Heather Comstock Connects

Helping nonprofits and other volunteer organizations develop strong relationships and a clear voice in the community.

Epic Adventures and Random Thoughts

A picture of me taking a picture in the Painted Desert! (c) 2014 H. Comstock

A picture of me taking a picture in the Painted Desert! (c) 2014 H. Comstock

After a miserable, cold winter, summer’s heat and humidity are well set-in here in the mid-Atlantic! I’ve been off having adventures and full blog posts are hard to come by. Here’s a roundup of some of the random things that have been on my mind the last month or so!

Do you really know what your volunteers are doing or what they need to succeed? I have never met an organization that didn’t need volunteer labor of some kind but with the exception of organizations built on a model of utilizing volunteers for service delivery, most of us do a miserable job with volunteer management.

Pointless, duplicated efforts – I was speaking with a friend who had begun volunteering to help clean an organization’s facility. As she began helping it became clear there was no coordination of responsibilities. The organization had an outside cleaning company coming in but beyond a few specific tasks, nobody knew what the cleaners did. She also discovered that another volunteer came in to vacuum later in the week. She felt like her efforts were useless when others were duplicating the same effort. What was the point?

Wasting volunteer time – My time is precious so don’t waste it and I know I am not alone. One organization relies heavily on volunteers a couple of times a year. There are so many moving parts and it is very difficult to coordinate and anticipate how the event will go. That said, there winds up being a lot of down time waiting for supplies, no clear directions, too many people in one location and a shortage in another,  and lots of individuals wandering in and out with contradictory information. Volunteers get frustrated when they come out prepared to work and they spend the majority of the time waiting.

The new IRS 1023 Application – I haven’t yet had a chance to catch up on the newly announced application process that is supposed to smaller, easier, faster and ONLINE! I am looking forward to setting aside some time to investigate the resources that go along with the announcement. I am excited at the prospect that my entire How to Start a Nonprofit Series will need to be redone or scrapped completely.

And here’s a couple of interesting links:

The Founding Fathers Write a Grant Proposal from Blue Avocado was an enjoyable Independence Day read.

Getting your board more involved in a meaningful way is something every organization struggles to accomplish. I rather enjoyed Will Folsom’s take on board recruitment in “Board of the Rings: Assembling an Epic Board to Save Your NPO (or Maybe Middle Earth) over at Nonprofit Hub.

What about you? Have you been tracking anything interesting or confronting your pet peeves? Or have you been off having epic adventures? Tell me about them in the comments!



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