess skills and
    gram staff learned some valuable lessons:
                                                               knowledge that you do not know about. Try to
    � Position descriptions help you recruit the               build upon the unanticipated skills of members
    “right” members. In the New Mexico Young                   in ways that strengthen the program efforts.
    Fathers Project, members needed to be male
    with at least two years of college, experience in          � Don’t let the small stuff get you down.
                                                               Recruiting is hard work, and there is no way
    health education or social work, and experience
                                                               around the time and effort it takes to recruit
    in male involvement activities (such as Boy
                                                               good members. But if the details of recruitment
    Scouts). Without a clear position description,
    you can waste a lot of energy recruiting members           start to get you down,take some time to remem­
    who are not qualified for your program. A com­             ber the big picture: careful recruiting will ulti­
    prehensive position description is essential to            mately increase the success of your program. �
    help you focus your recruiting efforts.                    For more information, contact Laine Renfro Sedillo
                                                               at nmtpc@flash.net or Carl Dellinger, Planned Par­
    � Recruiting is best done locally. Although
    websites and e-mail discussion groups can be               enthood of New Mexico,at dellinger@aol.com.
    good places to advertise for interns,most recruit­
    ment involves the local media and traditional
    “low tech” ways of networking within the com­               Building a Strong Peer Network
    munity. Start with local colleges and vocational            (continued from page 5)
    schools or other places where the types of mem­
    bers you are looking for might be found. Also,              Give back to your network. A final principle:
    use other AmeriCorps members to help get the                Always give back to your network. As you gain
    word out about your project. Personal recruit­              experience, you will have more experience to
    ment seems to work well.                                    share, and in a couple of years you will no longer
                                                                be the “new kid” on the block.Then, it will be your
    � Network with other AmeriCorps sites on a
                                                                turn to provide support when a new director says,
    coordinated recruitment strategy. If seve ra l
                                                                “Help, I don’t know anything! Where can I turn?”
    programs in your area are recruiting members,
    share position descriptions and member applica­             There are two approaches when starting out as a
    tions. A member not suited for one placement                new director. The first is to go it alone, struggle
    may be perfect for another.                                 to find resources, and when things go wrong,
                                                                blame it on lack of preparation or proper train-
    � Be prepared for lots of paperwork. E ve n
                                                                ing. The second approach is to intentionally
    though some of it is computerized, there are lots
                                                                develop and nurture professional relationships,
    of documents to read, forms to complete, and
                                                                ask for help, and, whenever possible, establish
    reports to submit.
                                                                more formal mentoring relationships. Though
    � Once you find members, invest heavily in                  we may still struggle at times, this second
    them. Members are in it not for the money but               approach will give us a broader network for sup­
    for the experience and sense of purpose they                port,because we are all in this work together. �
    gain. Start the members off right with a well­

8
Financial Management for New Programs

By Corland Forrester, CPA, Walker & Company



                                                      � Grant expenditures that are reimbursed by
W       e all know the proverbs “A stitch in time
        saves nine” and “If something is worth
doing, it’s worth doing right the first time.”
                                                        the Corporation for National Service
                                                      � Matching expenditures,if applicable
These two adages should be held closely by pro-
                                                      � Other non-federal-related expenditures
gram directors and other stakeholders of new
programs as they begin the process of setting up      5. Take a careful look at the financial capacity
their operations. “Doing it right” means imple­       of your organization to provide cash (for mem­
menting strong financial controls to accurately       bers’ support) and other operating matches,
manage a program’s operations. A program may          which can be cash or in-kind support.
have a good mission and a great plan for carrying
it out, but the program can fail if good financial    Operating Activities
management is lacking. As you begin to develop
your program’s financial management system,           1. Set up a payroll process for members and
consider the following essential activities for the   staff. Ensure that applicable taxes are withheld
start-up and operation of a successful program.       from members’living allowances,if applicable.

                                                      2. Review program goals against your budget
Start-Up Activities                                   and compare to actual expenditures.
1 . Know the rules you must follow while              3 . Prepare Periodic Expense Reports (PER)
administering your grant. These rules may
                                                      and Financial Status Reports (FSR) in a timely
include the Corporation’s grant provisions that
                                                      manner.
apply to your specific grant, state guidelines for
the location(s) of your operations (which may be      4 . Ensure that policies and procedures are
obtained from your state commission or office),       being followed.
and federal guidelines based on your type of                                                                 Relevant OMB
organization. The federal regulations are found       5. Ensure that the program expenditures are            Circulars
in the Office of Management and Budget                being approved by the appropriate person and           State and Local
(OMB) Circulars.OMB circulars that may appl y         that these expenditures are reported accurately.       Government, Tribes:
to your organization (see sidebar) can be found at                                                           A-102
                                                      6. Ensure that the matching requirements are           A-87
www.whitehouse.gov/OMB/circulars/index.html.
                                                      being met. Member support match should be
                                                                                                             A-133
2 . Design internal controls to manage your           met every quarter and operating match by the
                                                      end of the program year.                               Higher Education:
operations.These controls should include proce­
                                                                                                             A-110
dures for the following:
                                                      7. Document your expenditures so that (1) they         A-21
� Approving program expenditures                      can be easily traced to the source documentation;      A-133
� Ensuring all expenditures are recorded in the       and (2) it is clearly indicated how these expendi­     Nonprofit:
   financial records                                  tures were necessary for your program’s operation.     A-110
� Reviewing and approving timesheets of               History has taught us that when programs fail to       A-122
   members and staff, as appropriate                                                                         A-133
                                                      implement strong financial management con­
� Preparing financial and programmatic reports        trols, they invite intentional or unintentional fis­
� Segregating activities performed by employ­         cal problems that can result in a program losing
   ees to develop a system of checks and bal­         funds. The lack of financial controls can also
   ances (for example, make sure the same             result in negative audit findings.This can require
   employee does not open the mail, deposit           an organization to pay back funds to the federal
   checks and record the transactions in the          government or risk not having the pro g ra m
   financial system)                                  renewed. If you implement good fiscal controls
                                                      early in your program’s life, you won’t have to
3. Document through written policies and pro­         deal with the negative consequences of not hav­
cedures the internal controls that are designed to    ing them later on. �
manage your operations.
                                                      For technical assistance with financial management,
4. Design your accounting system with separate        contact Corland Forrester toll-free at 1-877-363­
cost centers to segregate the activities for:         9300 or ceforrester@walkerllp.com.
                                                                                                                                 9
                             Library Spotlight: Program Start-Ups


Corporation for
             America Reads: Principles and Key Com­                 Getting Things Started: 

National Service 
           ponents for High Quality America Reads                 The AmeriCorps Orientation Video

programs may check
          National Service Program Initiatives                   8 minutes,V0156
out these and other
         Corporation for National Service, 1997                 Overview of AmeriCorps for those beginning
items from our Library
      8 pages,R0688                                          their year of service. Describes the mission of
Catalog by contacting
       Describes guidelines for integrating Am e ri ca        AmeriCorps, the history of national service, and
Bernadette Perez:
           Reads initiatives into national service programs       what it means to be an AmeriCorps member.
                             and the standards of quality tutoring activities.
Phone:
                                                                             1995-6 Idaho TRIO AmeriCorps Member
800-860-2684, ext.260
       AmeriCorps Education Awards Programs:                  Calendar-Journal
                             Starting Strong and Staying on Track                   150 pages,W0035
TDD:
                        Catholic Network of Volunteer Service                  Helps members record, focus, and organize their
831-461-0205
                Approximately 150 pages,R1636                          goals and work for the next year. Each month
                             Sections on CNS requirements, start-up tips,           contains a calendar with time-card deadlines.
Fax:

831-430-9471
                member recruitment and orientation, site super­        Space for weekly journal entries for recording
                             visor resources, program monitoring, site man­         work and for writing success stories is provided.
Website:
                    agement, and training and technical assistance.
www.etr.org/nsrc/                                                                   Practical Applications: Strategies for
library.html                 AmeriCorps*VISTA Supervisor's Manual                   Supporting a Diverse Corps
                             92 pages,R0730                                         38 pages,R0685
Address:
                    Assists supervisors with issues like project devel­    Strategies for encouraging and promoting diver­
NSRC/ETR Associates
         opment,member recruitment,project implemen­            sity in AmeriCorps programs. Addresses recruit­
P.O. Box 1830                tation,and member administration.                      ment and retention of members, assessment
Santa Cruz, CA                                                                      policies, training and skill development, and
95061-1830                   Becoming a Better Senior Corps                         dealing with group conflicts.
                             Supervisor
                             National Crime Prevention Council                      Programming for Impact National Toolkit
                             120 pages,R1457                                        Angela Roberts,ed.
                             Gives supervisors techniques for active listening,     Approximately 200 pages,K0565
                             coaching, and managing conflict. Describes self-       Reference manual, learning tool, and guide for
                             assessment and time-management methods.                Senior Corps project directors. Sections include
                                                                                    project administration, working with volunteer
                             Becoming a Better Supervisor:                          stations,advisory councils,and tools for commu­
                             A Resource Guide for Community                         nity needs,data collection,and measurement.
                             Service Supervisors
                             143 pages,C0096
                                                                                    Seniors for Schools Effective Practices
                             Illustrates the many roles of a supervisor; includes
                                                                                    Guidebook
                             readings, assessment tools, and checklists.            National Senior Service Corps
Opinions or points of
                                                                                    350 pages,R1453
view expressed in this       Complete Guide to Learning through                     How to initiate and sustain a senior service liter­
newsletter or in these       Community Service: Grades K-9
                                                                                    acy program in schools: recruiting and training
referenced items are         Lillian S. Stephens
                                                                                    volunteers, building partnerships, choosing a lit­
those of the authors         235 pages,C0111
                                                                                    eracy model, community outreach, and program
and do not necessarily       How to establish a service-learning program:
                                                                                    administration and evaluation.
reflect the official posi­   integrating curriculum according to age, course
tion of the Corporation      of study, and planned duration.
                                                                                    Starting Strong: A Guide to
for National Service or
                                                                                    Pre-Service Training
ETR Associates.              Essential Elements of Service-Learning
                                                                                    MOSAICA, Washington, D.C.1996
                             for Effective Practice and Organizational
                                                                                    595 pages,R0135
                             Support
                                                                                    Provides information on what type of pre-service
                             National Service-Learning Cooperative
                                                                                    training is appropriate for specific programs.
                             34 pages,M0791
                                                                                    Also available at www.etr.org/nsrc/pdfs/start­
                             Includes an introduction to service-learning, a
                                                                                    ingstrong/starting.html. Disk of activities can be
                             description of the essential elements of effective
                                                                                    ordered at no charge from NSRC.*
                             service-learning practices and how to apply them.

10
Literacy Projects: Start-Up Issues and Concerns


Note: The following is an excerpt from the Se­            Expect an adjustment period for organizing
niors for Schools Effective Practices Guidebook,      any new project, but plan for staffing early in
Chapter One, “Common Start-Up Issues and              your preparations. Your sponsor agency may have
Concerns.” For more information on establishing       staff who are able to help you out. Ask advice
a literacy program, refer to the guidebook (avail­    from your sponsor. They are already established
able from the NSRC lending library, page 10).         in the community and will be a valuable resource
                                                      for information and ideas for getting things
A    s project directors, there are many factors to
     be considered when establishing a literacy
program. This article highlights common con­
                                                      done. They also fund your program and will be
                                                      able to identify what the budget resources are for
                                                      hiring support staff.
cerns and problem areas identified by Seniors for
Schools project directors themselves.It offers you
                                                      How to Communicate Your Project’s Needs
a starting point for finding your own approach
and solutions.                                        to a School Principal
                                                      When a project is new and lacks a track record,
Beginning a New Literacy Initiative                   project directors can sometimes feel reluctant
As a new project director, you may feel over-         and uncomfortable being up-front and direct
whelmed with the task set before you and have         when identifying project needs and expectations
some hesitancy in knowing how and where to            for the school’s role. Develop a partnership
begin. Do not hesitate to seek help as you launch     agreement or Memorandum of Understanding
a new initiative, or continue to develop an exist­    with each school. (Samples are available at the
ing program. You have many resources for infor­       LEARNS website: www.nwrel.org/learns.) Out­
mation and problem-solving, beginning with the        line what will be provided by your project,and by
Corporation for National Service in Washington,       the school. Also establish a timeline for meeting
D.C. Consult your sponsor organization and            obligations and benchmarks for measuring the
school partners as well. Keep them abreast of         success of the partnership. This will provide a
issues and activities.The more you involve others     shared understanding of expectations.
in your project, the broader your foundation for
the project will be. Seek advice and assistance as    How Much Time and What Topics
often as you need it.
                                                      Are Essential to Volunteer Orientation
                                                      and Training?
Administering a Grant Authored by
                                                      There are so many things that project directors
Someone Else
                                                      feel are important for volunteers to know and
Frequently the author of your program’s grant is a    understand about their work. This is increasingly
writer, not a project director or manager. The        true for projects working in literacy and education.
author may have identified key goals, objectives          Recognize first of all that your project is
and implementation procedures that you have           unique. There will be similarities in projects, but
not had a role in designing. It is okay and often     no two projects are exactly the same, nor are their
necessary to tweak goals and objectives to fit a      needs the same. Look to other projects for exam-
more realistic and manageable timeline and mile­      ples, survey your volunteers and find out what
stones for your project. You may amend the writ­      knowledge they feel they’re lacking and look to
ten goals and objectives based on your knowledge      your partner schools to be resources as well.
of your program and goals.                            Schools using particular reading models or
                                                      approaches will most likely want to provide some
Securing Staff to Administer the Project              sort of training to volunteers. Create a training
                                                      outline or training plan for the year.
When projects are selected, there must be quali ­
                                                          Remember, not every topic can be covered
fied people available to do everything from help­     during the initial orientation period. Build in
ing answer the phones when recruitment ca ll s        trainings throughout the year, and make these
begin to come in, to assisting with financial mat­    trainings relevant to the needs of the children,
ters regarding the new grant.Thus, project direc­     volunteers and overall project goals.
tors often must move quickly to secure new staff
that can help administer the project.                                          See Literacy Projects,page 12


                                                                                                               11
     National Service
     Resource Center
                               Starting Smart in Service-Learning
                               By Bob Seidel,Department of Service-Learning,Corporation for National Service


ETR Associates
P.O. Box 1830                         any of the ideas about start-up in Ameri-            contact the National Service-Learning Exchange by
Santa Cruz, CA 95061
Shipping:
                               M      Corps and Senior Corps also apply to
                               Learn and Serve America programs. There are,
                                                                                           calling toll-free 1-877-572-3924, e-mailing lsaex­
                                                                                           change@nylc.org or visiting www.lsaexchange.org.
4 Carbonero Way                however, a few key points that are essential,if not              For help with education or literacy programs, call
Scotts Valley, CA 95066        specific,to service-learning programs:                      LEARNS, the Corporation’s T/TA provider for edu­
Phone:(800) 860-2684           � Make sure that your goals and objectives                  cational success. LEARNS is a partnership of the
TDD: (831) 461-0205               address adequately both participant learning             Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 1-800­
Fax:(831) 430-9471                outcomes and community service outcomes.                 361-7890, www.nwrel.org/learns, and the Bank
E-mail:nsrc@etr.org               It’s crucial that your program find ways to              Street College of Education,1-800-930-5664.
www.etr.org/nsrc                  make these categories of objectives mutually
                                  supportive rather than competitive.
NSRC Staff:
                               � Involve diverse participants in defining goals,          Literacy Projects
Mark Fulop, ext.214
                                 objectives, and methods as early as possible.            (continued from page 11)
Program Director
                                 Students, faculty, administrators, and other
Susan Hillyard, ext.105
                                 c om mu n i ty members who have a stake in                Identifying Appropriate Space within a
Program Manager
                                 what the program does should all have mean­               School for Tutoring Sessions
Jill Saito, ext.100              ingful representation as early as is practical.
Epicenter Coordinator                                                                      Space is at a premium because schools are fre­
                               � Work on program evaluation from Day One.                  quently overcrowded. Volunteers may initially find
Donna Riggs, ext.130
                                 Your concern for long-term success of your                they must hunt for a space to work one-to-one
Information Specialist
                                 program, as well as meaningful outcomes for               with children and to consistently call their own.
Mary Girouard, ext.143           all stakeholders, should mean that you inte­              Not having consistent space for tutoring and vol­
Editor                           grate process evaluation and outcomes assess­             unteer meetings can cause volunteers to feel that
Bernadette Perez, ext.260        ment into your initial work on goals and                  the project lacks structure and organization.
Resource Center Assistant        objectives.If this is not an area of expertise for            Although space for volunteers may have been
Administrative                   you, seek assistance from appropriate training            identified in the original proposal, without a
Assistant, ext.142               and technical assistance providers.                       doubt it must be addressed again when actually
                                   There are important reasons for, and multiple           beginning work in a school. Be polite and
                               facets to, all three of these points.Addressed well,        respectful when working with school administra­
Corporation for
                               they can empower participants, make service as              tors, but be very clear in letting them know that
National Service
                               appropriate and meaningful as possible, help                space is essential to working with children and to
1201 New York Ave.NW
                               focus on similarities and differences among par­            the success of the project. The space does not
Washington, DC 20525
                               ticipants and other community members, and                  need to be fancy, but needs to be set apart in
Phone:(202) 606-5000
                               stimulate creativity and energy.                            some way, with some sense of privacy so there are
TDD:(202) 565-2799
                                   Throughout the program activity, participants           not a lot of distractions.
www.nationalservice.org
Corporation for                (students, faculty, administrators, and other com­
                               munity members) should reflect on what needs
                                                                                           Evaluating and Assessing the Impact
National Service Adviser:
David Bellama                  doing, why, what skills and tools are necessary,            of the Project’s Work
Senior Training Officer,       who should be involved, relevant aspects of the
                                                                                           With any literacy project,it is sometimes difficult
T/TA                           culture of the community, and other issues.
                                                                                           to know what to measure, how to measure suc­
                               Throughout the activity, organized reflection can
                                                                                           cess and how to communicate the progress of the
                               address what works,what doesn’t, what to do dif­
                                                                                           project.There are many ways to demonstrate the
Upon request,this materi­      ferently, which early expectations have proven
                                                                                           positive impact of your project. Work with your
al will be made available in   true, which ones haven’t, and many other issues.
                                                                                           school principal or leader to identify areas of your
alternative formats for        Such reflection—which can integrate group dis­
                                                                                           program that will be evaluated by the school.
people with disabilities.      cussion, writing assignments, and a host of other
                                                                                           Communicate what you need to know and mutu­
                               methods—can benefit both participant learning
                                                                                           ally decide when this information will be provid­
                               and community outcomes. �
                                                                                           ed to you.If possible, arrange in advance to work
                               For additional information,contact the National Ser­        with a local evaluator who can provide assistance
                               vice-Learning Clearinghouse at 1-800-808-7378 or            to your project. This evaluator should be willing
                               serve@tc.umn.edu or visit www.umn.edu/~serve. To            and able to have an ongoing relationship with
                               contact a volunteer peer mentor in service-learning,        your project. �

12

				
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