Monday, July 23, 2012

This weeks Discussion.

1. How would you use a Virtual Volunteer for your program? What are the advantages and disadvantages? How is this type of volunteer a "new breed"?

2. What are your thoughts/feelings/first reactions to the "managing or canning high maintenance volunteers"?


  1. 1. I will use volunteers who are "techie" to update and monitor the program's social media resources. This will help our program reach more clients who are of the Gen @ group. The "techies" will also be in charge of setting up electrical equipment for presentations. One of the disadvantages to having virtual volunteers is that you can run into the bystander effect when soliciting help via mass emails. While a personal phone call will put the person on the spot more. One advantage is that the virtual world is expanding at an almost exponential pace, and if you can get a group of "techies" that can capitalize on it, your program can really improve.

    2. I really connected with the description in the text of "Negative Nancy" because I have worked with a few people JUST like that, and it's miserable! I was being PAID at the job I was working at the time, and I barely wanted to keep working I can't imagine how many people someone like Nancy could scare away if they WEREN'T being paid, just volunteering!

  2. 1. I would use a virtual volunteer to update our school website. It is very outdated and in need of serious attention. The faculty member in charge of the website is overwhelmed with other work and a virtual volunteer would be so helpful in this area.

    The advantage would be that the website would get updated. The disadvantage might be pestering the faculty member on what needs to be updated. Sometimes we get so frustrated with the questions that we'd rather just do it ourselves.

    The virtual volunteer is definitely a "new breed" because I have never even heard of having this type of volunteer work done! I've always thought of volunteer work as being in person, face-to-face interaction. But it makes sense with today's technology to have more virtual volunteers participating in organizations. That is how the world runs now - all on computer. Look at what we are even doing right now!!

    2. My feelings on the high maintenance volunteers chapter were high blood pressure issues. The patience it must take to work with challenging people is incredible. The author's gave advice on talking and working with these type of people, trying this and trying that. Interesting thought, it may work and your efforts would have been used wisely OR it was an additional waste of your time and you have to fire them anyway. I guess you just don't know until you try to work things out. All I can think of is patience, patience, patience!

  3. 1. It would benefit the program to have a web page or even a blog spot where parents, leaders, and participants can go to communicate. It would also be benificial to have flyers sent out and maybe even a group on facebook for people to be better informed. I think this would be best ran by one or two dedicated volunteers, if too many volunteers are assigned to this it might become confusing and frustrating.

    This would be an easy way to inform the public about upcoming events and even congratulate winners from previous shows. The downside to this would be that not everyone involved with the program will have access to a computer or the internet. It might also be difficult to find individuals that would want to dedicate that much time to it.

    This is "new breed" for sure! you would have never heard of these options in the past! but with todays technology almost anything is possible.

    2. I think that would be a hard position to be in! First you dont want to lose the help that you do have, and if you fire one, you might end up upsetting others and they may end up quitting. Second you want to keep the good volunteers around, and if they have someone there always criticizing their work and talking down to them they may get frustrated and end up leaving the organization. I think there must be a fine line between canning and managing. you just have to decide what you think will be best for the program.

  4. Kathleen Fortune

    1. Like several other posts, I would also use a virtual volunteer to update/maintain the program website, or social networking page. This would be a way for all members of the PTA to log on and view upcoming activities, assignments, etc.

    This would be a "new breed" of volunteer, because it can be someone that would like to volunteer, but doesn't have the time (because of work, family, or other commitments)to volunteer in a traditional way.

    2. While reading the chapter about "high maintenance" volunteers, I was reminded of several individuals and situations where I have dealt with many of the types the author described...and probably fallen into some of the categories, myself (negative nancy - complaining about how things are being done, etc.)

    It is difficult to deal with people who seem to "suck the joy" out of any situation...but the threat that they pose to the entire organization has to be dealt with. I appreciated the author's suggestions in understanding if you have a problem volunteer, or a volunteer with a problem. By discussing things with them, following the suggestions outlined in the chapter, I can see how you could manage a "high maintenance" volunteer and get them to become less maintenance. If they do not change, and continue to "suck the joy out of things", then they need to be politely replaced.

  5. I really liked how the authors stated that virtual volunteers are anyone who volunteers off site. This opens up many possibilities for finding volunteers for my alumni association. Many of my volunteers will be doing work with my students away from the school. I will also try to use them for all the computer stuff as well as phone calls and things. I really feel that virtual volunteers would almost be easier to manage than those on site. People are busy and if they know their job they will get it done on their one time.

    My first impression while reading this chapter were I hope I never have to deal with more than one type of these volunteers at a time. I know we will all have them at one time or another it's just how we deal with them when they show up. I really like the section on stepping into their shoes and see their side of things. Maybe their complaints or suggestions have purpose. Sometimes we get into a rut and need a little outside opinion as to what is going on.

  6. 1.Online help for the AET record book system. It would be beneficial to have someone, such as a former student or just someone who knows the record book inside out, available to give tech support. For example I have a few students out in Vernon, which is about an hour away; if I had someone that could help them online with their record book problems it would save a lot of gas money. The disadvantage would be it would be harder to make sure the students understand how to do the record books by themselves in the future. The virtual volunteer is “new breed” because they can do their volunteering at their convenience.
    2. It can be really frustrating to have high maintenance volunteer. I think, “you don’t have to be here, if you’re not going to do your job, go home.” In my experience I just leave them out until I feel like they could do a better job.

  7. As with everyone's thoughts, I agree that the "virtual volunteer" is a new breed because of how the volunteers are used and managed. I would use virtual volunteers to maintain the program's web site, seek sponsors through phone and internet for some of the communittee service activities. The virtual volunteer has the capable of reaching out to more people and sources for any program.

    The disadvantage that I see is making sure that you have some type of follow through with commitments. Sometimes volunteers will procrastinate (like everyone else) and wait to the last minute to follow through with their commitments or assigned tasks. Unable to have a face to face contact might sometimes pose a problem.

    I have been involved with many of the "high maintenance" volunteers, including the "high maintenance" manager/coordinator. You wonder if it's worth having them there or would it be easier to do it yourself or not help yourself. I think there are times we do need to step back and get a broader perspective before we judge or do something we regret. It's easy to quickly form a bad opinion of someone that you feel is not doing their part. But, it's harder to try and understand why and figure out if there is something that you can do to help with the situation.

  8. 1. I really love the idea of virtual volunteerism, but it scares me a little like mentioned in the book! I really love technology, but it is definitely not my forte. I think that for my program using virtual volunteerism would be a must. In order to reach across the state we would need someone that could set up a website, blog, or other form of virtual hub to keep all of our volunteers informed and manageable. I would love to be able to use this to post helpful reads, documents, flyers, and other sources of information and knowledge that they volunteers could access easily.
    The advantages to a program like this would be time saving, having a larger group and area of volunteers, a way to get a lot of information out fast to a large group, and many others. I think that the biggest disadvantage is that this form of volunteerism takes out the person-to-person or face-to-face aspect of the organization. I do believe that there is always room to include both virtual and face to face in the organization.
    This is definitely a "new breed" of volunteer. It is crazy to think, even in my lifetime, how far we have come with technology. I look back at some of the 4-H records and see hand written addressed letters that would have taken weeks to arrive to all of the volunteers, now not only can we send an email in an instance, but we can run a whole organization at the click of a mouse.

    2. This made me think of the conversation that we had in class during our week on campus when we talked about what to do when you get these types of volunteers. I have had some experience with the "Helpful Hanna". Bless this person's heart. They really wanted to help and did such a good job, but they always tended to go overboard. It was interesting, because of their over-involvement, they started to try and take over the whole organization. I was able to step back and see that they really weren't intentionally trying to do this. After having a nice conversation with the individual, I was able to help steer them back to where we needed them the most and put their strengths to work.
    I think that the most important instruction given in the book was first to put ourselves in that person's shoes in order to see why they are the way they are before we get too focused on firing them.

  9. 1) In the last year or so seminaries and institutes were encouraged to start Facebook pages for their local areas. We tried our best but none of us had a Facebook page and were really unsure how to do it. We also keep getting side tracked when messages kept asking if we knew so and so. Our Facebook page is pretty rough looking and we really didn’t see the power until we started posting recently received mission calls.
    We could really use a capable virtual volunteer to manage our Facebook and help us use all of its capabilities. This would be a great way to inform and keep in touch with students and parents. One disadvantage that came to mind is the care and constant monitoring of the virtual volunteer. Because we represent a religious organization we’d have to be super careful about who was posting and what was being posted. Though this would be really nice for a “new breed” volunteer because it could be done any time of day any time of the week.
    2) I really feel that when dealing with high maintenance volunteers we have to take a careful look at the volunteer individually. Even though many volunteer because they want to help, it becomes evident early on that the volunteer is being helped far more that who their helping. In my experience in many instances I found “high maintenance” serve as a red flag for help. We need to be careful in our efforts to help those “abroad” so we don’t miss the opportunity to help those around us.