Volunteer Maryland’s mission is to build stronger, healthier communities by developing volunteer programs with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and schools. Within the last twenty years, 612 VM participants designed effective and sustainable volunteer management systems at rural, urban, school, faith-based, secular, and community-based agencies.
AmeriCorps members and organization staff undergo intensive training to prepare them for service, enabling them to support one another during service and to sustain efforts in the following years. For little cost to the organization, AmeriCorps members provide a short term infusion of energy and resources, building organizational capacity, generating volunteers, and creating volunteer programs that can be sustained for years.
The tips for success is the use of intensive training to site staff, where they have three full day training sessions and up to five, one hour webinars. Volunteer Maryland provides this training and helps those involved to understand the return on investment of effective volunteer management, the cost of the volunteer, and the benefits of utilizing volunteers well. They also work with the Governor’s Office and various other AmeriCorps programs to help foster collaboration. All the training and efforts are built around the best practices for volunteerism called the Cycle of Volunteer Program Development. It provides a three phase process: big picture (vision), foundation building, and implementation. AmeriCorps members are thoroughly trained on these best practices and the twenty elements of the cycle, where they can then tailor this knowledge to fit the needs of the organizations they are helping.
To learn more about this program, go to pages 74-75 of Transforming Communities Through Service Publication.