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VAT: Jul/Aug Volunteerism's Newsletter Vintage: 1996

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Towards a New Helping Team:
An Expansion Checklist

Dr. Ivan Scheier   . 

This year in Grapevine a theme in these articles has been a larger vision of volunteerism - what it is, what it can be, what it's becoming. This time, let's discuss something which enthusiasts might call ‘A New Helping Team;’ for worriers, it would be more like "Invasion of the Aliens from Outer Volunteer Space." Because we’re talking about twenty kinds of people and/or work conditions which are not "regular paid staff." But as recently as 5-10 years ago would not normally be part of the volunteer coordinator’s responsibility.

Today they are. My guess is that the typical volunteer coordinator currently works with five or six of the below listed "not-quite-volunteers" – at least "not quite" as of 5-10 years ago. There is positive potential in this. I'm only concerned that we'll slip-slide into "just doing it" without thinking through implications for our historically primary constituency of more might traditional volunteers.

You can help, if you wish. Simply fill out the following expansion check list and send a copy to me. I'll report results, if there are enough of them to suggest patterns. Please note: the categories in the checklist often overlap. In such cases, please deal with each on its own merits. Also, if you have any doubt about the meaning of a category or a response alternative, just interpret it as you see fit.

Please mark each of the items in the checklist as follows:   . (blank) I/we/our program doesn't recognize or deal with this kind of worker. ( X ) Once in a while, occasionally, we deal with this kind of worker. ( XX ) We regularly deal with this kind of worker. ( ? ) This is unclear, puzzling. Please add a note on why. . Then add one more check [ X ] if you get credit for dealing with this kind of worker as a recognized part of your responsibility. Finally, for those items with at least one check, please label them with a "V" if you generally refer to that worker as a volunteer.

Name and address are optional. So is the hope that you'll send me our checklist, with and additional comments you might have.   Expansion Checklist   . (______) Fully-reimbursed for work-related expenses. . (______) Interns, apprentices, practicum students . (______) Stipended workers. . (______) Barter-oriented worker. Prominently, there are concrete rewards such as discounts, free tickets or products, special privileges, etc. . (______) Fully paid, but by others e.g., released time, employee of, another agency who helps you out. . (______) Our paid staff, some of whom come back to help out after their regular work hours, without being paid for it. (Often they then do something different than their paid job.) . (______) Court-referred community service workers . (______) Students, as part of a school requirement that they perform a certain number of hours of community service. . (______) Low income people as a condition of receiving public assistance. . (______) Clients, customers, who serve voluntarily and are full recognized as volunteers. . (______) Mutual assistance sets - people ..recruited" to help each other e.g., in self-help, groups or networks we deliberately develop. . (______) People who voluntarily give us things we can use. . (______) People who voluntarily give us things we can use. . (______) Positively influential people in a client's life, even though not formally enrolled as volunteers in our program, e.g., a helpful neighbor, pastor or member of a formally assigned volunteer's family. . (______) Other people who come to us as a result of "pressured participation" or mandate. Please describe briefly: Thank you.