grapebar.gif (904 bytes)

grapevine.gif (11970 bytes)

VAT: Nov/Dec Volunteerism's Newsletter Vintage: 1996

grapebar.gif (904 bytes)

This article is being re-printed for non-commercial use as approved by GRAPEVINE, A Volunteerism Newsletter.
To subscribe -- $25.00 per year --
via Volunteer Sales Center, CAHHS, P. O. Box 340100, Sacramento, CA 95834-0100.
Credit card orders: (800) 272-8306.

grapebar.gif (904 bytes)

Volunteer Administration: An Emerging Misnomer

Dr. Ivan Scheier


This is a continuation of our series of articles addressing the question: "do people whose job title suggests they work with volunteers still do so, exclusively or even mainly?"

The answer is "no," based on responses 53 practitioners to an Expansion Checklist presented in Grapevine several issues ago. We took as criterion workers who might be called "volunteers" today, but probably would not have been 10-15 years ago, e.g., are not within the traditional/historical definition of "volunteer."

Checklist Results
People who have the word "volunteer" in their job title are today dealing with many kinds of workers who would not have been called volunteers 10-15 years ago and, by many of us, would not be called volunteers today.

Every one of the 14 types of workers represented in the checklist was worked with by at least some of the 53 practitioners, never less than 10% and ranging upward to 85%.

Almost two-thirds of the practitioners dealt with half or more of the 14 types. Nobody worked with less than three of them and one person worked with all 14. Generally, the wider-responsibility finding pertained across all service areas represented in the study.

Moreover, 14 types of workers on "the new helping team" may only be the beginning. Asked to identify 'other people who come to us as a result of pressured participation' or mandate," the respondents collectively suggested a total of 21, with very few exact repeats. Among the most intriguing are physicians who "suggested" their employees volunteer at the hospital and parents who paid their children to participate in a "volunteer: program which they (the parents) decided was valuable.

Two other overall conclusions from Expansion Checklist results:

In other words, practitioners are taking responsibility for mobilizing and supporting many community people without getting credit for doing so as part of their job responsibility. In many cases, the people they deal with are not even identified as volunteers. Clearly we have a serious "credit gap" as well as an "identity gap."

Issues and Questions
I'll just throw out a few starter questions here. So please consider yourself invited to help me write the next article with your thoughts on these questions. In your response, please say if you're willing to be quoted by name or would prefer to remain anonymous.


Return to Section I Table of Contents