Project Planning - Volunteer Engagement


Published on

Engaging volunteers effectively to create change requires organization and planning. This presentation provides tips and tools that can be used by organizations as they implement service projects whether a small, episodic project or a multi-event engaging hundreds of volunteers.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • This training is designed to provide tips and a broad outline of steps that can help make any project whether a neighborhood cleanup, fundraiser, or volunteer recognition program more successful.
  • This training has been developed by the Volunteer Centers of Michigan in cooperation with the Michigan Community Service Commission as a part of the Volunteer Generation Grant.
  • There are five steps of project development. Read steps off the slide.
  • The first step is to focus on your community. When you start to plan a service project, it is important to involve the community from the very beginning. What are the social issues that the community is facing? What are the assets that you want to strengthen in the community as well as leverage in order to meet those needs? What are the needs of people in your community, local non-profits, schools, parks, or other community areas? By working with the community, you can identify projects that will make a true impact. This is what is called a community assessment. A community assessment involves scanning the community for both assets/resources and challenges/barriers. A community assessment should have a focus otherwise you will not know where to begin to assess. The assessment should be ongoing and you should use varying techniques. You should also be mindful to use techniques where the members of the specific community have input or a voice in the process. Trainer can show the “Getting to Know Your Community” video that is in your toolkit or @ Be prepared to start the video and have prepared so you can start the video after the commercial.
  • ?
  • The assessment will provide you with a list of issues and potential projects. Now you can begin to narrow your focus.
  • The first step in narrowing your focus is to learn more about the issue or issues you identified in the community needs assessment. You need to find some statistics about the issue in your community, the background and underlying causes, and some ideas for projects to address the need. Research what groups—nonprofits, faith based groups, neighborhood associations, etc.—are already working around this area. Are they meeting all the needs? If so, you may want to focus your efforts on another issue. However, it is more likely that they would be an ideal partner for your project. Refer to the Research the Issue Resources for a listing of sources where you can gather data and research.
  • Once you know what groups in your community are working in a particular issue area, you can approach them about partnering for a project. They may already be one of your program partners, in which case you should have a good understanding of how your organizations will work together and the resources that each brings to the project. If they are a new partner, determine if they are a good fit for your program by reviewing their mission, the resources they offer to their partners, and the services they offer the community. See the Questions to Ask Potential Partners Worksheet to help you facilitate this conversation with these potential partners.
  • Take time to visit the potential project site to determine the greatest needs. Whether you are working at a shelter, a park, or a community service organization facility, a site visit will help you identify potential projects. Have any of you been on a site visit? Schedule a time to visit the project site with at least one representative from your CSO partner. If possible, you should visit with key stakeholders and decision makers such as the volunteer coordinator and/or maintenance staff. This will ensure that critical decisions that can affect the project development process can be made quickly. Also, by involving key stakeholders in the project planning process as early as possible, it is more likely that the CSO representative will be able to garner support for the project as well as increase the likelihood of obtaining resources they would not have been able to otherwise obtain. If a project has well-rounded community support, your program can more effectively apply resources toward its success. Key Point: Be clear about budget and time constraints for tools and materials. You must not promise more than you can deliver as you expand the project.
  • During the visit, ask questions that help you understand what the agency’s or sites greatest needs are and the ways that ongoing or one-time volunteer support can have the greatest impact. While touring the site to review potential projects, keep in mind the following elements of a successful project: (read points on slide)
  • Discuss national days of service and resources such as toolkits available on websites. Also identify potential sources of information regarding community needs—which organizations have done studies or needs assessments? See the resources listed on the Project Planning Fact Sheet.
  • Once you have assessed the needs of the community, researched the issue, contacted community partners, and visited the prospective service site, it’s time to decide on the project. There is a great variety among kinds of volunteer projects, so it is important to define your scope. The scope will dictate how large or small it is, the intended impact, the duration, and the general theme of the project. When selecting a project, pay close attention to the amount of time it requires, the amount of effort it requires, the impact as well as other factors such as: Overall project scope: Can the project be scaled up or down as needed? Diversity: Can a broad spectrum of community members participate? Overall cost of producing the project Weather impact: What happens in case of inclement weather? Accessibility to building and facilities Amount and type of skilled labor needed In addition, you should decide whether to plan a one-time, special-event project; an ongoing series of projects; or a combination. A one-day event could be a large project involving hundreds of people or it could be small group of volunteers working together on a service project for a day. Ongoing projects engage volunteers on a consistent basis, providing the opportunity to go beyond a one-time experience and have a sustained experience on the community.
  • As you narrow the scope of your project and determine what you are going to do, you will need to formulate ideas for how you can achieve your goals. In order to have a successful service project, you have to plan well. You need to prepare for every detail from the number of volunteers to the method of reflection. The next slides will help you map out your project so that you work effectively, meet your goals, and make an impact on the community. When mapping service projects you must create a task list, identify resources and create a budget, conduct a site visit, create timelines, and plan for evaluation and reflection.
  • Part of the planning process is determining the tasks involved in completing the project. Consider what you want to accomplish and the tasks needed. Then, create a comprehensive list of the assignments and the number of volunteers needed for each task. If there are multiple goals, prioritize them according to each task’s importance. This list will guide you as you recruit volunteers and plan the details of the day. NOTE: Continue the activity only long enough to make your point. It can get tedious if you carry it on too long. When creating your service project task lists, remember to include EVERY step! Refer participants to the Sample Project Task List located in handouts.
  • As you make the task list, outline the costs associated with all items on the list. This will help you create a working budget, which will help you secure needed resources. Even if you receive in-kind services or donations, you must accurately document them. You must be able to provide donors with information for tax deductions, and you must maintain accurate records for internal and external reporting purposes.  
  • An important part of the project-development process is determining the resources you need to complete the project, including human, material, financial, and educational resources.
  • You have already created a task list; now, determine the number of volunteers you need to complete these tasks. Establishing volunteer needs can be a challenge. Consider these variables: Volunteer skill levels: Is the work appropriate for beginners or do you need more skilled volunteers? Volunteer age: What is the age limit for the project? Duration of project: What is the time commitment required? Availability of supplies: Will you have enough supplies so that every volunteer has the necessary tools to be occupied throughout the project? Physical space available to perform the work” How large is the service site? How many people can comfortably work there?
  • Team Leader programs are valuable resources. The Project Leader could assumer responsibility for the project from start to finish. Additional leaders may be helpful in the case of a larger project. You can structure the volunteer leadership team like this. The VM helps provide oversight over all elements of volunteer management, from registration to recognition. Task Leaders are responsible for specific things, such as painting or landscaping. They usually are skilled in this area and can help manage everything related to that specific thing. Project Captains assist with on-site management and work with small teams of volunteers. For example, the TL could be responsible for 3 teams of painters, each of which is lead by a PC
  • Provide a variety of opportunities to encourage involvement. Volunteers that aren’t ready for volunteer leader roles can fill other positions such as: (read the slides).
  • In addition to assessing your volunteer needs, you will also need to address your tangible resource needs. Determine what supplies, materials, goods, and services you need in order to complete your project. With your project partners, strategize about the types and amounts of resources that are needed. Make your list as comprehensive as possible, including resources for every aspect of the project from nametags and refreshments for volunteers to tools and restroom facilities. You will be able to work with your project partners as well as your national service program partners to secure many of the resources at no cost. In addition, think about businesses, community members, and other organizations. What resources can they offer to help you carry out the project? Consider things such as supplies, meeting space for volunteer orientation, printing of marketing materials, and consulting/professional services. While in-kind contributions will help you complete the project, some items will require financial resources. As you list the supplies and materials needed for the project, note the ones that you will need to pay for. How many financial resources will you need to cover these expenses?
  • Expect to provide an orientation for your volunteers in order for them to be successful in carrying out their tasks or activities. Consider the most effective method(s) for presenting orientation training to volunteers. For volunteers to be effective they must understand the issue the project addresses and the project’s intended effect on the community. You can conduct volunteer orientation before the project or on the actual day of the project. Orientation should include:   A brief overview of the issue or cause; A brief overview of the location site; and If you are carrying out a project in a community based organization then you should review the organization’s mission, core services provided to the community, how volunteer support is contributing to that mission, and any specific policies and procedures related to volunteers To incorporate learning into the project, discuss the community issue being addressed by the community service organization and the project. Provide a brief history of the issue; statistics related to the issue; applicable current events, such as legislation activity; and other civic-engagement opportunities linked to this issue, such as advocacy training or future service projects. These details are extremely helpful in educating volunteers. Orientation should also outline the project and detail what volunteers will do so that everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them. In addition to holding an orientation, you may need to train volunteers for the work they will be doing. You may recruit volunteers who already have the necessary skills; however, many volunteers will need some instruction. If volunteers are prepared for the project, they will feel more comfortable with the work, the project will run more smoothly, and your team will be more likely to achieve its goals. As a Volunteer Leader, you should think about the following: Time When will you conduct the orientation and training? How much time will you need? Location Will the orientation and training be held at the service site or at another location? Do you need chairs, tables, electricity, or a large space? Can you use technology to make it easier for your volunteers to be trained? Facilitators Can service leaders lead orientation and training, or will you need the support of another trainer with project-specific skills? Is on-site training required, and if so, who will lead it? Will you need someone from the partner agency to speak? Instructional Materials Will you need printed materials, such as a Microsoft ® PowerPoint ® presentation, or access to an online training?
  • Now that you have placed all your project needs (ex. supplies, educational resources, and planning reflection activities and evaluation) on a task list, you can begin to create a project timeline and document when all tasks should begin and end. Your project timeline should have three sections. Project planning timeline; Project Checklist to help in the development of a timeline. After project timeline.   Refer participants to the Sample Timeline Worksheet to help develop the timelines.
  • This step helps to foster volunteer retention and promote a sense of connection with the organization as the volunteer feels involved and recognizes the impact their serves makes. Reflection is a process in which volunteers think about their personal experiences. Review the benefits, examples and planning points listed on the slide. In example: When planning your project--Decide which form of reflection you will use. Tailor the reflection activity to the project. For example, if volunteers are assisting with art classes at a daycare center, they might create a simple art project about their service experience. An address is provided on the “Project Planning Resources” document links to a “reflection toolkit”. A google search will provide many other examples. You may want to show the “Reflecting on Your Service” video in your toolkit or view it @ just be prepared to view it ahead of time and have it on your computer so that you can pause it after the commercial.
  • You should always take time to think about how evaluation fits into your project. Do you want to evaluate your project so that you can report success to volunteers, partners, and the community? Do you want to get feedback from your project constituents to help you develop your volunteer leadership? As you are aware, there are many options for how evaluation can fit into your project. You can choose to use any of the following types of evaluation: Goal-based, process-based or outcome-based evaluation. Read definitions of each type of evaluation. Once you decide which type of evaluation you will use the next step is to develop the tool or method for collecting the information.
  • Step 4: You have selected your project and identified the resources needed to complete it. How will you secure the items that you need? Recruiting volunteers is key to the success of the project. Without the right volunteers filling the right roles, your project won’t get very far! You also need to make sure that you have enough material and financial resources to accomplish your goals.
  • To successfully complete your project, you will need volunteers. If you have too few participants, the project will likely go unfinished. If you have too many volunteers, some will have little to do and might feel that their time was ill spent. You have already created a task matrix and determined the number of volunteers you need to fill specific positions. Now it’s time to recruit them! When recruiting volunteers, remember that the personal ask is always the most compelling! Consider using volunteers from a partner agency or approach other groups such as unions, sororities/fraternities, civic organizations, teacher’s associations, or independent living homes. You can also display recruitment information through the internet, newspapers, local fairs, schools, community bulletin boards, restaurants, and other interesting places. Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes: male or female, child or adult, disabled or able bodied, various races, religions, sexual orientations, income brackets. Not all volunteers look the same! Not all types of volunteering will appeal to all groups, so have diverse volunteering opportunities available and target recruitment in ways that will appeal to different groups. It is always a good rule of thumb to recruit at least 20% more volunteers then what is required to fulfill the project. Things come up in life. Not everyone who says they will come to your project will actually show up.
  • You can obtain funding, products, and/or services for your project in several ways. Grants, gifts, and in-kind donations are a great way to get support from individuals, corporations, and community organizations. Contact businesses in your neighborhood or companies that already have a connection to your clients or mission, etc. Whom do you know? You should always leverage the assets in your community in order to meet your project goals. Some basic ideas of how you can obtain various resources/support for your service project(s) include: Businesses : Corporate sponsorships to support staffing and operations, In-kind donations (like beverages, snacks, printing of course materials), Meeting space Colleges and Universities : Community research, Course presenters, Interns to support program development, marketing and evaluation, Meeting space Faith Groups : Community research, Course presenters, In-kind donations, Meeting space Foundations : Grants to support staffing and operations, Technical assistance for program development, marketing and evaluation, Community research and presenters Neighborhood Associations/Civic Groups : Community outreach and recruitment, In-kind donations, Non-profits : Grants to support staffing and operations, Community research, Course presenters, Community outreach and recruitment, Meeting space Refer participants to the How to Secure Funding Products and Services Tip Sheet in their handouts.
  • The more personal the “ask”; the more successful it is likely to be. Make connections that count! Here are some tips:
  • Have you ever planned a service project, arrived at the site, and realized that you forgot something important? It may have seemed like a minor detail early in the planning process and so you decided to take care of it later . . . but later never came. Instead of discovering what’s missing on the day of the project, take time to carefully review your plans to make sure everything is taken care of ahead of time. In the weeks before the event, you will need to iron out any kinks and confirm that all aspects of the project are ready to go. (highlight some of the points from the slide) Refer to the Projects Details Checklist to help you finalize all the details and be prepared.
  • Again, volunteer leaders can be a tremendous asset and can actually do these tasks. You have created a recruitment strategy and enlisted volunteers for your project. It is a good idea to pre-register volunteers. Pre-registration can be as simple as providing a contact name, number, and/or e-mail address where volunteers can sign up. If volunteers pre-register, you will be able to contact them about project details and also discuss with them the skills, supplies, or friends they might also bring to the project. Prior to the event, check with volunteers and make sure that all special needs (medical or otherwise) have been addressed and/or met. Also, keep the commitments you make. People will not support you if you don’t provide information requested, address issues they bring up, and/or miss scheduled appointments. Continue to be in contact with your team. Keeping volunteers motivated and excited about your project is the best guarantee for success! The more contact you provide, the more engaged your volunteers will be, and the more motivated they will be when they arrive. Also, respond to people’s inquiries in a timely and thorough manner. Make sure to confirm project details with them. Think about your own volunteer experiences. What do you like to know before you serve? You may want to contact HandsOn Network affiliate in your area to see if they can assist you in preregistering volunteers. They may have tools or resources to help you. You may also want to check out
  • Ensuring the safety of life and property is critical. By reviewing the project for possible hazards and educating volunteers about safety, project staff will reduce the chance of someone getting hurt. Review the safety/emergency plan with your staff, task leaders, and volunteers. Know of all nearby emergency exits, first aid kits and automated external defibrillators (AED’s). Assign a safety point person for the day of the event. Always have a first aid kit on hand and a phone to call first responders if necessary.
  • Always think through the worst-case scenarios. Play devil’s advocate as you analyze the possibilities of what could go wrong. Record the strategy to handle the problems. When you plan ahead for a problem, you can handle it with minimal disruption and cost. The key point here is to not only think about what to do before you need to do it, but to also know whom you need to contact and have their phone numbers readily available. Create contingency plans for weather (rain, extreme heat or cold, etc.) and other problems that can be anticipated. Another problem could be varying numbers of volunteers. What will you do if you have too many or too few volunteers for the project you planned? During step two when you visited the service site, you made a list of all the potential projects. Later, you created a task list and prioritized the jobs to be done. If you have fewer volunteers than you anticipated, use this list to determine which tasks are the most important and can be finished by a small group so that the volunteers have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the project. If you have more volunteers than you planned for, look farther down the list for more tasks to be completed.
  • Ask participants to give examples of problems that they may have faced when staging a project; discuss which steps from the project planning checklist may have been missed.   Ask groups to choose steps from the project planning fact sheet and report out 2-3 additional tips that may apply to these steps or might be additions to those provided on the fact sheet. If there’s time; also discuss those projects that were successful; what major factors contributed to the success?
  • A participant evaluation form has been provided with the toolkit. Please be certain to send a follow-up report form to VCM. This form will summarizes the results from your participant reports.
  • Project Planning - Volunteer Engagement

    2. 2.
    3. 3. Developing Service Projects 5: Finalize the Plan 4: Secure Resources 3: Get Organized 2: Decide on a Project 1: Focus on Community
    4. 4. 1: Focus on Your Community
    5. 5.
    6. 6. 2: Narrow Your Focus
    7. 7. Research the Issue <ul><li>Statistics </li></ul><ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Underlying causes </li></ul><ul><li>Project ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Community experts </li></ul>
    8. 8. Develop Partnerships <ul><li>Review potential project partners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resources they offer partners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Services they offer to the community </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Approach potential partner </li></ul><ul><li>Define roles, outcomes and resources </li></ul>
    9. 9. Conduct a Site Visit <ul><li>Search for potential projects </li></ul><ul><li>Involve key decision-makers and stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Answer important questions about agency needs and how the project will impact the community and the agency </li></ul><ul><li>Gather details about needs for potential projects, including special skills and materials </li></ul>
    10. 10. Elements of a Successful Project <ul><li>The project should. . . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Support our organization’s mission </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Build upon positive relationships within the community. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrate a clear impact. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be volunteer-friendly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide volunteer leadership opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide volunteers with a sense of accomplishment and positive involvement. </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. DISCUSSION Project Ideas Activity What are the needs in your community? How might various organizations collaborate to maximize PR and community resources? What grants and/or state and national resources are available? What about corporate partnerships?
    12. 12. Decide on a Project <ul><li>D efine the scope make a decision based on the following: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other Factors </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. 3. Be Organized —map your project
    14. 14. Create a Task List <ul><li>Determine what you want to accomplish </li></ul><ul><li>List assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Decide number of volunteers needed for each slot </li></ul><ul><li>Prioritize goals (if necessary) according to importance </li></ul>
    15. 15. Create a Budget <ul><li>Outline costs associated with all tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Keep track of all donations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Monetary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In-kind services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Goods—food, supplies, equipment </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Identify Resources
    17. 17. Volunteers <ul><li>Establish volunteer needs </li></ul><ul><li>Consider variables: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteer skill level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteer age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Duration of project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Availability of supplies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical space available to perform the work </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. Team Leader Programs
    19. 19. Other Volunteer Positions <ul><li>Perform tasks—raking, painting, sorting, supervising children’s groups, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Greeters </li></ul><ul><li>Distribute & manage supplies </li></ul><ul><li>Pass out water, snacks, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Plan a kick off reception </li></ul><ul><li>Serve as guides and runners </li></ul><ul><li>Video or take pictures </li></ul><ul><li>Capture volunteer quotes </li></ul><ul><li>Safety Ambassador </li></ul>
    20. 20. Supplies <ul><li>Determine what supplies, materials, goods and services you need </li></ul><ul><li>Strategize about types and amounts </li></ul><ul><li>Think about partners and local groups/ businesses that can provide resources at no cost </li></ul><ul><li>Note supplies that will need to be purchased </li></ul>
    21. 21. PLAN FOR. . . Orientation and Training
    22. 22. Create Timelines <ul><li>Project planning </li></ul><ul><li>Day of project </li></ul><ul><li>After project </li></ul>
    23. 23. Plan for Reflection
    24. 24. Plan for Evaluation <ul><li>Goal-based : Did you meet the goals of the project? </li></ul><ul><li>Process-based : Was the project planned, managed and implemented effectively? </li></ul><ul><li>Outcome-based : Did you achieve the objectives of the project? </li></ul>
    25. 25. 4: Secure Resources
    26. 26. Volunteer Recruitment
    27. 27. Funding, Products and Services <ul><li>Faith groups </li></ul><ul><li>Foundations </li></ul><ul><li>Neighborhood associations and civic groups </li></ul><ul><li>Nonprofits </li></ul><ul><li>Businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Colleges and universities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sororities & Fraternities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Professional organizations </li></ul>
    28. 28. Connections that Count <ul><li>Start with people you know </li></ul><ul><li>Ask people you know to engage their friends </li></ul><ul><li>Talk personally with people to “sell” your project </li></ul><ul><li>Know what you need and ask people how they can contribute </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to tap people’s emotions </li></ul><ul><li>Try creative outreach </li></ul>
    29. 29. 5: Finalize the Project Plan <ul><li>Address questions </li></ul><ul><li>Finalize plans </li></ul><ul><li>Meet with leaders </li></ul><ul><li>Review the schedule </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss documentation </li></ul><ul><li>Confirm all supplies </li></ul><ul><li>Provide food and drinks </li></ul><ul><li>Make any final calls </li></ul><ul><li>Pack a project kit </li></ul><ul><li>Check on trash containers </li></ul><ul><li>Create a fun atmosphere </li></ul><ul><li>Check, double-check and triple-check! </li></ul>
    30. 30. Communicating with Volunteers <ul><li>Pre-register volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Provide important project details </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Logistics such as date, time, address, public transportation and/or parking information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What to wear or not wear </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What to bring and what will be provided </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where to check-in at the project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Point of contact </li></ul></ul>
    31. 31. Safety <ul><li>Review project for possible hazards </li></ul><ul><li>Consider parking, access to water and restrooms </li></ul><ul><li>Provide for accessibility issues. </li></ul><ul><li>Know where emergency exits, first aid kits and automated external defibrillators (AED’s) are located </li></ul><ul><li>Have a phone to call first responders if necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Keep contact information handy. </li></ul>
    32. 32. Contingency Planning <ul><li>Think through the worst-case scenarios of what could go wrong </li></ul><ul><li>Create contingency plans for weather and other potential problems </li></ul><ul><li>Prepare ways to expand or reduce project goals due to number of volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Know whom to contact in case of problems </li></ul>
    33. 33. DISCUSSION <ul><li>Form small groups </li></ul><ul><li>Review the Program Planning “Fact Sheet” that has been provided. </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss past projects in which something went wrong. Which of the project planning steps were missed or otherwise apply to the situation? </li></ul><ul><li>Did you have a contingency plan and, if so, how did it work? </li></ul><ul><li>What could you do differently next time you face this problem? </li></ul>
    34. 34. Summary <ul><li>Questions, Feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Please complete and return your evaluation form. Your input is appreciated. </li></ul><ul><li>Thank You for your participation </li></ul>