Setting aside 2 hours a month can increase the capacity of a non-profit to recruit, train, retain and support their volunteers. The Neighbors Care Advisory Group has been working with the Maine Service Commission through Volunteer Generation Grants to provide training opportunities and peer networking for those who manage volunteers in non-profit agencies throughout Washington County. Those who have attended the Peer Network meetings at UMM and Calais have participated in guided skill development and facilitated discussions that lead to better use of volunteers. Volunteers come in many forms – board members, students, interns, seniors, ABLE and ASPIRE volunteers.
And volunteers do what they do for a wide variety of reasons. For some, it’s a chance to get out of the house and interact with friends, or make new ones. Helping others, learning new skills including job skills, or having a commitment to ‘change the world,’ there’s volunteer work for every ability and time constraint. The peer network meetings are a great way to teach volunteer managers to understand the diverse motivations and ways they can optimally use their volunteer resources.
“We always set aside time for networking and group problem solving. And we often follow up our meetings with emails to share resources, such as volunteer policy handbooks, useful websites, and contacts,” Jennifer Lobley explains. Jennifer, is a University of Maine Cooperative Extension Educator for Volunteer Development and a member of the Neighbors Care Advisory Group. She has conducted most of the training/peer network sessions during the past year.
This month’s peer network session will focus of supervision of volunteers. The first 12 attendees will receive a copy of the book What We Learned (the hard way) About Supervising Volunteers. The meeting will be Tuesday, Sept 24 at 10 am, in the faculty dining room of Kilburn Commons at UMM. Please contact Lisa Suarez by text at 974-9991 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat.