"What's Working" Webinar Series

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Beginning, Building, Sustaining

In 2012, The Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative invited organizations to submit their useful tips for building strong volunteer programs. From many entries packed with valuable knowledge, we selected 13 programs, in three categories, that have produced exceptional results and may be the most applicable to the widest range of volunteer programs.

Full List of Honorees:


  • Volunteers Win
    Area Agency on Aging for Northeastern Vermont
    St. Johnsbury, VT

The Equal Exchange TimeBank, modeled after TimeBank USA, allows members to post a need they seek to fill or search member posts to find qualified volunteers. Volunteers bank their hours served, earning “time dollars” towards a need they may have or to pass on to someone in need; everyone wins!

  • COVE Savvy Seniors
    Community of Vermont Elders
    Berlin, VT

The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) uses volunteer teams to provide statewide education, including resource information and assistance, to community members regarding health care, fraud, consumer issues and other mishaps. It was transformed from lecture format to a more-engaging theatrical format with skits and actors.

  • Kids Eat – FREE
    Concho Valley RSVP
    San Angelo, TX

Through the initiative of two RSVP volunteers, this best practice was a result of their efforts to make nourishing meals available during the summer months to school children. The focus is on children who depend on the free/reduced school meals for their primary nutrition during the school year.

  • Ye Olde Breakfast Shoppe
    Rochester Council on Aging
    Rochester, MA

Breakfast Shoppe is a Monday through Friday 7-9 a.m. Community Breakfast Program at the Rochester Senior Center run jointly by the FRIENDS of the Rochester Senior Center and Rochester Lions Club. It operates solely with volunteers who do the purchasing, cooking, serving and clean-up.

  • Knox County RSVP Program Management
    Vincennes, IN

The 25 members of the RSVP Advisory Council play not just an active role, but a vital role, in program management and serve as either a station supervisor or program coordinator. They ensure that the 300 plus RSVP volunteers have rewarding and meaningful experiences.


  • Livin’ the Good Life Cable Access Show
    Beverly Council on Aging and Senior Community Center
    Beverly, MA

Volunteers produce a monthly cable access tv show by developing topics, recruiting and vetting the guests, working the cameras and video boards and editing and producing each show. They are celebrating their 5th anniversary of the show this May.

  • Integrating Volunteer Programs
    Fairfax County AAA
    Fairfax, VA

Three county agencies of northern Virginia who are all serving older adults and adults with disabilities consolidated their volunteer programs into one strong and diverse program. With their streamlined processes and shared resources, they have developed a well-trained corps of volunteers.

Additional materials:

  • Gatekeeper Program
    Multnomah Aging & Disability Services
    Portland, OR

The Gatekeeper Program provides outreach and training to the business community and other community groups to help identify at-risk seniors and adults with disabilities, linking them to critical social and health services.

  • Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey
    Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey
    Toms River, NJ

Caregiver’s focus has been on attracting/appealing to baby boomer volunteers by respecting and tapping into their professional skills and abilities. Their goal has been to open up opportunities to include special projects and leadership roles rather than the historically pre-determined, often more-rigid roles.

  • Comprehensive Volunteer Handbook Strengthens the Foundation of a Volunteer Program
    Loudoun County AAA
    Loudoun County, VA

Loudoun County’s perspective has been that a comprehensive volunteer handbook serves as an essential guidebook in volunteer orientation. The handbook represents the agency’s mission, expectations and commitment to volunteer placement and supervision, which they have found to facilitate effective service delivery.

  • Friends in School Helping (FISH)
    Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA)
    Charlottesville, VA

Friends in Schools Helping (FISH), an intergenerational tutoring and informal mentoring program for elementary-aged students designed to help close the achievement gap, was created by JABA and is coordinated by an all-volunteer team of adults aged 50+.

  • Erie County RSVP
    Erie County Department of Senior Services
    Buffalo, NY

Through the urging of one volunteer, The University Express lifelong learning program was developed to engage highly skilled adults aged 55+ as volunteer instructors to offer free, high-quality academic classes for older adults at senior centers located throughout the county.  It also has served as an effective recruitment tool by drawing a large pool of active older adults as potential RSVP volunteers.


  • Louisiana Senior Medicare Patrol
    eQHealth Solutions
    Baton Rouge, LA

This program used newspaper “Letters to the Editor” opportunities to inform high functioning, civically engaged seniors about the Senior Medicare Patrol program and to recruit them for our volunteer corps. The effort doubled the number of volunteers.


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