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April 24, 2016
All We Need Is U.
Ask any Volunteer Coordinator and recruiting volunteers is the biggest task they have, namely because it is an ongoing process. We often thing that getting the word out is the first step in recruitment, it ends with a registration. But there isn’t really a first step; rather there is a continuous cycle that lasts well beyond registration. Advertising what is available, interviewing and training (which is really continuing to discern if the prospective volunteer will work out and where), placement, supervision and developing the volunteer into a walking billboard for your organization that will encourage additional volunteers are all part of the recruitment cycle. Recruitment of right people for the right placement requires a commitment of time and creative energy, coupled with tenacity and a thoughtfully developed plan. The accomplishment of these tasks begins with some considerations and activities that continue throughout:
1. What are internal qualities do your volunteers need?
Keeping in mind the goals of your event/program, the activities volunteers will be conducting and community to be addressed. Consider also the physical and time demands to be placed on volunteers. This will help to identify the type of volunteers to be recruited and may identify groups that can be approached to participate.
2. What are the most important requirements?
Make sure that Job Descriptions honestly reflect the requirements of volunteers being recruited. Additionally, make a checklist of those skills/knowledge most needed, needed and would be beneficial. Not all volunteers will possess everything needed, but a team that excels may be formed from the pool of volunteers.
3. What barriers will prevent volunteers?
- Perceptions of age, disabilities, race and sexual orientation can deter prospective volunteers simply by the word on the street. Make sure advertisements state all are welcome.
- Address safety concerns regarding the volunteers and project sites.
- Other organizations competing for the same volunteers.
- Time commitment may be too great or conflict with other responsibilities.
4. What outreach can be made to groups such as elderly, military, youth, and people with disabilities?
- Prospective elderly volunteers can be encouraged to volunteer to stay active and take part in rewarding experiences/feel productive, use skills they have to share with other volunteers, relate to youthful volunteers, and offer to assist with transportation to and from the project.
- Youth should be encouraged to volunteer as part of their development into an adult coupled with their ownership of their community and civic pride. Their service will also assist them in future careers.
- People with disabilities are always needed to demonstrate that they are just as capable as the rest of society. Their knowledge and expertise during the execution of the event is just as vital as the planning phase.
- Military personnel can be approached as part of their re-integration with the community after a deployment or after retirement. If a military base is nearby, groups are already formed to provide community outreach to help active duty members connect with their new neighbors.
5. What message can be developed that universally sells the organization?
Ensure that the tagline and promotional materials developed lend themselves to your entire portfolio. “All We Need Is U.” speaks to multi-generational and socio-economic groups. It can be used to recruit volunteers for events, seasonal and year round volunteer positions is also a second name for Volunteer Louisiana. Branding with your slogan connects the opportunity with your organization quickly and easily. Work on a tag line that is multi-purpose.
6. What format of messaging is best to used?
Ensure that the way the recruitment message is delivered reaches the prospective volunteers identified. Posting opportunities on the internet is a great way to get the word out, but if the prospective volunteers are not tech-savvy, newsletter articles/advertisement may provide better results.
Always include photographs and narratives of prior successes to give the volunteers a sense of wanting to be a part of a great organization doing outstanding work. Quotes from previous volunteers are also helpful, and when you have compiled the materials, have someone from the target audience look it over to ensure that it will appeal to them.
7. What is the best plan to put a personal face on the organization?
When promoting opportunities, ensure that the work need to be addressed is identified as the service they will be giving. Making a difference is a major factor in why people volunteer and with whom they serve. Bringing along volunteers who have served with your organization for a considerable amount of time, provides real-world comments and connections to prospective volunteers. Finally, never leave a signup sheet for people who want more information. Rather, provide applications and ask those who are interested to fill one out for submittal then and ensure that they are contacted to follow up within one week.
8. Look around at partner agencies and community leaders already working?
Relationships play a major role in recruitment. Developing and maintaining relationships with area businesses, government agencies (especially those that work with the organization), and peer organizations will pay dividends. Provide a survey to seek connections for additional recruitment efforts. Current volunteers should also be surveyed for family and friends who may also want to serve the program. Additionally, ask clergy and other faithbased leadership for prospective volunteers.
9. Don’t stop looking just because you asked the target audience.
The broader the reach, the more diverse the return; and the best volunteer may be a special someone in a target audience overlooked. Never limit recruitment efforts to same sources year in and year out.
10. Recruit more than you actually need.
When recruiting for the goal number of volunteers needed, assume that 25 percent will register, but not show, will not be fully appropriate for the program and some may drop out during training. Always recruit for more than is actually needed, and if there is a surplus, assign as assistants to leadership positions as training for future placement.
April 11, 2016
All We Need Is U.
National Volunteer Week (April 10-16, 2016):National Volunteer Week began in 1974 by the Points of Light Foundation to inspire service and encourage organizations to recognize volunteers. Recognition of service has always taken different forms and should be looked upon as a way to promote the betterment of the community. Volunteer recognition takes many forms and can be presented well even on the tightest budgets. Here are a few ideas:
Everyone needs supervision, not just to know what should and shouldn’t be done, but also to ensure that volunteers are enjoying themselves in their service. Check up on them while they are serving. If they look a little beat, give them a break; bored, give them a more challenging task. They’ll be glad to see that their service means something to the organization and their personal needs are engaged.
Service can be hard work, and nothing says “Thank you, I understand what you’ve done” like a good meal. Sandwiches on a hot jobsite or jambalaya in January provided by a local partner makes great sense. Also remember the vegetarians and that other dietary needs are addressed, not just when ordering. Make sure the carnivores don’t decide to have a light meal and eat all the special diets.
The Big Picture-
For some volunteers, the service they perform is very simple and repetitive, but doesn’t readily explain where they fit in the cause. Explain it and make sure that everyone understands that the event is based on the groups’ effort, not just the one in the spotlight.
Volunteers, like paid staff, see what they perceive as better ways for the organization to operate. Include them in discussions about upcoming projects, planning, or staff retreats. This time with the staff will not only allow them to take ownership of the organization, but also become part of your team.
Regardless of what your organization does for volunteers, ie. parties, meals, passes to events or activities, it won’t mean much if there isn’t a ‘Thank You’. The more personal the thanks, the better received. Make sure it’s personalized; uses the name they use not the full name, learn what they like about their service for inclusion, and use pen and ink for the extra-special connection.
Take time to thank volunteers with a write-up in the local newspaper, organization newsletter, and online blog. This benefit is a win for everyone; the volunteer gets recognition, more people are aware of what your volunteers are doing and may want to join, and your organization gets free publicity to support future fundraising.
Tokens of Gratitude-
Ask any volunteer who has been serving for a while and they can display a treasure trove of t-shirts, water bottles, note pads and pens. Why? Because sometimes it’s the tangible that volunteers enjoy. Along with your next order for bobbles to distribute, partnering with local businesses to provide gift cards, or reduced pricing for volunteers that can give a little something extra.
Napoleon once said, “A soldier will fight long and hard for a piece of ribbon.” For some volunteers their service is a war on illiteracy, poverty, drugs, drunk driving, liter and pollution. Take advantage of opportunities to recognize their service by nominating them for awards by outside organizations. Create a “Volunteer of the Year” program that gives recognition to a select few. Finally, track their hours for awards such as the Louisiana Volunteer Service Award or the Presidential Volunteer Service Awards and have the State Volunteer Commission or a local elected Official make the presentation.
The main thing to remember about volunteer recognition is make it personal to the volunteer and say thank you!
If you would like to assist with the flooding disaster response and recovery please email Nicholas Auck at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive updates and information on any volunteer opportunities as they are identified. Please, do not deploy until you are directed to do so.
Thank you for your willingness to serve!
Thanks for your submission.
Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Through service-learning, young people-from kindergarteners to college students-use what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems. They not only learn the practical applications of their studies, they become actively contributing citizens and community members through the service they perform.
Service-learning is an effective strategy that helps students by:
- Promoting learning through active participation in service experiences;
- Providing structured time for students to reflect by thinking, discussing and writing about their service experience;
- Providing an opportunity for students to use skills and knowledge in real-life situations;
- Extending learning beyond the classroom and into the community; and
- Fostering a sense of caring for others.
To learn more, visit the Generator School Network
Campus-based Service Learning in Louisiana
Training and Resources
2015 Louisiana Volunteerism Study
Volunteer Louisiana commissioned the LSU Public Policy Lab to conduct a statewide study on volunteerism in Louisiana. Highlights include:
- 70% of Louisiana residents volunteer informally, and 48% volunteer through formal organizations
- Most formal volunteering takes place within religious organizations
- Volunteers are motivated by a desire to help others and improve community conditions
- Lack of time is the single greatest barrier to volunteering
The full report can be viewed here
Volunteer Louisiana staff is able to provide specialized training to your nonprofit, faith-based organization, or public entity. View our menu of availiable training here.
All We Need is U
The Volunteer Louisiana Foundation is a non-profit charity established, organized and operated exclusively as a direct support organization to assist the Volunteer Louisiana Commission. The Foundation raises funds to aid the Commission in accomplishing its goals of meeting important human needs in Louisiana.
Do not edit
Community Service Diploma Endorsement Grant Opportunity
The Volunteer Louisiana Commission is requesting proposals for initiatives that promote, support, or strengthen the Community Service Diploma Endorsement within your school community.The goal of this grant competiion is to fund quality projects in multiple regions of the state. Grants of up to $1,000.00 will be awarded to schools or non-profits through the Volunteer Generation Fund sponsored by Volunteer Louisiana and Corporation for National and Community Service.
The RFP and application are available at the link below.
2015-16 Volunteer Generation Fund Awards Announced
The Volunteer Louisiana Commission is pleased to announce the list of 2015-16 VGF awardees. These projects meet important community needs, engage volunteers, leverage partnerships, and implement best volunteer management practices. New projects and projects in rural parishes were given priority consideration.
15 projects in 29 parishes will engage 6,792 volunteers in service! The list of winners is available at the link below.
Training and Resources
Volunteer Louisiana is pleased to offer the following trainings to any Louisiana nonprofit, educational institution, government agency, or faith-based organization at no cost.
COOP (Business Continuity Planning)
Nearly 70% of businesses and nonprofits affected by major disaster never reopen, and lack of planning is a primary reason. How will your organization handle the next disaster? What should you do to prepare for organizational continuity? This training will instruct participants on developing a complete business continuity plan, involving staff and volunteers to prepare for a stage evacuation, consolidation of activities, and restoration planning during recovery. (2-4 hours of training; follow-on training in specific areas as needed.)
How to Recruit & Manage Volunteers for a Large Scale Event
Your next event needs 200+ volunteers. Do you have a recruitment plan? Once you’ve recruited them, do you have a plan to train, manage, and recognize your volunteers? This training will instruct participants on best practices including: recruitment, management, and training, developing job descriptions, identifying Volunteer Leaders, accessing online resources, and evaluation and improvement plans. (1 hour general overview, with longer additional sessions for specific issues as needed.)
Volunteer Reception Center
Have you ever thought about coordinating volunteers in the event of a local, regional or national disaster? This training will prepare participants to staff VRCs that will register and place spontaneous volunteers in times of disaster. Training attendees will gain the skills to establish a local VRC to coordinate local nonprofit needs and volunteers looking to make a difference. The training includes an interactive volunteer reception center exercise where participants experience the VRC model and practice managing spontaneous volunteers. (4 hours of training and interactive period. Minimum of 22 participants.)
I will carry this commitment with me, this year and beyond
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will Get Things Done!
(excerpted from the AmeriCorps pledge)
AmeriCorps alumni can stay engaged in service and also receive great benefits by joining AmeriCorps Alums. It is the only national network that connects the nearly one million alumni of all AmeriCorps programs who have served since 1994 (including an estimated 80,000 new alumni each year) to the people, ideas, and resources that support their commitment to a lifetime of service.
Find an existing chapter: http://www.americorpsalums.org/?ActiveChapters
Start a Chapter: http://www.americorpsalums.org/?StartAChapter
Training and Resources
Volunteer Louisiana offers several in-person trainings for all of our AmeriCorps programs. The menu of 2014-15 training options is in the document below.
National Service Criminal History Checks (NSCHC)
Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) - check required of ALL AmeriCorps members before service begins
I'm confused. There are different programs, with different names, but they're all AmeriCorps?
Yes, basically. AmeriCorps is a national network of hundreds of programs throughout the U.S. Two of these programs are managed nationally: AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps NCCC. The other programs are under the general heading of AmeriCorps, and they are found in local and national organizations throughout the US. Depending upon your interests and availability, we can help you determine which program might be best for you.
Is AmeriCorps like Peace Corps?
Yes. AmeriCorps is often referred to as "the domestic Peace Corps." Both agencies are committed to service, and both offer challenging and rewarding full-time opportunities. Peace Corps assignments are all overseas, and AmeriCorps members serve only in the US. While Peace Corps Volunteers serve for two years, a stint in AmeriCorps usually lasts 10 months to one year. (Some AmeriCorps projects also offer part-time opportunities, and some AmeriCorps members serve more than one term of service.)
What skills do I need to have?
Some programs have specific skill requests in certain areas, and others look for a bachelor's degree or a few years of related volunteer/job experience. For others, your motivation and commitment may be the primary requirement.
Is there an age requirement?
Anyone age 17 or older is eligible to serve in an AmeriCorps State or National program. The minimum age for AmeriCorps VISTA is 18, and NCCC AmeriCorps Corps members must be between 18 and 24 years old.
Can I join if I'm not a U.S. citizen?
You must be a U.S. citizen, national, or legal permanent resident alien of the U.S. to be an AmeriCorps member. FEMA Corps Members must be U.S. citizens.
How long are the assignments, and are they all full-time?
The time commitment varies, from ten months to a year, depending upon your project. Most assignments are full-time, but there are some part-time service opportunities available.
Do I get paid?
For all AmeriCorps programs, members receive a modest living allowance, and some programs provide housing. You may not save much money during your year of service, but most members find the living allowance to be adequate to cover their needs. AmeriCorps members who complete a term of service also receive an AmeriCorps Education Award.
How do I find AmeriCorps programs in my own community?
Visit our Current Programs page to see programs currently operating in Louisiana.
Explain to me the different types of AmeriCorps programs.
AmeriCorps State and National: AmeriCorps State and National supports a broad range of local service programs that engage thousands of Americans in intensive service to meet critical community needs. Learn more about AmeriCorps State and National
AmeriCorps VISTA: AmeriCorps VISTA provides full-time members to community organizations and public agencies to create and expand programs that build capacity and ultimately bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty. Learn more about AmeriCorps VISTA.
AmeriCorps NCCC/FEMA Corps: The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps is a full-time residential program for men and women, ages 18-24, that strengthens communities while developing leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. Learn more about AmeriCorps NCCC/FEMA Corps.
Where do I find out about AmeriCorps funding opportunities?
To learn more about what’s available, eligibility, responsibilities, and new grant opportunities in Louisiana, visit the Grant Opportunities page.
I’m a faith-based organization. Am I eligible to apply for an AmeriCorps grant?
The Corporation for National and Community Service's Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (FBNP) is an integral part of our efforts to provide opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to give back to their communities. FCBI helps connect faith-based and other community groups to the Corporation, ensuring that these groups have the capacity, tools, and volunteer power they need to help America’s communities flourish. Learn more about FBNP.
Where can I find training and technical assistance information?
The National Service Knowledge Network, CNCS’s online stop for training and technical assistance. Through the Resource Center, you can access training publications, sample forms, funding notices, effective practices, and much more. For a directory of all CNCS training and technical assistance providers, visit the Resources and Knowledge Networks page.
- Volunteer Louisiana manages a current portfolio of 1000 AmeriCorps members serving with 14 programs in 22 parishes. $3.8 million of federal funds are matched with $3.7 million from local communities.
- Since 1994, Volunteer Louisiana has hosted 19,950 AmeriCorps members who have provided over 7 million hours of community service in education, disaster response, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, and healthy futures.
- 100,000 AmeriCorps members have deployed to the Gulf Coast since 2005 to rebuild communities devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, many of those in Louisiana.
- Volunteer Louisiana engages citizens of all skills, interests, and abilities in service. Our online Volunteer Management System connects volunteers with volunteer opportunities throughout Louisiana.
- Louisianians volunteer over 129 million hours per year, with an annual economic impact of $2.8 billion for our state.
- Volunteer Louisiana has hosted 19,950 AmeriCorps members who have provided over 7 million hours of community service in education, disaster response, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, and healthy futures.
- Volunteer Louisiana has awarded over $196,000 in grants to seventy nonprofits and local schools since 2010. Projects ranged from celebrations and discussions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to developing outdoor classrooms and gardens, from awareness of First Responders to neighborhood cleanups. 35,000 volunteers provided 175,000 hours of service with made an economic impact of $3.7 million.
About Volunteer Louisiana
The mission of Volunteer Louisiana is to build and sustain high quality programs that meet the needs of Louisiana's citizens and promote an ethic of service.
In 1993, Volunteer Louisiana was established in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor to rekindle the spirit of service and citizenship among the citizens of Louisiana. Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne continues the commitment to service in Louisiana. A policy-making body, the Commission serves as the focal point for national service efforts in the state and acts as a clearing-house for national service programs operating in Louisiana.
Volunteer Louisiana receives the funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service, which was established under the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. Volunteer Louisiana awards grants to organizations and schools that foster civic responsibility and provide educational opportunities for those who make a substantial commitment to service.
National service is about getting things done, strengthening our communities, encouraging civic responsibility and expanding opportunity. Members of national service programs engage in sustainable projects that allow them to make fundamental changes in their communities. Programs not only create long-term results; they also rekindle the ethic of citizen service. Members are service pioneers committed to getting things done at the grassroots level and fortifying the ties that bind us together as a national community.
Special FY14 AmeriCorps State NOFO Announced
MLK Day projects impacted entire state
MLK Day projects need volunteers
MLK Day is January 20
MLK Day 2014
Giving thanks for Louisiana volunteers
JFK’s legacy of service
Post Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunity Friday, November 29 in New Orleans
FY14 AmeriCorps*State NOFO released
Champions of Service Gala a success!
Meet our 2013 Champions of Service
Join us for the 20th anniversary Champions of Service gala October 24
Volunteers in Public Schools seeks Voyage Program mentors
Warrick Dunn to be recognized as Louisiana Champion of Service
Five Regional Volunteers Named Champions of Service
Deadline extended for Champions of Service nominations
On 9/11 we pause to remember
Deadline extended for Champions of Service nominations
Drew Brees teams with Super Service Challenge to support 9/11 Day observance
September is National Preparedness Month
Community Builders Corps
Communities in Schools of Greater New Orleans
Boys & Girls Club of North Central Louisiana
Nominate a Champion of Service
9/11 National Day of Remembrance and Service Grants
2013-2014 Keep Louisiana Beautiful Healthy Communities Grant
ULL AmeriCorps named 2013 Innovation & Leadership Featured Finalist
Volunteer Fair in Baton Rouge August 10. Find a place to serve!
Volunteer Ascension needs volunteers for School Tools July 13
Volunteers needed July 2 and 3 in New Orleans
Youth Service America grants available
CNCS announces FY14 RSVP grants to engage volunteers 55
Medical and non-medical volunteers needed for free clinic July 2 and 3
Ask yourself: How can national service help my organization?
Hurricane Season begins June 1
National Hurricane Preparation Week May 26-June 1
How you can help in Oklahoma’s recovery
2013 Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday This Weekend
Louisiana beaches rank 20th in terms of trash collected, Ocean Conservancy reports
Senior Corps Week May 6-10
Volunteer Louisiana celebrates 20 years with Capitol Day and Food Drive
Volunteers needed for Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)
GYSD fast approaching
“I Serve Because” video contest
Global Youth Service Day funds still available
AmeriCorps Week 2013
FY14 Planning Grant NOFO
The Volunteer Louisiana Commission is pleased to offer up to $38,000 in AmeriCorps Planning Grants for the FY14 AmeriCorps year. A planning grant is a restricted funds grant awarded to assist an applicant in completing the steps necessary to implement a sound concept that has already been developed. The intent is for the recipient of a planning grant to develop their concept into a complete, comprehensive application in the next cycle of funding and be able to compete on a more level playing field in a competitive applicaiton process. PDF versions of the NOFO and the Application Instructions appear on the right side of this page.
Volunteer Louisiana encourages all eligible organizations to strongly consider this opportunity. This is a very short application window and there are two important deadlines to note:
- A Notice of Intent to Apply is due Monday, June 16, 2014 at 4 pm CST. Failure to submit a Notice of Intent to Apply will render an applicant ineligible to apply.
- Applications are due Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 4pm CST. Successful applicants will be notified no later than June 30.
Applicants will apply to Volunteer Louisiana through the eGrants web-based application system. eGrants may be accessed at http://www.nationalservice.gov/egrants/index.asp, and applicants will choose the FY14 AmeriCorps State Formula NOFO option.