Happy New Year

New Year – New Start. This is a frequent refrain heard at this time. People are busy making resolutions of self-improvement; to lose weight, to get healthier or to perhaps drop a bad habit. But are resolutions only for personal improvement? January can be the perfect time to take a look at our organizations and agencies and look at getting them healthier as well.

This can be the perfect time to look at and tackle an aspect of your organizations Volunteer Management plan. Maybe this is the year to put a plan on paper…how/where are volunteers recruited? What is the application/background check process? How/who does orientations? Who’s responsible for position training? You get the idea. Maybe it’s time to update the volunteer position descriptions; do they reflect the job and work that is actually being done? Do the Volunteer Personnel Policies cover today’s issues? Email, Cell phones, Social Media?

It can be overwhelming if you look at the whole. I read a statistic that somewhere around 80% of people asked make a resolution but only 8% actually keep them. One of the contributing factors seems to be setting goals that are too lofty. Take the popular personal resolution to exercise – most people say they will exercise 7 days a week and when they hit a bump in the road and miss several days, they become discouraged and give up. For better success you should say exercise for two days a week, which is more obtainable more likely for you to keep or at least keep plugging at it. And face it for a lot of us, exercising two days is two more days than what we are currently doing and still a big improvement.

So in the realm of volunteer management, maybe we set the goal at creating the outline for the volunteer management plan or deciding on the topics that should be covered in the volunteer personnel policies. The point is to start somewhere and move forward. Remember bumps in the road will occur; the key will be to not let them throw you off the path.

Have a Happy and Prosperous 2015 and don’t be afraid to tackle those resolutions one step at a time.

Bernie Bowie
Volunteer Services Regional Specialist
American Red Cross