In its 2012 Call for What’s Working, The Aging Network’s Volunteer Collaborative invited organizations to share their useful tips for building strong volunteer programs and selected 13 honorees.
Now you can create their programs! Below are 13 replication guides. Use them to implement a program or a variation at your organization.
The 25 members of the RSVP Advisory Council play not just an active role, but also 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.
Knox County RSVP Program Management • Generations • Vincennes, IN
Breakfast Shoppe is a Monday through Friday 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 cleanup.
Ye Olde Breakfast Shoppe • Rochester Council on Aging • Rochester, MA
This best practice was a result of two RSVP volunteers’ efforts to make nourishing meals available during the summer months to school children. The focus is on children who depend on the free/reduced-price school meals for their primary nutrition during the school year.
Kids Eat – FREE • Concho Valley RSVP • San Angelo, TX
At Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey, the focus has been on appealing to baby boomer volunteers by respecting and tapping into their professional skills and abilities. The goal has been to open up opportunities to include special projects and leadership roles rather than the historically pre-determined, often more-rigid roles.
Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey • Toms River, NJ
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.
Gatekeeper Program • Multnomah Aging & Disability Services • Portland, OR
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+.
Friends in School Helping (FISH) • Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) • Charlottesville, VA
Three county agencies of northern Virginia who are 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.
Fairfax County AAA • Fairfax, VA
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 its volunteer corps. The effort doubled the number of volunteers.
Louisiana Senior Medicare Patrol • eQHealth Solutions • Baton Rouge, LA
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.
Erie County RSVP • Erie County Department of Senior Services • Buffalo, NY
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.
COVE Savvy Seniors • Community of Vermont Elders • Berlin, 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!
Volunteers Win • Area Agency on Aging for Northeastern Vermont • St. Johnsbury, VT
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 fifth anniversary of the show this May.
Livin’ the Good Life Cable Access Show • Beverly Council on Aging and Senior Community Center • Beverly, MA
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.
Comprehensive Volunteer Handbook Strengthens the Foundation of a Volunteer Program • Loudoun County AAA • Loudoun County, VA