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Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers


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Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers

  1. 1. The OSM/VISTA Teams Appalachian Coal Country Team Western Hardrock Watershed Team
  2. 2. Appalachian Coal Country Team ACCT PA, OH, MD, WV, VA, KY, TN, AL Western Hardrock Watershed Team WHWT CO and NM
  3. 3. “Volunteers for Rural Watersheds” Research Project o 3-year research project o Seek to develop tools and resources to make volunteerism work better for rural community/watershed groups o Started in Summer 2008 o Funding from EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds (OWOW) to explore: o Who are volunteers and what services do they provide? o What are the most effective ways to manage volunteers? o Why and where are these strategies successful? o How can we get these findings and effective strategies into the hands of as many people as possible? Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers
  4. 4. Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers Project Overview • Phase 1: Collected and analyzed survey data from volunteer base of 16 organizations • Phase 2: Identified 25 volunteer management practices being done successfully by rural groups; transplanted and documented trial practices for one year • Phase 3: Outreach and dissemination of information through workshops, workbook, website, webinars, etc.
  5. 5. Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers Phase 1: Volunteer Surveys Survey asked: • How did these rural watershed volunteers get involved with their organizations? • What are some of their personal characteristics? • What capacity do they serve for their respective organizations and communities? • How might they be further engaged in volunteer activities in the future? • Practical issues such as volunteer availability and provision for follow-up interviews.
  6. 6. Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers What we learned: A "typical” volunteer for a rural watershed group: – Adult (average 50 years old) – Married (65%) with children (63%) – Employed full-time (49%) – Has bachelor’s degree (39%) – Making between $20,000 and $39,000 per year – Residing within the watershed (area served by organization)
  7. 7. Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers What we learned: • 70% of volunteers had friends who were part of the organization prior to participation • Became involved in organization through a friend involved with the watershed group (36%) or through a family member involved with the watershed group (18%).
  8. 8. Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers What we learned: – Are highly involved in local organizations, most commonly: a conservation organization (48%); a church-affiliated group (46%); a civic or political organization (44%). – Report high civic engagement: • 90% voted in the 2008 presidential election • 82% voted in a local election in 2006 or 2007 • 79% voted in the primary election • 63% contacted a member of Congress or state legislature for any reason • 51% contacted a local government official about a policy issue
  9. 9. Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers Phase 2: Testing Volunteer Management Practices • Designed to identify successful volunteer management practices then monitor application by other organizations – Found practices or strategies being used with success by other organizations within the ACCT/WHWT – Transplanted 25 successful practices to the participating organizations that need them – Documented successes and challenges for 1 year
  10. 10. Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers 25 Volunteer Management Practices • Skills/needs spreadsheet for board recruitment • Partnership with ATV groups • Church partnerships • Business partnerships • Mandatory service volunteers • Community service volunteers • Student athlete volunteers • Bi-monthly outreach meetings • One-hour board meetings • Volunteer contributions to newsletter • Development of youth advisory board • Formation of youth helper organization • Wild and Scenic Film Festival • Service learning projects • Retired and Senior Volunteer Program • Providing transportation • Water monitoring through partnerships • Water monitoring with individuals • Volunteer appreciation picnic • Constructing a rain garden • Constructing wetlands • Duck race • 5k race • Adopt-a-stream • Fish fry
  11. 11. 5k Race The Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team (ACCWT) An OSM/VISTA Initiative
  12. 12. Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers Phase 3: Create and share rural volunteer management resources – Distillation of all research into Toolkit workbook and website – Not just research but worksheets, checklists, etc for overall volunteer management process – Share on local, state, regional, and national level – Create and conduct training around Toolkit
  13. 13. Toolkit for Working with Rural Volunteers
  14. 14. Website Amber Hendrickson (304)252-4848 x 310