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Priority Goals for Your Volunteer Program

(Related also to your philosophy of volunteerism) @

 @ -- permission for use-with-acknowledgment

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 Prepared by Ivan Scheier

Listed below are some of the purposes or goals a volunteer program might have. Though they overlap somewhat, these purposes are distinct from one another, and it is unlikely that any volunteer program would have the resources to effectively implement every one of these goals. The choice is important because the goals you concentrate on will determine how you operate your volunteer program-selection of volunteers, training, etc. This exercise is designed to help you identify, clarify, affirm or re-affirm the priority goals for your volunteer program.

Step 1. Please review and familiarize yourself with the following list of possible primary purposes/goals for a volunteer program.

--Enhance the intensity and quality of services currently provided clients, patients, etc.

--Support paid staff so they can be more fulfilled and effective in their work.

--Improve the agency/organization's image and public relations in the community.

--Provide a cushion against the damage done to the organization by budget cuts.

--Educate the public about what we do and why we do it.

--Help provide a variety of important services and capabilities we otherwise could we offer. (in that sense, help us achieve our dream)

--A valuable 'proving ground' to identify and pre-train potential new paid staff members.

--Cultivate active friends and advocates-a support base in the community for the agency and for the people it serves.

--Help us raise money or equivalent in-kind resources in support of our work.

--Contribute ideas and input from the community-act as a sounding board to gauge community reaction to programs, projects, etc.

--Comply with a mandate either from a funding source, government, or wherever...

 Step 2. Are there other distinct goals you think the volunteer program does serve or might serve? If so, 'please list them below.

 Step 3. Among the goals/purposes listed in both Steps 1 and 2, which do you think are or should be the top three, priorities of your volunteer program? Indicate these by placing a 1 (top) 2 (next) 3 (third highest priority) next to these goals. (If this is felt to be too restrictive, you can do the same thing with the top five goals.) Comparing independently-rated goal priorities by stakeholders in the volunteer program (certainly including volunteers themselves) can lead to productive discussion of differences, and eventual working consensus.

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Ivan Scheier
607 Marr
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, 87901
Tel (505) 894-1340

For comments and editing suggestions please contact Mary Lou McNatt