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Little Bites: Solutions you can snack on – Episode #8 ft. Aly Velji on working within the system

Posted By Adam Dias, June 13, 2018
 

Estimated reading time - 3 minutes. Episode runtime: 13:36 minutes. 

 

Now on iTunes!

Sammy here—your Training Specialist from Volunteer Toronto. Episode 8 of Little Bites is here with more Solutions you can Snack On!

At Volunteer Toronto, we know volunteer managers, like you, are busy. If you’re looking to save time, on challenges from small to big, we’ll give you tips during every episode of Little Bites. Each month I'll welcome a different guest to talk volunteer management, favourite snacks and great ideas we think you should know about. You can check back here monthly for new episodes on our blog!

I often hear from organizations of all sizes asking for help maintaining their volunteer program effectively across multiple chapters, branches, departments, and locations. All these moving parts and the associated bureaucracy can give you a headache, but an expanded program also offers opportunities for unique solutions. In this episode, I’m joined by Aly Velji, Manager of Adult Literacy Services for the Toronto Public Library, to discuss how he keeps an organization with 2700 volunteers and 100 locations running smoothly.

Listen now for solutions to the difficulties that can arise from staff turnover, disjointed programs, and other surprising barriers. Plus, Aly and I discuss next steps you can take to make your volunteer program succeed at any size. Listen now!

 

As we discussed in this episode, it’s important to:

  • Understand your organization’s unique structural issues.
  • Standardize practices so that they can work throughout your organization.
  • Stay in constant communication with any staff who manage or lead volunteers using digital tools, staff meetings, training sessions, and any other way to keep everyone up to date.
  • Consult with any staff involved with leading volunteers—and some volunteers themselves—before you make changes that affect your entire program.

Looking for more tips? These blogs about volunteer management assistants and talking to leadership about volunteer impact are great places to start on your path toward standardized practices and an improved volunteer program. And don’t forget to check out the Toronto Public Library’s Volunteer Programs page to get a better understanding of what Aly is talking about in this episode.

 

Do you have a pressing question you want answered on air? E-mail me at littlebites@volunteertoronto.ca or tweet @VolunteerTO with #VTlittlebites. Did you know? Little Bites is now on iTunes!

Thanks for listening, and keep snacking!

 

As Volunteer Toronto's Training Specialist, Sammy Feilchenfeld develops and delivers in-person, online and on-demand training in order to support managers and coordinators of volunteers in Toronto’s non-profit and charitable organizations.


Tags:  people management  volunteer coordination  volunteer management  volunteer program  ways to improve your volunteer program 

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Little Bites: Solutions you can snack on - Episode #4 - Heather Johnson on tools to fall in love with

Posted By Sammy Feilchenfeld, February 15, 2018
 

Estimated reading time - 2 minutes. Episode runtime: 12:13 minutes. 

 

Sammy here—your Training Specialist from Volunteer Toronto. Episode 4 of Little Bites is here with more Solutions you can Snack On!

At Volunteer Toronto, we know volunteer managers, like you, are busy. If you’re looking to save time, on challenges from small to big, we’ll give you tips during every episode of Little Bites. Each month I'll welcome a different guest to talk volunteer management, favourite snacks and great ideas we think you should know about. You can check back here monthly for new episodes on our blog!

What tools do you use to make volunteer management easier? Heather Johnson, Manager, Volunteer Program and Human Resources at Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services, joins me in “The Pantry” to share our top tools and resources that you have to start using today!

We each prepared three favourites that we’ve both relied on in our volunteer engagement practice. Can you guess what they might be? Tune in to find out and you can check out our list below:

 

Want to learn more about these great tools and resources? Take a look at the links below:

  • Trello – A great visual task management tool; you can use it for free online and share it with your volunteers to give your to-do lists an upgrade
  • Slack – Like instant messaging for your volunteers; you can add volunteers as  regular users or guest accounts and non-profits can get upgrades for free
  • Google Sheets – Part of the free Google Drive apps, Sheets lets you upload and live edit spreadsheets at the same time as volunteers and peers
  • Feedback Box – Consider using SurveyMonkey for online surveys or TalkRoute for a virtual voicemail feedback box

 

Do you have a pressing question you want answered on air? E-mail me at littlebites@volunteertoronto.ca or tweet @VolunteerTO with #VTlittlebites.

Thanks for listening, and keep snacking!

 

As Volunteer Toronto's Training Specialist, Sammy Feilchenfeld develops and delivers in-person, online and on-demand training in order to support managers and coordinators of volunteers in Toronto’s non-profit and charitable organizations.


Tags:  best practises in volunteer engagement  Free resources  good leaders  how to be more efficient in your volunteer program  How to keep volunteers  how to motivate volunteers  how to supervise volunteers  How to thank your volunteer  innovative thinking for volunteer management  leaders of volunteers  people management  planning for volunteers  supervising volunteers  Thanking your volunteers  volunteer  volunteer coordination  volunteer coordinators  volunteer engagement  Volunteer Feedback  volunteer management  Volunteer Management resources  volunteer management software  volunteer management tools  volunteer managers  volunteer program  volunteer programs  volunteer retention  volunteer supervisors  volunteer toronto training  volunteer training  volunteers  ways to improve your volunteer program 

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Little Bites: Solutions you can snack on - Episode #3 ft. Kasandra James on common questions

Posted By Sammy Feilchenfeld, January 12, 2018
 

Estimated reading time - 2 minutes. Episode runtime: 12:26 minutes. 

 

Sammy here—your Training Specialist from Volunteer Toronto. Episode #3 of Little Bites is now live with more Solutions you can Snack On!

At Volunteer Toronto, we know volunteer managers, like you, are busy. If you’re looking to save time, on challenges from small to big, we’ll give you tips during every episode of Little Bites.  Each month I'll welcome a different guest to talk volunteer management, favourite snacks and great ideas we think you should know about. You can check back here monthly for new episodes on our blog!

It’s a new year and we want to help you get started on the right note. Kasandra James, Volunteer Toronto’s Subscriptions Coordinator, joins me in “The Pantry” to answer the questions you’ve sent in and asked us time after time.

Tune in to learn about recruitment techniques, working with multiple offices/teams/chapters and the big question of police checks for newcomer volunteers. We also bring you some quick answers to help you enhance your volunteer management practice in the “Lightning Round.”

Listen now to hear all about it:

 

While you listen, here are the 3 main questions (and one of the answers for each) from this episode:

 

Q. “Recruitment can be tough sometimes for small organizations. Though we are doing pretty well with our numbers, I would like to some tips on how to recruit and outreach to new volunteers when your organization is smaller than most.”

A. Try starting internally with your connections and your volunteer's connections to find new volunteers. Word-of-mouth can help a lot!

 

Q. “My organization has chapters, and in some cases offices, all across the country. How do we encourage good volunteer management throughout my organization?”

A. Set standards for volunteer management across your organization based on the reality of roles everywhere (what works and doesn’t in each region). Communicate these standards and ensure proper training is provided.

 

Q. “I ask volunteer candidates to get police checks as part of the screening process. What do I do for newcomer volunteers who may not be able to get a police check?”

A. It's important to not forget the reasons why you need to screen volunteers – If a police check is needed as the volunteer could be working with vulnerable populations, you have to ensure this is completed, no matter what.

 

Do you have a pressing question you want answered on air? E-mail me at littlebites@volunteertoronto.ca or tweet @VolunteerTO with #VTlittlebites.

Thanks for listening, and keep snacking!

 

As Volunteer Toronto's Training Specialist, Sammy Feilchenfeld develops and delivers in-person, online and on-demand training in order to support managers and coordinators of volunteers in Toronto’s non-profit and charitable organizations.


Tags:  Accessible volunteer programs  Accommodating volunteers  advice  Assessing your volunteer training program  Background Screening for volunteers  barriers to volunteering  best practises in volunteer engagement  Challenges for Grassroots Organizations  find a volunteer  finding a great volunteer  finding volunteers  get people volunteering  grassroots groups  Grassroots Growth  Grassroots Leaders  grassroots organizations  how to be more efficient in your volunteer program  how to find great volunteers  how to get staff buy-in for volunteer engagement  how to get volunteers for your event  How to keep volunteers  how to motivate volunteers  how to recruit volunteers  how to screen a volunteer  how to supervise volunteers  How to thank your volunteer  How to volunteer as a newcomer  innovative thinking for volunteer management  leaders of volunteers  Leadership  Making you volunteer program accessible to everyon  networking  non-profits  not enough volunteers  people management  planning for volunteers  Police Records Checks  Police screening  supervise volunteers  supervising volunteers  volunteer  Volunteer Administrators  volunteer ambassadors  Volunteer Assessment  Volunteer assistant  volunteer coordination  volunteer coordinators  volunteer engagement  Volunteer evaluation  volunteer management  volunteer managers  Volunteer orientation  volunteer program  Volunteer Program Policies  volunteer programs  volunteer recruitment  volunteer retention  volunteer screening  volunteer screening best practices  volunteer supervisors  Volunteer Toronto Find volunteers  volunteer training  volunteer-run groups  volunteer-run organizations  ways to improve your volunteer program 

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Making the Change to Volunteer Management Software a Success for ALL

Posted By Volunteer Toronto, October 20, 2015
Updated: October 20, 2015
 
Estimated reading time -  5 minutes

 

Ever buy a tech product, like software, and then feel like you were left to your lonesome to figure out how to make it work or set it up? Don’t you just wish with some product purchases that you had more guidance and direction right after that purchase so you could feel better supported and armed with the confidence needed to make the best use of that software solution?

If you said ‘no’ then I will applaud you with a slow clap because you fall into that upper echelon of society that just ‘gets it.’ For the better majority of us, that transition from the software purchase to now figuring out how to use it (and use it in the best way), isn’t always an easy one. Prior to choosing your software solution you may have been using paper to manage your volunteer program or spreadsheets or perhaps you are transitioning from another software product that didn’t fully meet your volunteer program needs. Whichever scenario relates to you, the point is there is a change on the horizon and managing yourself, your team, and your volunteers through that change is a critical stage to the success of the implementation of the volunteer management software solution that was selected.

We all have different learning curves and some may just be steeper than others. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn how to best use it. You may just need a friendly helping hand!




This is why, at Better Impact, we have a consultative step in place to successfully aid you and your team throughout the onboarding stage. It is a critical step!

Organizations come in all shapes and sizes and Volunteer Managers/Coordinators come to the table with an array of experience and sector knowledge; thus we cannot treat all organizations the same.

Rob Bonesteel, at Better Impact, is your team’s direct contact throughout the onboarding stage. Rob is a Certified Volunteer Administrator with over 20 years of industry experience. He brings his years of experience and understanding of sector and program-based best practices to you so that you can most efficiently operate your volunteer program within the software.

Here’s what Rob Bonesteel has to say about how he helps the various organizations that he’s supporting throughout the onboarding stage:

Photo of Rob Bonesteel“In my role at Better Impact I see the entire range of volunteer managers, from those that have a solid process of management that is so rigid it is painful for them to adapt to using new tools, to organizations that are hoping our software will give them processes because they have no formal process in place. The consultation time we give to these organizations is what brings these things to light.

For those that have no process in place, I will build into our time together just how the system is/can be used and how that can help them establish processes. For those that are so rigid in their processes, I use a similar tact, which is getting them to talk about their processes and evaluate where the weaknesses of their processes are (i.e. time-consuming paper management). Then I will talk about my experiences and show them how Volunteer Impact can facilitate what they are doing without degrading the integrity of their processes.

The reality is there is no organization that has absolutely mastered volunteer engagement and it is a dynamic experience, which requires growth and adaptability. That’s why “We’re here to help!”

At Better Impact, we are more than just a company that produces volunteer management software. We are a global team, headquartered in Canada (Hamilton, Ontario), which is made up of people who have managed volunteers, are volunteers, present around the world to organizations at workshops and conferences for leaders of volunteers. We are comprised of consultants who work with leaders of volunteers and volunteer agencies to continually help move the voluntary sector forward. Our combined experience, knowledge of industry  best practices, understanding of the ongoing needs of the voluntary sector and changes in technology is what enables Better Impact to produce superior volunteer management software for you that is priced for the non-profit sector.

Images of the Better Impact software 

We invite you and your team to evaluate our volunteer management software and connect with us at Better Impact. If you are a full subscriber with Volunteer Toronto, you have the added benefit of getting our software at a discounted rate. In fact, on November 3rd, we will be hosting an online lunch N' learn live webinar with Volunteer Toronto for those interested in our software. Reserve your online seat here.

If you can’t make November 3rd, you can schedule your personal software demo with me or if you’d simply like to go over a few questions you have about the software, please schedule a phone appointment with me.

 

 
When Brandi was a Volunteer Coordinator for the 2003 World Cycling Championships in Hamilton, ON, she utilized the Volunteer Impact software product to manage over 1,000 volunteers. Now with Better Impact for over three years, she supports organizations as they evaluate the Volunteer Impact solution for their organization’s needs. She utilizes her experiences of working with volunteers and being a volunteer with a number of organizations to best assist organizations in finding the software solution that meets their needs and supporting them as they make that transition.

 

Tags:  people management  Volunteer Management  volunteer management software  volunteer management tools 

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