Volunteer Information & Referral Service
Are you a non-profit organization that offers community services?
Do you need volunteers to help deliver your services?
The Support Network offers a Volunteer Information and Referral Service to meet the immediate community need for volunteer referral. This service builds on the existing 211 service.
211 will act as a conduit between individuals seeking volunteer opportunities and community service organizations involving volunteers in the greater Edmonton region.
The Support Network provides callers who have volunteer enquiries with contact information for organizations that have volunteer opportunities. Information and Referral Specialists help callers find relevant volunteer jobs that match their needs such as issues of interest, geographical area, population served. We often refer callers to Go Volunteer, an online database that lists volunteer opportunities.
We encourage organizations to list their volunteer needs on Go Volunteer.
Volunteers from the greater Edmonton region.
Responsibility of listed organization
In order to list your volunteer opportunities, you must be an agency listed in our community services database. To see if you are listed, go to 211edmonton.info and do a search for your agency's name.
The organization will:
* meet the criteria to be included in The Support Network's database (call 732-6639 for more information)
* provide The Support Network with an overview of the work they do, as well as current and accurate contact information
* adhere to the values, principles and standards of the Canadian Code of Volunteer Involvement.
The responsibility for recruiting, screening and placing volunteers still resides within the listing organization.
Responsibility of The Support Network
* To provide organizations that meet our criteria with access to Go Volunteer in order to post volunteer opportunities
* To respond to volunteer enquiries
* To provide referrals to volunteers based on their interests and needs
To list your organization's volunteer opportunities:
* Ensure your organization is listed in 211edmonton.info.
* If it is, contact us to get an ID and password for access to Go Volunteer
* If it is not, contact us to enquire about being included in InformEdmonton.
OR you may call us at (780) 732-6639 to discuss your options.
by Mark Cooper, Coordinator, The FIU Volunteer Action Center
As more students and student groups get involved in community service, now seems a good time to talk about quality control. "You can never underestimate the value of planning," said Jason Parker, Coordinator of Volunteer Services at Vanderbilt University. "Make sure there is enough work for everyone to do. There is nothing worse than volunteers just standing around feeling useless."
Essentially three things can happen when students get involved in community service. First, and foremost, students can learn something about themselves, their community, and about pressing social issues. Secondly, students can learn nothing. A group can go out and feed the homeless and remain unaffected by the whole affair. Lastly, students can learn the wrong lesson- prejudices and stereotypes can be reinforced or created through unexamined and poorly planned service outings.
10 Questions Away from Better Service Projects
There are many rewards and dividends earned through a well-planned and implemented community service project- team-building, unique learning opportunities, meeting real needs in the community, bridge-building on- and off-campus, and, of course, good publicity.
When planning your next community service project, ask yourself or your group these questions:
1. Will students be excited about the project? Have you built in a "fun" or social component?
2. Does the project offer opportunities for student leadership development, real learning, sharing, and friendship?
3. Have you set aside time for orientation, reflection, and evaluation?
4. Will the service be challenging, meaningful, valuable, and necessary?
5. Is there enough work for everyone to do? Is the formula balanced? (Volunteers / Task hours = Results)
6. Is it "Do-Able?"- Is the project within the resources (time, people, money, and expertise) of you, your group, or your volunteers? Any special training, orientation, paperwork, medical checks, fees, or background checks needed first?
7. Will it conflict with any other groups or events on campus? Any possible opposition?
8. Is there a potential to build coalitions with other campus groups? Will it be open to, or will you tap into, diverse student populations?
9. Do we have a clear entrance and exit strategy, understand our volunteer roles and responsibilities, and, are we prepared for what we will experience? Do we need a short orientation before the project?
10. Is it safe? Have you exercised "due care" to attempt to foresee any potential dangers and taken the necessary precautions? Do we have waivers for everyone? Did you consult your advisor and/or university attorney? Have you done a site-visit?
Planning for "The Rule of Halves"
Imagine if you will this scenario: the weeks of planning and recruiting are over. It is the day of the much-anticipated service project. No one shows up. YIKES! Let's put aside for the moment your own personal disappointment, what about the agency, what about the clients, be they children , the elderly, or the homeless? What is owed to them? Why has your project "flopped? One of the central reasons may be because students felt no commitment to the project or did not see the immediacy of the need and how their participation was critical to the overall success of the project.
"Often with our volunteer projects," said Carrie Edmunson, Director of the University of Miami Volunteer Service Center, "students sign up with good intentions, but when it's time to show up and volunteer, our turn out rate is generally about 60?sometimes even worse."
Not only does this send a negative message about your group to agencies, but it damages the reputation of your school, makes it more difficult for other groups to approach this agency in the future, and more importantly, it negatively impacts already struggling non-profit agencies by sihponing already strapped budgets with wasted staff time, materials, and the inevitable disappointment of the clients. Good volunteer organizers use "The Rule of Halves" when formulating their project or campaign:
"The Rule of Halves" is a simple and time-tested formula that can help you better plan your next project:
* Start by setting your goal- (Is your goal harmonious with the amount of work to be done? )
Our goal is to have 50 volunteers building houses with Habitat for Humanity on this date and time.
* To get 50 to show up, 100 will have said definitely "Yes" after being contacted through the phonebank.
* To get those 100 "Yes's"- 200 students will have to be actually reached through the phonebank.
* To get 200 students reached through the phonebank, 400 students will have signed-up through:
* 200 at a table in the Student Union:
a) One volunteer at a table can sign-up 20 per hour
b) 10 volunteer hours are needed.
c) Five volunteers are needed to give two hours.
* 200 through class presentations, flyers, and other promotions:
a) 50 students in each class- 15?ign-up (8-10 per class)
b) Need to make 15-20 class presentations
This formula will help you plan your campaign and expose any potential problems. Make sure students understand that by signing the list, they are making a "real" commitment. If students are not sure, don't have them sign. Remember, only about half of those people who are "sure" will show up anyway. Lastly, don't actively announce how many volunteers have signed up. When students' alarms go off on the morning of the project, they may think, "It won't matter if I don't go. There's sixty other people signed up. They won't miss me. I need my sleep." When signing up volunteers, think quality and quantity.
How to Find Committed Volunteers
How do you get volunteers? "You've got to do something to standout," said Jason Parker, Coordinator of Volunteer Services at Vanderbilt University. "Students are on information overload and the wackiest thing you could think of would be just barely good enough to grab their attention." "The first step is to know your campus," said Lena Juarez, Director of Florida's Office for Campus Volunteers. "Student organizers should look at what channels of communication people most frequently use and access them."
Here's a few ideas you can use to recruit committed and energized volunteers.
* Tried & True Methods- Tabling, creative flyers and handouts, class presentations, student newspaper (ads, newsbriefs, and coverage), campus radio, Dorm Storms (flyers, door-to-door)
* Wholesale Methods- Approach student clubs, groups, and Greek organizations. Pitch the president or community service or ask to have a few minutes at their next meeting. Ask faculty to give students extra credit for service. Presentations to classes and staff and faculty meetings are also wonderful wholesale opportunities.
* High -Tech Methods- Fax campaigns and campus e-mail blitzes.
* Creative Methods- Fund-raisers (ribbon, bake, and book sales are great, not only to raise a few dollars, but more importantly to raise awareness and recruit volunteers), Table Tents- print up a few dozen tents and place them on cafeteria tables, "Happenings"-music, visual displays, contests, speakers, chalking the campus, dress- up as a character (like Halloween) and give out flyers, hold particpatory games, tap the "Oh-How-Cute"-factor by putting a small sandwich sign on your dog and walking him/her around campus. (Thanks to Jason Parker for that last one!)
Satisfied volunteers are your best recruitment tool! **Remember to use at least three types of media for each event or campaign.
How To Find Good Service Projects
"Developing a good service project means matching up a community need and the interests and skills of the students involved," said Liz Baumgarten, Director, Virginia Campus Outreach Opportunity League.
Just like finding a good restaurant, finding a good volunteer project is usually based on recommendations from volunteer centers, friends, students, faculty, staff, and student groups. "It is important to be inclusive, " said Baumgarten. "Make sure everyone is included in the planning process from the beginning. Student voice and diversity are critical to developing good projects."
PS. I DID NOT WRITE YOUR PROJECT BUT GAVE YOU SOME INFORMATION . YOU CAN REWRITE YOUR PROJECT FROM THE INFORMATION ABOVE.
Answered By: Diane S - 1/3/2008