specialists analysing the volunteering sector agree on one thing – the main problem why volunteers give up is that they don’t feel engaged in
what they do. In other words, different people are apt to doing different
volunteering and if you want to keep them with you for longer, you need to find
out what may be the best tasks to give them. From outdoor events organisation to
office and administration work, you can now easily determine where your
volunteers will fit in with the help of the different quizzes suggested in this
This is a great quiz for someone
who wants to quickly find out what the perfect volunteer job for them will be.
Only 10 very straightforward and clear questions and the volunteer-to-be will
know what they will enjoy doing. From there, you just need to place them in the
right team and expect amazing results.
This is another great quiz that
will help you find more about the volunteering nature of your prospective
volunteers. It will tell you if their volunteer style is Active/Hands-on,
Social Helper, Artistic/Creative or Technical/Administrative. In addition to
this, you will get some ideas about what exactly they can help with – e.g. IT,
Coaching, Photography, etc. This quiz is not interactive, so you will have to
count how many A, B, C or D answers they have and check out the results table.
About 4 years ago, Wild Apricot
published a post discussing 8 quizzes for volunteers that were divided into
four categories: Learn Your Volunteer Profile, Eco-Volunteers, Career-Oriented
Volunteers and Young Volunteers. Bearing in mind that the Internet is constantly
changing, you will probably find that some of the quizzes are no longer there,
but it is worth checking the post out and seeing what is still available.
Create Your Own Quiz
After you’ve checked out a few
volunteer quizzes on the web, you will start seeing a pattern and determine how to estimate the results. Then, you will be able to create
your own volunteer quiz and give it to your prospective volunteers showing
interest in your organisation. The good thing about creating your own quiz is
that you will be able to include questions that are relevant to your
organisation and will better exhibit the preferences and abilities of your
If you want to see even more
ready-made volunteer quizzes, the web is full of them! Just open your favourite
search engine and type ‘volunteer quiz’ or ‘quiz for volunteers’ and you will
be offered hundreds of quizzes to choose from.
All in all, knowing about all those great volunteer quizzes will hopefully help you with the hard tasks of retaining volunteers within your organisation. So next time you find a new person who wants to try volunteering, ask them to spend a couple of minutes on the quiz you think best matches your and their aims. The results will show you exactly how you can place the volunteer and how to keep them happy and satisfied with their work. Isn't that exactly what your organisation needs?
“Volunteerism – the policy or practice of volunteering one’s time or
talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, especially
in one’s community” – that’s what volunteerism is all about according to
the dictionary. What happens, however, when we take the ‘worthwhile’ out of
‘worthwhile activities’? The Ph.D. student in sociology and volunteer Ian
Breckenridge-Jackson asked the same question in his presentation ‘Getting More Than We Give – Realities of Volunteerism’.
Back in 2006, Ian became one of the many tourist volunteers who went
to New Orleans with the plan to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. However,
it turned out that volunteering turned out quite different than what he
expected. Instead of helping the victims settle back in their homes in the
historical neighbourhood Lower Ninth Ward, Ian and the other volunteers had the
task to demolish what’s left of their houses, leaving people to wait for the
government to rebuild it and give them some financial help.
This experience changed Ian’s
life. Expecting to go and give his time and efforts to the people, he ended up
getting a free trip to New Orleans, an award, a valuable entry in his
CV, recognition and the feeling that he did something good. This volunteering
experience completely changed Ian’s life. The simple calculations he made
helped him see that volunteer tourists, although driven by good will, are mostly
a waste of time and money.
Ian found out that if the funds used to get
volunteers to New Orleans was used to build new houses instead, it would have
been enough to rebuild a neighbourhood twice the size of Lower Ninth Ward (for
reference, so far only about 1/5 of the houses in the neighbourhood have been
rebuilt). So Ian decided to contribute to the victims in a different way.
Firstly, he partnered with another volunteer – Caroline Heldman – and together
they co-founded the Lower Ninth Ward Museum where everyone can go for free and
learn the story of the neighbourhood’s inhabitants. Secondly, he focussed his
Ph.D. dissertation on the impact of volunteers who flocked to New Orleans after
And while we are waiting for the
results of Ian’s dissertation, we can’t help ask ourselves some of the
questions bothering him. When is volunteerism turning into a pointless and even
a detrimental activity? Before taking part in a volunteer project, you need to
find out if your efforts will actually help someone. Volunteerism exists to
help people in need, but it often takes an unfortunate turn which helps no-one.
There is nothing bad in getting something back from volunteer work –
experience, new friends, new connections, knowledge etc., however, for it to be
worthwhile, you need to give more than you get.
Ian is not the first one to doubt
the usefulness of volunteer tourists. Many specialists are of the opinion that
a worthy cause could do better to invest the money for volunteer tourists in
local specialists and companies (depending on the situation), who will be able
to do much more for the people in need than those coming from all over the
world. Some people even think that volunteer
tourism is becoming a whimsy, a sort of amusement for some people.
We know it is the volunteers, not the tourists, devoting their time and efforts with good
intentions. However, before you choose a cause to volunteer for, ask yourself
what you will be doing, why you will be doing it and who you are really
helping. If the answers to these three questions are satisfactory – go for it!
If not, maybe you should consider another cause or project.
Today we want to
address our gratitude to the National Australia Bank and Impact Investing
Australia for a piece of great news – the foundation of a brand new impact
investment fund amounting to $1 million. NAB, which is one of the founders of
Impact Investing Australia, appears quite keen to start a new process that is
bound to shape the social face of Australia for years to come.
The latest report by Impact
Investing Australia (which came hand in hand with the announcement of the new
fund) is named “Delivering
on Impact: The Australian Advisory Board Breakthrough Strategy to Catalyse
Impact Investing” and is full of useful
content that explains how exactly Australia will become a better place with the
help of Impact Investing. According to the specialists who have worked on the
report, if everything goes as planned, it will be easy to achieve $10 billion in impact
assets in the market.
So what does all that mean? To
start with, if you want to do Impact Investing but you don't have the capital
to start, now you can access it. If you have a business model that can improve
the social and community conditions in Australia, you can realise it with the
help of the new fund. If you want to invest in the improvement of Australia and
the Australian community and earn at the same time, you only need to find out how
and apply for financing. If you have already found out how – so much the
The fund will be known as the NAB
Impact Investment Grants Program and will be managed by NAB in cooperation with
Impact Investing Australia. The Difference Incubator will also have a
significant role for making it happen – mainly in terms of the structure and
design of the program. As Steve Lambert (who is both part of NAB and Impact
Investing Australia) says, "the program is only one of the projects currently
being developed to improve the community situation in Australia and overcome
any challenges the country may face in the future". According to him, one of the
main responsibilities of NAB is to provide their customers with ‘holistic and
innovative financial solutions’.
This is a great start for the Australian
Impact beginning (although there have been other efforts to push it forward),
but it most certainly won’t be enough to help create the Australia we want.
Therefore, the National Australia Bank encourages all organisations and
businesses out there to contribute to the fund. With mutual effort and hard
work, Australia may become a great place for living, investment and business – as long as we want it and fight for it.
This is a popular story across the internet
and it’s easy to see why. I’m not alone
when I say that the animal world has a lot to teach us if we just pay
attention. This story is filled with lessons which apply to the way we work in teams
and particularly as volunteers for not for profit organisations. Sometimes it
seems as though our voice is the only one trying to bring attention to the
cause but, as you read this, you will realise that you’re not alone, and your
team is with you. Learn how to work with it for better results.
Lessons from Geese
As each goose flaps its wings, it creates
an uplift for the bird behind it. By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock
adds 71% more flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get
where they are going quicker and easier when they are travelling on the thrust
of one another.
When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot
down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down. They stay with the
goose to help and protect it until it is able to fly again or it dies. Then they
launch out with another formation to catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other.
Whenever a goose falls out of the
formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone and
quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the
bird in front.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation
with those who are headed where we want to go.
When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates
back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership.
The geese in formation honk from behind to
encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure our honking from behind is encouraging - not
something less than helpful.
Now that you’ve read the lessons, take from them what you can. Volunteers are amazing people – you are an amazing person – so stick
together like geese and move forward as one. You have more chance of being seen and heard if you fly together as one.
As every manager of a NFP organisation knows
only too well, the burning out of volunteers is one of the main problems in the
sector. It is important to know that along with the other reasons why volunteers cease to be
interested in volunteering, a strong factor is the lack of attention to their efforts. If you want
to keep your volunteers happy and motivated, you will have to make them feel
special and what better way to do so than acknowledging the difference they
make. In this sense, using your blog to celebrate the volunteers at your NFP is
a great idea with a lot of potential.
a section in your blog to your volunteers is a solution that can help in more
than one way. To start with, your volunteers will be pleased to know that you
are interested in what they have to say and will be happy to share their
opinion, views, feedback or memories. Bearing in mind that most of them may be
too shy or modest to share that they volunteer,
celebrating them in your blog will do that on their behalf and may turn very
useful if a prospective employer makes the effort to google them for more information.
And finally, you will have fresh and unique content for your blog, which will
contribute to your search engine optimisation and will have a positive effect
on the online image of your NFP.
to what volunteer-related content you can publish in your blog, that’s the
easiest part of the process. Your volunteers have special events in their
lives, some of them related to the organisation. If an elderly volunteer
celebrates an important anniversary (like a 70th birthday or 10 years
at the organisation), you can celebrate them in a blog post – a short interview
and a nice photo will do. Otherwise, you can start a rubric of the ‘Ask a
volunteer’ and ‘Our volunteers’ feedback’; every week a different person
can share their organisation-related thoughts. Or you can ask around the
company for interesting or funny stories from the volunteers’ experience and
share them with your blog readers.
example of an organisation that makes the effort to celebrate their volunteers
in their blog is Oxfam Australia. Navigating in their website, you
can easily reach the section of the blog devoted to the volunteers and there
you can see posts similar to the proposed above: Volunteer Spotlight which
focusses on a person and their story; a
message from one volunteer to another; commemorating the retirement of a
long-term volunteer, etc. As already mentioned, this can only bring benefits to
your organisation and your blog, and it will be a precious little act of
attention for your volunteers.
said all this, if you think it is high time you did something special for your
volunteers, try celebrating them in your blog post. Making them feel special is
sure to invigorate them and make them even more passionate for your NFP’s
activities. And besides this, your prospective volunteers will read positive
stories of current people working with you, which is a great plus for your
recruitment strategy. All in all, blogging about your volunteers is a win-win,
so make sure you try it soon!
Although it is a voluntary
position, being a treasurer for a not-for-profit organisation may be a
challenging experience, especially if you are not prepared. There are many
activities a volunteer treasurer (VT) needs to participate in, and even more
processes they should monitor and control. Therefore, if you are or want to be
a volunteer treasurer, it is worth taking the effort to train yourself for the
job. Similarly, if you are about to take on board a treasurer for your NFP
organisation, you should make sure that they are ready for this responsibility.
Fortunately, nowadays it is not
too hard to find appropriate resources and train on your own – the Internet is
full of materials that can help volunteer treasurers with their undertakings. A
good place to start is Davidson Institute,
a financial education institution part of the Westpac network. The Institute
provides a lot of resources that will prove helpful for VTs. Once you get on
their website, you can either visit the Learning Centre, which is divided into
categories for Business, Personal, Not-for-Profit and Corporate visitors, or
you can check out the courses page and browse through similar categories.
At present, there is one active
short course appropriate for Not-for-Profit VTs, with more undoubtedly to follow. Meanwhile, you can take
the 1-day Financial Management 101 for
Not-for-Profit & Community Organisations, which will help you understand
the financial management tools you will need in order to be successful in your
position of treasurer and improve the NFP’s financial performance. You can
check out the course details here.
In the learning centre, you can
find many free resources that will improve your financial knowledge and prepare
you for the role of the treasurer. There is a separate section Managing Money
where you can read articles on different topics by experienced treasurers and financial
managers or participate in the free webinars. There are also other resources
that you can check out, like the Cause
and Effect Newsletter.
All these resources provided by
Davidson Institute can help volunteer treasurers find new sources of funding
for their NFP organisations, increase the financial stability and processes and
implement good financial practices. If you are anxious about your financial
literacy, you could find help with the interpretation of financial statements,
the building of cash flow budget and the planning and managing of seasonality.
You can also learn how to understand the financial impact of growth, diagnose
financial problems and deal with them, and many more. In other words, the
resources on this website are a real treasure for treasurers – make sure you
check them out and improve yourself!
The end of
the financial year is a great time to take a look at your bookkeeping processes
to see what is working and what is not.The systems which once worked for you may no longer be appropriate,
especially if you have seen a growth in membership.
Here are 3
key bookkeeping mistakes made by many clubs and not for profit
organisations.Are you making any of
paper based records. This is one
of the biggest mistakes you can make.Keeping
paper based records is a security risk.Anyone can access them and – even worse – alter them without you even
realising.(And I hate to ask it, but
where are your backup records?)
the wrong financial record keeping software. Sometimes
your accountant will advise you to use accounting systems which, although
excellent at what it does, is too advanced for you or your treasurer to use. If
yours is a smaller NFP you don’t need an accounting system full of bells and
whistles.Often it can be hard to
imagine that errors are made purely by accident. Choose club software such as Admin Bandit software which gives you everything you need
to accurately manage your accounts without giving you a headache.
your records with the bank.
This is a
basic mistake but it happens more often than you would think possible.Sometimes it is an oversight and sometimes
it’s a confusion over who is responsible for the task.Other times it is because one person actively
prevents it happening, and that’s when they know there is something to cover
up. You can’t be confident in your records, especially if they are paper based,
without confirming the details with your bank.
Now is the
time to check the systems you are using to see whether or not they are working
for you, and if there is a better, more secure way to manage your bookkeeping
and club finances.
With so much of our lives and information contained in that little box on your desk or lap, it’s important that we protect it as much as we can. The most basic form of security is the password and that’s where many of us are going wrong.
How secure is your information? It depends on how strong your password is.
Earlier this year Splashdata released a list of the worst passwords of 2013 which was compiled from files containing millions of stolen passwords posted online during the previous year. What they found is that most of us are so worried about forgetting our passwords that we choose ones which are easy to remember. The problem with that is that if we can work them out, so can some hacker who wants his wicked way with your data.
One good sign which shows we are becoming more aware of our security is that “password” as a password has finally lost its number one spot on the list.
But guess what its replacement is? Yep. It’s 123456.
Here is the list of the top 25 worst passwords of 2013.
Your password is what keeps your data safe so it’s worth creating a strong one and memorising it.
The best passwords, according to Splashdata and most security experts, will have eight characters or more, combining letters, numbers, and symbols. It is recommended that you don’t use the same password for everything, and that you have an even stronger password to keep your financial information safe.
Go and check your own passwords now. If you recognise it from this list, take immediate action to change it.
Your treasurer has quit. No one else wants
the job.Somehow you find yourself
volunteering for the role.
Now what?Numbers aren’t your thing.
How soon till the panic sets in?
Oh heavens, where did you put the
Like a modern day Robin Hood, you will have
to rob the rich to pay the poor – but where do you find the money?
Don’t worry.It’s not going to be a nightmare.Just use Admin Bandit software which has been
specifically designed to help volunteer treasurers and their committees to
manage their accounts without going crazy.
Make yourself look professional by taking
advantage of the built in features.Customise Admin Bandit to match your organisation and present a
professional image to the committee and the world:
·import your own logo to appear
on all reports, receipts, invoices and member notices.
·customise terms to match your
activities, e.g. Members to Players, Groups to Teams.
·consistent brand across all
correspondence and reports generated for your club or society.
·consistent clear reports give
you confidence in the job you do as a treasurer
In our busy, competitive world, give your
organisation the edge by having a good handle on the finances.
A well run organisation is attractive to
people when they are deciding which association or club they will commit
their time and resources to assist.
Find out more in our video which explains
the whys, wheres and hows for you.
Is your NFP working to improve the lives of
Could you do with a boost to your funding?
The 2014 Westpac Community Grants might be
just what you need.The grants have been
designed for specific purposes.This is
an extract from the Westpac
What we do fund:
Projects that build on a community organisation’s core work
Running costs, including salaries, to ensure that community organisations can maintain and develop their core work and services.
What we do not fund:
Organisations that do not have
a Deductible Gift Recipient Item 1 status with the ATO, or are not auspiced
Charities that mainly work overseas
Hospitals, hospices or medical centres
Medical research, funding for medical equipment or medical treatments
Schools, colleges and universities
Sponsorship or funding towards a marketing appeal or fundraising activities
Capital projects, appeals and refurbishments
Projects that support animals or to promote animal welfare
Programs promoting religion.
The Westpac Foundation has already provided
over one million dollars of funding for community grants. These grants have
helped over 113 Not for Profits to expand their operations.That is a very impressive record.
This year there is a total of $530,000 in
grant money available to groups who can meet the funding requirements.
If you have never applied for a grant
before, take the time to read the documentation on how to apply and check the
selection criteria.Both are found on
Applications are open until March 31st
and grant recipients will be announced in June. Please visit the Westpac
Foundation to discover more about the grants and to make your application.
To be named Australia’s most reputable not for profit organisation is an
honour; to be named most reputable 3 years in a row is definitely a great
achievement indeed. Australia’s Royal
Flying Doctor Service has been given this honour ranking highest again in the
2013 AMR Charity Reputation Index.
The AMR survey measures across many facets of a non-profit organisation
including innovation, workplace, citizenship, governance, leadership and
AMR’s Managing Director Oliver Freedman said that the Royal Flying
Doctors had in particular built a strong reputation across this broad
Freedman commented, “The research demonstrates that for a charity to
have a strong reputation, it is not enough simply to be supporting a good cause. These organisations also need to be
innovative, strong community leaders, demonstrate appropriate cost management,
be transparent in their governance and provide a good workplace for employees.
The Royal Flying Doctors came up well in all these dimensions, and their
overall reputation ranking reflects this community view.”
Coming in a very notable second is the McGrath Foundation which managed
to rise a whole eight places from last year to achieve this astounding result.
The Foundation communicates clearly about what it is raising money for,
and where it will go,” Freedman said.
“This has contributed to its overall reputation in the eyes of
Australians because they understand what the charity stands for and can see the
work it is undertaking out in the community.”
These two charities are certainly a great act for all not for profits to follow and it just goes to show how much transparency, innovation and reputation play a part in an organisation's success.
To learn more about the charities and the AMR Charity Reputation Index
visit the original article.