Volunteer Trends to Watch!

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Thank you to Catholic Community Services for hosting the VAN Professional Gathering!  There was a lively discussion based on a blog article about Brain Science and Volunteer Trends. You can read it here.

Trend #1 – Advances in brain science and neuroleadership

Those are words you don’t hear often!  But basically it’s about developing volunteer management practice that work with human nature not against it. Part of that includes time for reflection at the end of a project or day in order to recognize the meaning in the work done and celebrate the team.  How do you cultivate happiness in volunteers and meaning in work?

Trend #2 – Discoveries in human performance and talent development

We discussed how to develop the talents in our volunteer teams by providing opportunities for promotions and leadership, also mentorships between experienced and novice volunteers.  Have you developed volunteer-led learning networks?

Trend#3 – Migration from solely virtual to virtual and mobile

We discussed how people are forsaking computers for phones, so how can we do more on-line and foster two-way social communication.  Do you use mobile technology to connect with your volunteers? Do you have applications on-line, or shift assignments? Are you using Facebook and other social media to share pictures, impact, mutual learning, and sharing of stories?  It was suggested we try #ThankYouThursdays in our posts and share photos once a week.  Others suggested trainings on-line, wikis, and responsive websites.

Trend #4 – The increasing importance of data

The blogger suggested that now is the time for us to collaborate in data to inform more evidence-based practices.  Can we as a profession agree on indicators and benchmarks for program accountability?  An intriguing idea!  What data do you collect? Some of us shared how we use survey monkey or info graphics and stats to show the significance of the money our volunteer programs are saving the organization.  What are you doing to collect data? What data do you need?

Lots of food for thought!  Thank you Belina Van for leading our discussion!

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Lisa Yeager has more than 15 years experience in Volunteer Management. She has lead volunteers at the Bellevue Art Museum, WACAP, Hopelink, Encompass, Autism Speaks (Walk Now for Autism), and the Sno-valley Senior Center. She has won the DuFort Award for Volunteer Management, and Program Manager of the Year in 2000. She is currently Treasurer and conference chair for VAN.