Active Status Volunteer Management and Volunteer Coordinator Rights | Track It Forward

Here’s What We’ve Gathered from our Facebook Community- 6/22-6/28

Written by Kasey Murphy

Our Facebook Community is always full of good advice. This week there were comments from niche groups like human trafficking and senior citizen volunteer programs. Check out what our community had to say this week, and don’t forget to join if you haven’t! 

1. Monitoring Active Status of Volunteers post COVID-19 

Facebook post in volunteer resource community stating:

Want to add to this conversation? Click here

Advice from the comments:

  • Have affected volunteers do a refresher course that does not include the full orientation, but has new material: this covers both new COVID policies and seeing who is active.
  • “Could you do a web-based quiz and include lots of pictures? Vast majority of our animal shelter volunteers are still inactive so I think when we fully reactivate it will be good to do a refresher. We don't have tight timelines though of when people have to retrain or get started by under normal circumstances.”
  • We think you can also check in with your volunteers, do a poll to see who would be interested in starting to volunteer at what phases of reopening. This can help add some organization! 

Resources

  1. Motivational Management 
  2. Volunteer Management Handbook
  3. Coronavirus Volunteer Management Report 

2. Volunteer Coordinator Rights 

Although this post is older, it has generated many supportive comments this week. We wanted to share them for anyone who may be going through similar challenges. 

Facebook post in Volunteer Resource Community stating:

Have something to add to this topic? Let them know here! 

See what our supportive community had to say:

  • “Under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act the use of volunteers and interns is strictly regulated. ... Typically, volunteers will serve on a part-time basis and will not displace employees or perform work that would otherwise be performed by employees”
  • “I know that when I was working as the volunteer coordinator at a local for profit hospital, it was illegal to fill a position with a volunteer to do the duties of an employee laid off, furloughed, or fired. Look into your state’s labor laws. Check with your companies lawyers.”
  • And finally a response from the original poster: “I spoke to someone from the US Department of Labor (federal) and they agreed. But let me clarify a few things, in case this happens to you. I live in NM, which is an at-will employment state. Those who are being laid off don't have any standing to complain about the situation. I can be let go for just about any reason. What they do with my position doesn't affect me. However, if the volunteers who begin filling these positions and have requirements put on their work - such as a regular schedule, work requirements, and other expectations - in a way that essentially benefits the organization, they can claim to be employees and file for payment and benefits. This is very simplified, and there may be members of this group who can explain it better than I. I will be leaving it to the remaining HR person to deal with. But if I find future employment as a volunteer coordinator, I will be prepared with better questions about how they fit within the operations of that organization.”

Resources

  1. When Volunteering at Work Is Allowed
  2. Your State’s Department of Labor
  3. Fair Labor Standards Act 

3. Creating Virtual Volunteering in Sensitive Situations like Human Trafficking Survivors

Facebook post in Volunteer coordinator resource community stating:

Can you relate to this post? Give your advice here! 

Ideas from the comments:

  • Have virtual one on one conversations with the same person and around the same time. This will allow them to build trust and get to know each other rather than being in a larger virtual environment. 
  • “Of course the volunteers should be trained to be sensitive towards the needs of the people they're helping, explain the purpose of the activity and address any possible questions regarding confidentiality in the beginning.”
  • We organized online training for the virtual volunteers, some of whom were new volunteers. In the sign-up form, we asked about their motivation for the task. They were required to read our (pretty extensive) Code of Conduct before the training and answer questions about it. Also, we discussed difficult situations they might encounter, and how to solve them. We also called them after the first meetings to see how they were doing and to offer our support. This has worked well so far and they have done a very good job :)

Resources

  1. Recognizing and responding to human trafficking
  2. Volunteer Engagement 2.0 

4. Celebration of Life Ceremony Regulations 

Facebook post in volunteer resource community stating:

Have you planned a celebration of life ceremony in the pandemic? Give other coordinators your tips! 

Tips from the comments:

  • Contact family members first for permission to say the name and give a personalized statement.
  • Have family members RSVP and on the RSVP they can give their permission to say their names. 
  • Ask what family members would like to be included in the ceremony. 

Resources

  1. Planning a Virtual Celebration of Life 
  2. How to Plan a Virtual Service During COVID-19