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Fighting Hunger Together: Recruit & Engage Volunteers in SNAP Outreach


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One of the most effective ways to fight hunger is to ensure that your clients are enrolled in federal assistance programs. Mobilizing volunteers to assist with your SNAP outreach (formerly the food stamp program) is not only a great way to help meet your mission, but it's also rewarding for your volunteers. In this webinar we'll cover the steps for recruiting, training and managing volunteers in SNAP outreach. Sample position descriptions and recruitment plans will be provided. If you aren't yet engaging volunteers in this way, or if your looking for some new ideas - this session is for you.

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Fighting Hunger Together: Recruit & Engage Volunteers in SNAP Outreach

  1. 1. Engage Volunteers in SNAP Outreach To hear this presentation by phone dial (702) 489-0008 Access Code: 431-436-165 Jennifer Bennett, CVA, Senior Manager, Education & Training Matt Wallace, Senior Associate, Nonprofit Relations Follow the conversation on Twitter! Use #VMLearn
  2. 2. 2 VolunteerMatch Overview “VolunteerMatch strengthens communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect.” 94,518 nonprofits… 78,350 Active Opportunities…. 7,080,351 referrals since 1998 • VolunteerMatch has been around for 14 years, and is the top-ranked website for online volunteer recruitment and employee-volunteer programs • Our Learning Center offers over 20 webinar topics focused on volunteer management and VolunteerMatch tools, serving an audience of over 6,000 attendees each year
  3. 3. VolunteerMatch & Walmart: Fighting Hunger Together What are our goals? • Support nonprofit organizations that are working to end hunger in local communities. • Provide hunger relief organizations with the resources they need to deploy, manage and expand their volunteer engagement program. • Support, train and share best practices for engaging volunteers, and creating a multi-faceted relationship with volunteers – donors, advocates. • Increase visibility of the need for volunteers at hunger relief organizations. 3
  4. 4. Agenda • SNAP – What does that mean? • Who would be good at SNAP outreach • Recruiting SNAP volunteers • Creating a training and support program •Things to think about •Questions
  5. 5. What is SNAP? Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program • Used to be called “food stamps” • Now an EBT card – like a debit card • Funded by Congress, implemented by each state • Funding currently threatened by passage of House farm bill • Each state has their own application/process – may be delegated to county level • Learn more
  6. 6. The history of SNAP • Food assistance started in the Great Depression, was resurrected during Johnson’s presidency and grew through the 70s. • In the early 80s food stamps (and welfare) received significant cut backs and by the mid 80s food insecurity was wide spread again. • Became SNAP in 2008 now 47.8 Million people receive benefits
  7. 7. Why focus on SNAP outreach? SNAP outreach and enrollment activities can • Provide your current clients with more consistent support. • Free up support for emergency needs • Shift the work volunteers do from stop-gap work to a more long term solution • Provide new opportunities for volunteers • Create a different type of relationship with your clients and community • SNAP outreach concerns • Suspicion from clients • Has been an entry point for scams/identity theft • May be viewed negatively by community
  8. 8. The right volunteers • Who are the right people? • Comfortable with clients or target community • Engaging – able to create relationships or break down barriers • Logical and detail oriented • Capable of knowing what they don’t know • Calm in difficult situations or under pressure • Who are they? • Lawyers, law students, legal professionals • Social workers, accountants, HR professionals • Individuals with the rights skills and characteristics
  9. 9. What should they know how to do? • Activities and responsibilities • Approaching clients and building rapport • Understanding and explaining SNAP program and eligibility • Filling out forms correctly and finding answers and information on government sites •Know the policies in your state/county • May need to register or apply as an organization • Applications for individuals may be done online • Stay up to date on changes in eligibility or application processes
  10. 10. Create the right training • Two primary components • Interacting with clients and understanding the qualifications and filling out the forms • Interacting with clients • Ask clients to share their feelings, concerns. • Ask volunteers to “walk in client’s shoes” • Role play and create mentors or shadow relationships • Consider teams – experienced/new, engaging/analytical
  11. 11. Create the right training • Know the eligibility/know the forms • Create support materials and in person/online trainings • Create job aids or just in time training materials – Web page or wiki with quick links • Review before volunteers meet clients – don’t forget… • Make sure volunteers know who to call if they can’t solve a problem/answer a question on their own
  12. 12. Things to Think About • If this is a different type of volunteer engagement for your organization • Consider a pilot program • Set reasonable, accomplishable goals • Create an internal and external communication plan • Create evaluation points – early and often • Evaluate from both the client and staff prospective – both paid and volunteer • Stay up to date on changes or policies that affect this work • In your community and state/federal actions
  13. 13. 13 Resources Fighting Hunger Together Learning Center Find upcoming webinar dates, how-to videos and more VolunteerMatch Community Ask and answer questions after the webinar – use keywords Fighting Hunger Together, Volunteer Management Questions?
  14. 14. 14 Thanks for attending! Join us online: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: @VolunteerMatch Visit Engaging Volunteers, our nonprofit blog: For any questions contact: Jennifer Bennett (415) 321-3639