Select an FAQ (59):
| Do people volunteer more during the winter holidays? |
Researchers and managers report their experience and evidence
| How can we avoid volunteer-staff conflicts? |
Points to a rich resource on working with volunteers.
| How can we be sure training is meeting volunteers' needs? |
Ask the volunteers themselves
| What is National Volunteer Week? |
Background on this annual event
| What's a good program development strategy? |
Here's is a suggested outline, along with several guidelines.
| Where should we place our volunteer ads? |
A collection of ideas
|Are 'stipends' wages? |
Yes. Reports must be filed on the money people are paid for work and taxes may be due, however small the payments and no matter how they are calculated.
|Are volunteer job descriptions necessary? (new version available)|
Before volunteering, be sure you understand what's expected of you in the job
|Aren't telemarketing volunteers or canvassers a special breed? |
An effective telemarketing volunteer can be anyone who supports your organization and has its best interests at heart. 'Canvassers' are paid to do telemarketing.
|Can a member claim a 'refund' for contributions? |
When members leave a program, may they claim a 'refund' for part or all of donations they have previously made?
|Can attorneys serve on boards? |
Of course they can. But there are things to think about that don't apply to board members in other professions.
|Can employees of a nonprofit also volunteer their time? (new version available)|
This is a very tricky problem, subject to complex rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act and many state laws. Great caution is advised.
|Can volunteers and board members deduct out-of-pocket expenses? (new version available)|
In general, yes. Volunteers for charitable organizations can deduct unreimbursed expenses.
|Can we recruit volunteers via the Internet? |
There are increasingly sophisticated websites available to help
|Can you get a tax deduction for a gift to 'your own' nonprofit? |
When you work for a nonprofit -- either for pay or as a volunteer -- you can make the same sort of gifts anyone else could make.
|Compare and contrast volunteering and service learning (new version available)|
A university career center's explanation
|Considerations in setting up an all-volunteer program? |
Assess the depth of commitment to this approach before starting in
|Do I need a lawyer to form a nonprofit? How much should it cost? |
Some people can do it on their own. Others find a lawyer very useful. There are legal referral services which sometimes can help locate low-cost or even free assistance.
|Do volunteers own the copyright when they contribute creative works? (new version available)|
US law specifies that the creator owns the copyright unless specific agreements are in place.
|Do we need to report volunteer time to the IRS on Form 990? |
New information about volunteers is required in the new Form 990, to be used by many nonprofits in 2009 and beyond.
|FAQs about 'Virtual' Volunteering (new version available)|
Summary: Virtual volunteering, also known as online volunteering, cyber service, online mentoring, telementoring, and various other names, offers a number of benefits to both volunteers and the organizations who involve them.
|Good interview questions when hiring a volunteer coordinator |
Thoughts about how to give candidates a chance to show their strengths.
|How can staff use email for board and committee relations |
Incorporating email into in-house communications strategies has many advantages, a veteran fundraiser wrote in this 'FAQ classic.' Caution is needed about using email for board business.
|How do volunteers use blogs? (new version available)|
For that matter, what is a blog? Volunteers (and anyone else) can use these personal websites to report experiences, opinions, and interesting finds. For better or worse.
|How do we advertise our volunteer opportunities? (new version available)|
Suggested texts for strong recruiting ads
|How do we develop effective training for our volunteers? (new version available)|
Learn about working with adult learners
|How do we know what training volunteers need? (new version available)|
Good training builds on context
|How much information should be provided to volunteers? (new version available)|
It's important to accomodate a broad range of personal styles among volunteers, but there are still some kinds of information that everyone must have. Some information is always necessary though; here's a list of some things to consider.
|How will we know what volunteers can do at our organization? (new version available)|
Some key questions to ask as part of a review
|Is it important to interview volunteers? (new version available)|
Even though people question the value of the process, organizations will want to interview prospective volunteers.
|Is it Possible to Receive a Deduction for a Gift of Services? |
In general, the answer is 'no.' A deduction cannot be taken when no income has been earned.
|Is there software to help with keeping track of volunteers? (new version available)|
A webpage listing some options is at http://www.coyotecom.com/database/
|It seems rude to evaluate volunteers. Do we really have to? |
When people are working because they believe in the importance of the task, it is especially important to let them know when they succeed and when they fail.
|List of Books on Volunteerism (new version available)|
Here is a list compiled in 1996.
|Must we do criminal background checks on our volunteers? (new version available)|
It is required by law for some types of assignments. A program for doing background checks for long-term volunteers may also be a good idea.
|Online services for volunteers and volunteer programs (new version available)|
Idealist.org offers a broad introduction and links to other websites about volunteering.
|Organizations that Promote Volunteering by Persons with Disabilities (new version available)|
A list compiled by Jane Cravens of the United Nations Volunteer Program
|Should volunteers be asked to make financial contributions? (new version available)|
A veteran fundraiser thinks so. And offers advice about how to make such requests.
|Should we keep volunteer and staff roles clearly different? |
The Fair Labor Standards Act makes doing so very important.
|What about equipment for telemarketing? Training? Etc? (new version available)|
Find a friendly stock or real estate brokerage firm for phone equipment and look for consultants to train callers or trainers.
|What are some ways to thank volunteers? |
An example from an active program
|What are the key advantages and disadvantages of hiring a telemarketing firm versus using volunteers? (new version available)|
The key advantage is that you may not have to lift a finger! The key disadvantage is that many firms take a percentage of each donation.
|What goes in a conflict-of-interest policy? |
Here are some examples including one from the IRS.
|What Information Should Board Prospects Receive? |
Enough to help them understand the organization and be sure of a 'fit' between their interests and the mission. Plus (and this is the tough part), enough to support due diligence about the organization's work.
|What is service learning? (new version available)|
Discussions of several topics concerning students engaged in community service.
|What is telecommuting? How can it help me? |
Telecommuting means working from home, and it's rapidly on the rise.
|What is the legal definition of 'volunteer'? |
There is no single and universal definition. Much depends on the context and the organizational setting.
|What should not be on a volunteer application? |
The Americans with Disabilities Act sets standards for recruiting and screening volunteers as well as employees.
|What should I look for at an agency where I might volunteer? (new version available)|
Several observers give detailed advice about how to review the management practices of agencies that are seeking volunteers.
|What should we ask when interviewing a volunteer? (new version available)|
Guidelines from a pro.
|What supervision styles work best for volunteers? |
Define tasks, clarify expectations, and give people permission to proceed
|Where can I find general information about volunteer programs? |
Idealist.org offers several comprehensive Resource Centers about volunteering, volunteer program management, and international volunteer work. Brief descriptions and links to the Resources are in this item.
|Where can I find information on volunteer program management? (new version available)|
Several websites provide information directly and pointers to other resources.
|Where can I get training in Volunteer Program Management? (new version available)|
Several resources are linked here.
|Where can I post volunteer opportunities (want ads) online? (new version available)|
There are several choices; these webpages list many.
|Where can we get insurance for our volunteers? (new version available)|
CIMA offers the Volunteer Insurance Service
|Why is it important to recognize volunteer contributions? (new version available)|
Volunteers deserve the assurance that what they are doing is needed
|Why screen volunteers at all? (new version available)|
The approach to recruiting volunteers should be as careful as the process used for adding any new staff.
|Why should I volunteer? |
Because it is satisfying to do useful work that benefits others or the community and because volunteering offers many benefits and opportunities for the people who participate.