On December 1-3, 2000, the Planned arenthood Federation of America (http://www.ppfa.org) convened its first conference for those staff members responsible for volunteer program management at the affiliate level. They formed a new group called "PPNOVA": Planned Parenthood Network of Volunteer Advocates. While PPFA started from a volunteer base (remember Margaret Sanger and the pioneering birth-control efforts of her supporters), over time their focus has shifted to services provided by paid staff. At this point in their development, PPFA wants to revitalize volunteer contributions at every level of the organization, finding new ways to recruit and involve volunteers who believe in PPFA's mission.
The opening speaker for the PPNOVA conference was Mary Shallenberger, chair of the PPFA National Board. Several guest speakers in the audience were stunned at the clarity of thought and the level of determination evident in Mary's presentation. Never had we heard someone in her key position speak so eloquently about the importance of volunteer involvement. Even more amazing was that, on behalf of the National Board, she shared several concrete benefits local affiliates would get if they joined the effort to expand volunteerism at PPFA. This was indeed "putting your money where your mouth is."
Mary generously agreed to be interviewed briefly for this issue of e-Volunteerism. We specifically asked her to repeat how her board was tangibly encouraging local affiliates to hire volunteer program coordinators and to make volunteers visible and valued.
Please note we intend for our audiotape quality to improve over time. This was our first attempt using new equipment and a novice technician, Susan Ellis! There is a bit more background noise than we would have liked, but at least you know we were really there at the conference.