DOVIA New Orleans

Directors of Volunteers in Alliance


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  • June 23, 2014 6:02 PM | Anonymous

    Volunteers: Love Them or Leave Them

    You hope volunteers have a passion for your cause and a willingness to freely give their time, talent and treasure without reservations. No two volunteers are alike. Only with experience can a professional truly learn to maximize the positive experience for the volunteer and staff working with the volunteer. Each experience is never the same in duration, intensity and ultimate results.

    According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 64.5 million adults, or 26.5 percent of the adult U.S. population, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $175 billion dollars in 2012. Independent Sector, notes that the value of volunteer time in 2013 was $22.55 per hour.

    The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics highlights the following in its Volunteering in the United State - 2013 report:

    • 62.6 million people volunteered for an organization at least once between September 2012 and September 2013
    • Volunteer rates declined by 1.1 percentage points to 25.4 percent for the year ending in September 2013
    • 35- to 44-year-olds were the most likely to volunteer (30.6 percent of total)
    • Whites volunteered at 27.1 percent and blacks at 18.5 percent
    • Married people volunteered at 30.7 percent and those never married at 20 percent
    • 39.8 percent of college graduates volunteered
    • Most volunteers were only involved in one or two organizations
    • The highest percentage of volunteers served religious organizations (33 percent), followed by education/youth (25.6 percent) and social service/community service (14.7 percent)    

    A key to volunteer success for your organization is how you motivate volunteers. Several authors highlight what they feel are motivation tools for volunteers. According to consultant Thomas McKee, providing on the job training, being available to assist volunteers and providing positive feedback is a must. He notes you need to "stimulate that inner motivation."

    According to, it is important to provide volunteers with the right motivation by rewarding and recognizing them. Freelance writer Natalie Bracco believes the values of respect and flexibility and leading by example are factors to success. Robin Toal at Funds for NGOs says one must understand volunteers and make them feel valued. She notes that a happy volunteer is a motivated volunteer.

    The volunteer experience starts at recruitment. If you recruit someone for the right reasons and you see joy in his or her face, the "good" process begins. If you have to force someone to volunteer, the "bad" process begins.

    You need to thoroughly explain what the volunteer will experience. It is helpful to have this information in writing and clearly denote expectations of time. Do not play shell games with volunteers. You will lose every time.

    So many organizations carry volunteers who are burned out, tuned out and left the organization mentally some time ago. You need to say goodbye to them with grace and praise, plus begin to recruit fresh blood ASAP. You also must do everything possible to love your volunteers and know each person well enough to understand each individual's needs and wants.

    Always emphasize recruitment, orientation and training with clarity of purpose. And always engage volunteers undefined they are important community ambassadors for your organization. The ultimate goal is to make the volunteer experience one to remember for all the right reasons!   

  • June 22, 2014 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    Encourage Your Kids to Volunteer During Their Summer Break

    Whether it is planting trees, helping out at an animal shelter, visiting the elderly at a nursing home, or reading to a young child, there are many rewards to volunteering. Kids learn by watching the adults around them. The summer is a great time to get the family involved in a volunteer project. Here are some resources that provide volunteer ideas, discuss the benefits of volunteering, and a tool to help you locate possible volunteer projects in your state:

    Encourage Your Kids to Volunteer During Their Summer Break


    Whether it is planting trees, helping out at an animal shelter, visiting the elderly at a nursing home, or reading to a young child, there are many rewards to volunteering. Kids learn by watching the adults around them. The summer is a great time to get the family involved in a volunteer project. Here are some resources that provide volunteer ideas, discuss the benefits of volunteering, and a tool to help you locate possible volunteer projects in your state:


    ·        A Family’s Guide to Getting Involved

    ·        Locating Volunteer Opportunities in Your State

    ·        Volunteering Ideas for Teens

    Encourage Your Kids to Volunteer During Their Summer Break


    Whether it is planting trees, helping out at an animal shelter, visiting the elderly at a nursing home, or reading to a young child, there are many rewards to volunteering. Kids learn by watching the adults around them. The summer is a great time to get the family involved in a volunteer project. Here are some resources that provide volunteer ideas, discuss the benefits of volunteering, and a tool to help you locate possible volunteer projects in your state:


    ·        A Family’s Guide to Getting Involved

    ·        Locating Volunteer Opportunities in Your State

    ·        Volunteering Ideas for Teens

  • June 06, 2014 5:18 PM | Anonymous

    We are thrilled to announce that Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans (EPNO) has released its 2014 grantmaking focus areas and Requests for Proposals. Letters of Intent can be submitted online until June 27, 2014 at 5 p.m.

    The 2014 class has four grantmaking teams that will award up to $10,000 in each of the following areas: 

    Arts & Culture:
    EPNO’s Arts and Culture team seeks to support organizations located in the “New Orleans Community” (Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, St. Charles, and St. John the Baptist) that:

    • Improve artists’ quality of life through
      • Housing;
      • Healthcare; and/or
      • Business Management (Financial and Legal services);
    • Increase artists’ exposure by reaching new audiences and/or building new client/artist relationships; and/or
    • Support the use of an artistic medium to bring public attention to an issue facing the New Orleans Community.

    Crime & Public Safety:

    The EPNO Crime & Public Safety team seeks to support local* organizations taking an innovative, whole-person approach to building a safer public by focusing on one or more of the following areas:

    • PREVENTION: Prevention through individualized attention for at-risk populations;
    • RECIDIVISM & RE-ENTRY: Direct support for the previously incarcerated; and
    • ADVOCACY: Policies or strategies that address prevention, recidivism and/or re-entry.

    *within the greater New Orleans area

    Economic Development: 
    The Economic Development team seeks to support a non-profit in the Greater New Orleans area that focuses on one or more of the following:

    • Workforce Development
    • Neighborhood Revitalization
    • Small Business Support

    In determining grant awards, preference will be given to entities that accomplish one or more of the following:

    • Facilitate job and business creation
    • Prepare individuals to enter or reenter the workforce 
    • Support career advancement
    • Enhance the economic prospects of a neighborhood
    • Support existing businesses

    Youth Development: 
    The Youth Development Team seeks to provide funding for groups with innovative approaches to strengthen character and/or enhance the lives of youth in the Greater New Orleans area.

    How to Apply: 

    Please submit a Letter of Intent online by June 27, 2014 at 5 p.m. 

    You may apply to one area only. The Letter of Intent should include a description of the following (Please limit to 250 words for consistency): 

    • The organization and its mission 
    • The project for which you are seeking funding 
    • How the funds will be used

    All applicants will receive an email by July 15 indicating if they are invited to submit a full proposal. 


    To be eligible, applicants must: 

    • Have 501(c)(3) status. If you are an individual with an innovative idea, you must find a sponsoring 501(c)(3) 
    • Be located within the greater New Orleans area

    Please note: EPNO has a Conflict of Interest policy which may prohibit an organization at which an EPNO member or immediate family member is employed from applying to this year's grant cycle. EPNO will notify you after your letter of intent is received if there is a conflict. 

    About EPNO: 
    EPNO is an initiative to engage young leaders in New Orleans in philanthropy. Members participate in a six-month program where they pool funds, collaborate on teams and allocate grants to impact issues they care about. Member contributions are matched dollar for dollar through the generosity of outside sponsorships. In total, the Class of 2014 will distribute $40,000 in grants. 

    Our Mission: 

    • Inspire and educate young leaders to become effective, lifelong philanthropists 
    • Impact positive change in the New Orleans region 
    • Retain local talent by allowing emerging leaders to connect with each other and their community

    The group began as a pilot in 2009 and is now in its sixth class. By the end of this year, almost 200 young professionals will have graduated from the program, distributing over $200,000 in funds to local nonprofits. 

    For more information, please visit

    Please forward this email to any organization that you think should submit a Letter of Intent. 

    Questions? Contact 

  • June 05, 2014 3:23 PM | Anonymous

    How do you bring your fund development to a new level and ensure sustainability?

    "I found the information to be excellent. It addressed directly many of the challenges which non-profits are currently facing as it relates to boards, vision, mission and moving forward. I left the meeting with several action items which HOPE ministries will address within upcoming weeks. This within itself is a great accomplishment and speaks to the relevance of the training."

    Hope Ministries Board Chair John F. Smith on the April 22 session, Promoting Excellent Board Leadership


    Promoting Fund Development Success is a training based on national models that focuses on strategies and tactics that are working today. It consists of three modules: 

    • Donor Prospecting
    • Donor Cultivation
    • Donor Stewardship

    Participants will receive practical tools in an interactive session. Board Chair/Executive Director teams will be given a discount on their registration and are encouraged to attend together in order to maximize session effectiveness. During the event participants will begin implementation planning designed to strengthen their organizations.

    The training team consists of:

    ·  Barbara Auten, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area and Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE)

    ·  Lori Bertman, President and CEO of the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation

    ·  Tia Embaugh, CEO of Growth Strategies Group and Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE)

    ·  Susan Jeansonne, Consultant at Growth Strategies Group

    ·  Cory Sparks, Director of the LANO Institute for Nonprofit Excellence

     8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Thursday, June 26, 2014
    Alzheimer's Services of the Capital Area 
    3772 North Boulevard 
    Baton Rouge, LA 70806


    The price of the session for LANO General and Associate Members is $85 for individuals or $153 for a team of two. All other registrants: $170 / $306 respectively.

  • June 04, 2014 2:49 PM | Anonymous

    Calling All Charities!

    Macy's 9th Annual Shop For A Cause is August 23, 2014

    Sign up and request your shopping passes now!

    On Saturday, August 23, 2014, Macy’s will host its 9th annual Shop For A Cause benefiting charities nationwide. Since 2006, Shop For A Cause has raised more than $48 Million for charities across the country. This is your opportunity to be part of the excitement.

    What is Shop For A Cause?

    Why should we participate?

    How do we participate?


  • June 03, 2014 4:53 PM | Anonymous

      Susan Ellis' Tip of the Month

    Where Should Volunteer Resources Be "Placed"?


    The question of where to "place" responsibility for the administration of volunteer involvement surfaces repeatedly, with no agreed upon standard practice. While there is no definitely right or wrong department or level in an organization where volunteers belong, where they appear on the organizational chart sends a message as to their importance. As always, the key is to make the choice strategically.


    Right now there seems to be a trend for larger nonprofits to put volunteer services into the marketing or public relations department. In most cases, this means a transfer out of the chain of command running the organization's direct client services, a move that may have unintended consequences.  On the plus side, this placement acknowledges volunteers as vital to strong relations with the community. It also provides the volunteer resources manager (VRM) with access to resources in media relations, technology, graphic arts, and other elements important in recruiting and recognizing volunteers.


    On the other side of the coin, however, the marketing staff is removed from the daily operations of the organization and outside of any decision making about client services. This poses a serious problem for the VRM, who must be in the loop about what is going on in order to place volunteers into all units throughout the organization.  This requires ongoing contact with direct service staff and participation in planning sessions no one else in marketing would ever attend. So how can the head of marketing competently supervise the VRM and represent the needs of volunteers higher up the chain?


    Another negative is the message this placement sends about the role of volunteers.  Rather than clearly integrated with the service delivery team, being assigned to the marketing department implies that volunteers are mainly "for show" or to win points with the public. It certainly does not convey the sense that volunteers are doing substantive things to further the mission of the organization. 


    Other Common
    Placement Options

    One can identify pros and cons for any of the placement options common for volunteer services.


    In the human resources or personnel department:


    Pros: This permits merger (or eliminates duplication) of some systems for creating position descriptions, staff  handbooks, training, and recordkeeping. The VRM is then positioned to be the human resource "specialist for non-paid staff," and can assure that organization policies foster good employee-volunteer relations, that staff is trained in how to work with volunteers, and more.


    Cons: Over time attention to volunteers is whittled down, as volunteers are given lower priority than paid staff. The tendency is to define volunteer management as employee management, without acknowledging the key differences - nor encouraging or funding these special issues.


    In the development or fundraising office:


    Pros: From this vantage point, volunteers are presented internally and externally as part of the department that coordinates outreach to community groups and businesses, bringing in all community resources (both money and time) to further the mission of the organization. 


    Cons: As with the marketing department, fundraising staff has little direct involvement with the service delivery staff, so again the VRM is at a disadvantage in placing volunteers strategically. Because most organizations value raising funds more than raising time and talent, the VRM is rarely viewed as a partner in resource development, but rather as an assistant to the staff bringing in money. Even more serious is that volunteers may get the message that they are wanted only for their financial value.


    All of the options above put the VRM and volunteers "under" another department. That in itself sends a message. If the organization wants to promote volunteer involvement as important and essential, there are two more choices.


    Placed within the executive offices, reporting directly to the executive director:


    Pros: This demonstrates the value placed on volunteer engagement and gives the VRM continuous overview of the whole organization, as well as access to top decision makers.


    Cons: But the proximity also means that the executive can divert the VRM to other areas and activities unrelated to volunteer engagement. More critically, lower level staff may feel constrained from sharing concerns or needs with the VRM.


    Finally there is the creation of an independent volunteer resources department, sending the message that volunteers are recognized as vital enough to warrant focused attention. 


    Pros: The VRM is seen and treated as a department head, serves on the senior management team, submits a budget to be allocated to support volunteers, and is held accountable for running a successful volunteer involvement initiative.


    Cons: Employees can view volunteers as "belonging" to the volunteer resources department when, in fact, everyone is responsible for supporting volunteers wherever their assignment places them. Also, most department heads do not engage themselves in the functioning of other departments and so may wonder why the director of volunteer resources shows up in their work area, speaks to their employees, and works with staff at all levels. Yet this is precisely what is required to identify positions for volunteers and place them effectively.


    Where volunteer resources appears on the organizational chart is a decision deserving careful assessment. Recognize that the placement can enable or disable the VRM in developing the potential of volunteer engagement for ongoing success. 


    This Quick Tip comes from
    Susan J. Ellis, President of Energize, Inc. 

    Energize Inc. logo



  • May 23, 2014 2:58 PM | Anonymous

    Remember those people who liked you on Facebook or followed you on Twitter? Don't leave them hanging! Now that they've expressed interest in your cause, strike up a conversation! In the Social Media Mini Guide for Nonprofits, you'll learn how to do just that and how to format stories for different networks, make your Facebook posts "likeable," and some tips you can implement today.

    Download your copy of the Social Media Mini Guide today!>>

    Provided by Network for Good.
  • May 04, 2014 8:03 PM | Anonymous

    May Hot Topic


    It seems Points of Light "sold" America's National Volunteer Week to Advil ® this year, making the rest of us non-consenting participants in a commercial advertising strategy. The lack of reaction from the field may be even more disturbing than the callous business deal, tainting a 40-year national tradition. Does anyone care? Please comment!

    Read this month's Hot Topic - Energize Inc. (Susan Ellis)

    You can subscribe to the Hot Topic as a podcast or RSS text feed - or listen to the audio online. 

  • April 15, 2014 9:27 AM | Anonymous
    VTNews Preview of Volunteer Today

    VTNews is the preview for Volunteer Today for April.  Quick clicks to articles of interest.  Suggestions? Questions? Contact VT at

    Failure is bad thing.  Right?  Maybe not!  Read the ideas of Irving H. Buchen, a professor at Capella University.  He offers reasons why failure might lead to success.  Read how you can use failures to improve the volunteer program.  Take a look at his ideas on Engagement and Leadership page.

    There is a myth that you cannot evaluate volunteers.  THE person might not come back.  The fact is that most volunteers want to know if what he/she is doing is helping.  Ask Connie tells how to evaluate, including a form to be used.

    Popik  The March issue of Volunteer Today reported on recent research confirming what most managers of volunteers already know---Engage someone who is unemployed and soon he/she will be employed.  Robin Popik, a regular reader of VT, quickly responded by sharing her annual report.  Read page four. 

  • April 04, 2014 2:59 PM | Anonymous

    Volunteer resources managers commonly struggle with getting volunteers to submit written reports about their work, even if such reports are "required." If an organization routinely receives only a small percentage of monthly information asked of volunteers, something is wrong. But the problem is not the volunteers; it's with the agency that has not cared enough to enforce its own requirements.


    An organization MUST be informed of what is being done in its name anywhere -- not only for quality control, but also to protect both clients and volunteers. This is especially vital for volunteers who work remotely, whether in the field or online. Therefore, a volunteer who does not report is unacceptable in that role. Does this sound harsh? No, it reflects that the work the volunteer is doing is important to everyone and cannot be unreported.


    First, state clearly and specifically in all volunteer position descriptions what the reporting requirements are and reinforce these expectations in all early contacts and training.


    Then, design a reporting procedure that is simple in content and easy to submit.

    • Give volunteers a form to complete! Don't expect essays...but leave room for them to add whatever they want.
    • Ask questions that make sense and have meaning! Such as: some statistics/data to monitor "activity"; some indicators of impact or results - which will vary with each assignment; benchmarks or milestones that might be observed
    • Offer options to report on paper by mail or drop-off, by fax, by voice on a dedicated answering machine line, by e-mail, or online via a tool such as SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo.

    Equally important, determine who will look at and respond to the reports...and follow up when reports are not submitted.


    If you do not follow up the very first time a volunteer does not submit a report, you send the message that it doesn't matter! Stress that you expect and will look at all reports every time. If you start out right, volunteers will soon comply.


    A few more hints:

    • If you cannot respond to reports as soon as they come in, at least thank each volunteer (automatic e-mail is fine) and promise to get back soon.
    • Share non-confidential information in the reports cumulatively with all the other remote volunteers, so that they see how together they are making a difference.
    • If you have many remote volunteers, create one or more team leader positions, assigning a volunteer to specifically follow up with off-site volunteers and then work closely with you.
    • Remember to report to the volunteers on what you are doing, too. It's two-way communication that will help them feel in-the-loop about what is going on.

    Here's a thought: If you do not look at and use the reports volunteers give you, stop asking for them!


    Showing that you read and act on what volunteers tell you in their reports reinforces that reporting is useful to everyone. And many volunteers like to submit reports as a way of sharing what they feel they are contributing. So an effective reporting process is a form of volunteer recognition.


    Think about that as you celebrate National Volunteer Week.

    This Quick Tip comes from
    Susan J. Ellis, President of Energize, Inc. 


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