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Exploring the Impact of Volunteer Trends

Exploring the Impact of Volunteer Trends

Keeping a volunteer program responsive to today's volunteers involves leading a periodic environmental scan to determine what trends are factors in attracting and retaining volunteers. It is important that all staff and leadership volunteers understand these trends. They have implications that impact your organization's success at recruitment, supervision, risk management, recognition, designing volunteer jobs and other key elements of good program management.

I would suggest that you do an annual "Trends Training" with key staff and volunteers in your organization. By using the simple exercise that follows, organizations can be educated about the trends, issues and needs of today's volunteers and can be provided with a context to identify the challenges and opportunities inherent in them. After this process, an organization is positioned to adapt its current program by strategically taking full advantage of the trends while diminishing their challenges

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Sun, 07/01/2001
I use conferences, newsletters and contacts with colleagues across the world to try to stay in touch with what is happening. We then communicate these trends to our volunteer workforce via a quarterly newsletter. We have had a significant amount of government legislation/changes that have influenced us. For example, legislation on food handling has translated into appropriate compulsory training. It was a positive move, but faced some opposition! It is important to keep the volunteer workforce in contact with what is happening. It helps them to understand some of the decisions we make.

Tue, 05/01/2001
I have also found it useful to look at Ivan Scheier's work on futuring which emphasizes that trends seldom continue in a straight line, so we must be careful what projections we make based on an existing hot trend. Thinking about how a trend could reverse itself or how it might be cyclical helps people know what to look for as time moves on.

Thu, 05/17/2001
The Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center published a book entitled, Challenges for the New Century; Trends that will influence Kentucky's Future. While they clearly stated the challenges affecting our Commonwealth, they also stated, "...Kentucky has a large store of social capital, can be nurtured. They see volunteers as a "trend" to affect positive change in the state.

Tue, 05/01/2001
As a volunteer and senior center board member and chair of strategic planning, I asked other board members to begin collecting article clippings on issues or topics they felt might impact our work and activities in the coming three years. We will review them as we work on developing our 2002-2005 strategic plan.