The Center for
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MYTHOLOGY @
@ -- permission for use-with-acknowledgment
BY Ivan Scheier
FOR USE BY THE VOLUNTAS CONSULTANTS AND TRAINERS INSTITUTE
APRIL 12-16, 1992
GHOST RANCH, NEW MEXICO
The following alleged myths about agency volunteer programs were collected from discussion with people with daily hands-on management responsibilities for such programs. Their general feeling was that these myths were particularly damaging when held, consciously or unconsciously by upper levels of management and/or significant power figures in a community. What do you think? Please mark each statement via this key:
This is a fairly widespread myth we should be concerned about.
Somewhat widely held, perhaps, but not terribly damaging.
_____(blank) I think this isn't a myth at all. It's largely true.
_____Because they work free, volunteers are free, a gift from the community rather than a careful agency investment.
_____A good volunteer coordinator virtually assures program success.
_____The volunteer coordinator's salary is (virtually) the only expense for the volunteer program.
_____There is a definite volunteer type, tending to the naive and saintly, female and flower-hatted.
_____Mainly (or largely), people volunteer because they don't have much else to do.
_____Volunteers, especially youth volunteers, can't reliably deal with confidentiality.
_____The motivation of volunteers is by far the most important consideration in achieving a successful agency volunteer program.
_____The volunteer program is a distinct and separate function of the agency rather than integrated as one form of community resource to be considered for contribution in achieving any agency purpose.
_____The main (only) role of volunteers is to enhance services to the people we serve (clients, patients, consumers, audience, etc).
_____If we had enough money, we wouldn't need volunteers. They are mainly a way of buffering the impact of budget slashes.
_____Because they are unpaid, volunteers cannot be held accountable to the agency.
_____Volunteer = unskilled (non-professional)
_____ (Your favorite volunteer program myth here)
_____ (Your next most favorite volunteer program myth here)
_______________ TOTAL VOLUNTEER PROGRAM MYTHOLOGY SCORE (28 is perfect)
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