Volunteer Resources

Volunteerism: A Tradition of Giving and Receiving
“Do all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are.”
-- Nkosi Johnson, a Zulu boy

 
Each day in communities throughout Coos, Grafton, and Sullivan Counties and the Monadnock Region people of all ages engage in voluntary activities. They are family members, neighbors, friends, professionals, business and civic leaders. Their personal contributions fill important needs, enrich their individual lives, and enhance every facet of life in this western region of New Hampshire.

Some choose to help in an informal way whenever they can – joining friends to clean up a park or playground; checking in on elderly neighbors; mowing a lawn or doing errands for a friend that needs help.
 


Others enjoy the structure, support and teamwork of a community volunteer program, congregation, or other community service group that prepares and matches them with volunteer opportunities in the broader community.

Whatever their individual preferences, their services create networks of support in their communities and deepen their sense of connection and belonging.

Are There Other Benefits to Volunteering?

YES!! And here are just a few . . .

  • It promotes your overall health and well-being.
  • It helps you learn new skills and meet new people.
  • It strengthens your community.
  • It fills important needs that might otherwise go unmet.
  • It offers the joy of knowing you are making a difference.
  • It mobilizes and inspires others.

How Can I Find A Volunteer Opportunity That Is Right For Me?

First, think about what interests you and what you enjoy. What do you care about? Are there skills you would you like to learn or experiences you would like to have? How much time can you offer? Once you have thought about these general questions, you can start to explore the kinds of volunteer opportunities in your community that seem to be a fit for you.

Community organizations welcome inquiries about their volunteer opportunities. Many list their opportunities on websites, newsletters, bulletins and in local newspapers. Two websites that list volunteer positions by zip code are: www.volunteermatch.org or www.volunteersolutions.org . Your local United Way also posts volunteer opportunities that can be accessed on-line at www.graniteuw.org . These on-line resources give potential volunteers a good description of each opportunity and a way to contact the host organization for additional information and personal follow-up.

Volunteer Centers in your area will also be able to lead you to local volunteer opportunities.

In Coos County - Coos County RSVP
(603) 752-4103 - rsvp@ncia.net

In Grafton County and Sullivan Counties - RSVP and the Volunteer Center
1-877-711-7787 - rsvp@gcscc.org

In the Monadnock Region - RSVP and the Monadnock Volunteer Center
(603) 352-2088 - rsvp@mfs.org


Will I Need To Be Interviewed and Screened?

If you choose to help informally – on your own – you will not need to be interviewed or screened. The people you’ll help are those you know and who know you – family, friends and neighbors – people with whom you already have a relationship of friendship and trust. As an informal volunteer that is not part of an organized program, however, you may not have the some of the benefits and protections (training, on-going guidance, and volunteer insurance coverage) that you would receive as part of a formal program.

When joining a formal community volunteer program, you will most likely be interviewed and screened (usually involving a check of your personal references, any history of criminal convictions, and your driving record if you will be transporting people.) These practices help ensure that both volunteers and those they serve have safe experiences.

Where Can I Learn More About Volunteering?

Click on the links below to read more about the benefits of volunteering:

Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits

Why Volunteering Is Important  

Volunteering: Why Should I Do It?

Volunteering in the United States: Where We Stand
 

Choosing To Become A Family Caregiver Support Volunteer
“The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.”
-- Ethel Percy Andrus

 
We are an aging society that wants to remain independent in our own communities and at home. For some, changes that come with aging or with disabilities bring with them the need for extra help to stay at home: transportation, errands and household chores; mail and finances; medications and medical appointments, meal preparation and personal care.

Many families throughout western New Hampshire are providing that assistance on a daily basis performing tasks that their loved ones cannot manage for themselves. Although the typical family caregiver spends about 20 hours a week in their helping role, they may not view themselves as caregivers. They are people who are “doing the right thing” and finding satisfaction in being there for people they love. Many are balancing their family member’s needs with busy work schedules and other family responsibilities. Over time, the personal cost of their caregiving can become evident – as exhaustion, illness or injury, stress, financial pressures, guilt, and depression.

As increasing numbers of people continue to live longer lives, they will depend even more on the help of their families – spouses, partners, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors – for their daily needs.

And, in turn, family caregivers will also need the help of friends, neighbors and other caring members of the community to provide care over the long-term, to maintain their own health, and to keep their social connections.

By volunteering to help a family caregiver, you can become a vital part that caregiver’s support network. Through your encouragement and hands-on help, you enhance the caregiver’s ability to provide care for their relative. And through your friendship, you become a new source of support with whom to share the joys and challenges of family caregiving. It’s good for both of you!

What Kinds of Help Can I Provide?

Typically the kinds of assistance that family caregivers find most helpful include:
  • Doing errands or shopping
  • Providing rides to appointments
  • Helping with household chores or yard work
  • Making visits or calls to provide friendship and encouragement
  • Staying with the family member for a few hours while the caregiver takes a break

The specific help provided is usually determined by what family caregivers feel they need and can accept, how often they need it, and what volunteers are able to provide. Some volunteers help out several times a week while others may connect once a month.

You can also help by making a financial contribution to a special fund that helps family caregivers with certain costs of caring for a family member at home – supplies, home modifications, and respite services.

To make a donation, please contact your local ServiceLink Resource Center office.

  In Coos County
In Grafton County
In Sullivan County
In the Monadnock Region
  (603) 752-6407
(603) 448-1835
(603) 542-5177
(603) 357-1922

How Can I Connect With Family Caregivers In My Area?

It may be as simple as looking within your own circle of family, friends and neighbors. Is someone else in your family taking the primary responsibility for care of a relative? Do you have an elderly neighbor whose family caregiver lives in another town or state? Do you have a friend who is struggling to balance care of a spouse or parent with the demands of work and other family responsibilities?

Reaching out to family, friends, and neighbors and asking, “How can I help?” is a good first step.

To connect with family caregivers in the broader community, you may be interested in becoming part of an organized effort - through a service club, congregational outreach, volunteer program – or an educational or social service agency with a community service component. Your local ServiceLink Resource Center will also be glad to help with additional suggestions.

Where Can I Learn More About Family Caregiver Issues?

There are many good websites that offer information about family caregiving and supports for caregivers. Here are links to several of them:

www.aarp.org
American Association of Retired Persons website

www.agenet.com
Information on support and caregivers.

www.alz.org
Alzheimer’s Association website

www.aoa.gov
Administration on Aging website.

www.caregiver.org
Family Caregiver Alliance website

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Strengthening Community Supports for Family Caregivers:
Tips and Tools for Organizing Volunteer Efforts
"I believe in the spirit of sharing and I believe we are what we are because of those around us." -- Maasi Tribal Saying

 
There are many different groups and organizations throughout our communities that share a common purpose of service to others: civic groups and clubs, schools, volunteer groups, churches and other non-profit organizations that make up the streams of service in western New Hampshire.

Some groups may be informally organized and run entirely by volunteers. Others utilize a more formal program structure and usually employ a director and/or volunteer coordinator to manage all aspects of the volunteer program.
 


If you a part of a group interested in organizing help for family caregivers in your area, this section may be of interest to you. It offers a variety of tips and tools for creating or strengthening a volunteer initiative. The materials have been developed, used and shared by a variety of community volunteer programs to assist other groups with these steps:
 Identifying Areas of Volunteer Supports Needed by Family Caregivers
 

Learn all you can about family caregiver needs by connecting with agencies in your area (United Way, Red Cross, ServiceLink resource center, home health agencies, hospitals, congregational outreach programs and other volunteer efforts). Ask about unmet caregiver needs they have observed or surveys they may have conducted. Caregiver support groups are another good source of information. Join a local networking group interested in family caregiving issues.

While unmet needs may be different in each community, the most common include:
     
  Transportation
Respite
Light housekeeping and chore services
Getting information about services 
 

 Locating Family Caregivers in Need of Volunteer Supports
 
Once you have determined what needs your volunteer group will address, continue to network with the community agencies listed above. Many serve or communicate with family caregivers frequently and will be able to refer them to your volunteer service.

Click on titles for tips:

Identifying Caregivers in Need of Supports

Tell Us About You! A Congregational Survey
 Describing the Types of Volunteer Roles Needed to Meet Service Goals
 
Most volunteers say they are interested in knowing that they are making a difference in some way. Volunteers are capable of significant contributions especially when they know that their efforts support goals they care about. Identify what you need from volunteers: skills, abilities, qualities, availability and time commitment as well as any benefits like training, insurance protection, etc. and include these in a description that also outlines the duties involved with each volunteer role.

Good volunteer service descriptions become valuable recruiting tools that help potential volunteers understand the nature of the work and the supports available to them.

Click on title for sample service description:

Caregiver Support Volunteer – Chore Services
 Recruiting Volunteers
 
Experience has shown that a personal approach is best. People want to be asked!

Click on titles for recruiting tips:

The Basics of Recruiting Volunteers
Ways To Encourage Volunteering
Recruiting Volunteers in Your Congregation

You may also want to use an on-line recruiting tool like Volunteer Solutions to post your opportunities. Visit Volunteer NH’s website at www.volunteernh.org and look for the link called “Register Your Volunteer Opportunities Now” and follow the directions for posting opportunities. You can also receive assistance in registering if needed.
 Interviewing and Screening Potential Volunteers
 
It is important to get a sense of a potential volunteer’s interests and motivations early in the process. An interview provides a way for both the program and the potential volunteer to see if it is a good match and then to move forward with the application process.

Click on titles for related tools:

Tips For Interviewing Potential Volunteers
Sample Volunteer Interview Form
Sample Volunteer Application Form

At the conclusion of the interview, if both the interviewer and the interviewee are comfortable in moving forward, permission to begin the screening process can be requested. The volunteer would begin an application form which would ask for signed permission to check personal references and request checks of criminal background and any history of abuse of a child or adult.

Screening volunteers is essential to promoting the safety of all volunteers and the people they serve. For more information about types of screenings and to download the appropriate request forms, please see the link below.

Click on title for links to forms:

Recommended Volunteer Screening Checks
 Matching the Right Volunteer with the Right Assignment
 
From the information gained through the personal interview and the application process, a potential volunteer’s interests, skills and time availability will help determine the most appropriate placement in the program.

Sometimes a volunteer will want to experience an orientation before deciding what role they are comfortable with. Consider the person(s) to be served as well in determining a match.

After a volunteer has been matched, follow-up with both the volunteer and the person served see how things are going and make adjustments as needed. It is also important to realize that volunteers may want to change roles after a time. The willingness to change a volunteer’s assignment can often mean the difference between retaining or losing a valuable volunteer.

Keeping volunteer matches, work schedules and assignments updated and coordinated has become easier with a new software technology called “rostering.” This allows leaders and volunteers immediate access to scheduling updates and functions on-line.

Click on the link to read one company’s description:

http://www.therota.com/noauth/welcome.aspx

(There are other developers as well that can be found by searching the Internet for “Rostering Software”)
 Orienting and Training Volunteers
 
Orientation is a must for all volunteers. It provides additional depth about the program, its missions and the role of volunteers. It is a time to make volunteers clearly aware of the policies and procedures that will guide the way they carry out their service. Usually, volunteers are then asked to sign their service agreement acknowledging their understanding of and willingness to abide by the program policies and procedures.

Click on titles for orientation tools:

Sample Orientation Agenda
Sample Volunteer Policies and Safe Practices
Sample Confidentiality Agreement for Volunteers

Training topics provide specific knowledge to increase volunteers’ understanding of the issues like aging and family caregiving. Specific skill training can be tailored to match the duties of each volunteer role. (For example: active listening skills and safe transfer)

Involve community partners in helping to plan and deliver volunteer training. Call your local ServiceLink office for additional ideas, training options and referrals to community agencies.

Click on titles for related tools:

Planning Steps for Volunteer Training
Ideas for Locating Training Resources

Caring to Help Others is a comprehensive training manual for preparing volunteers to assist caregivers of older adults and the complete manual is available on-line at:
http://www.caringtohelpothers.com/html/index.htm
 Providing Support for Volunteers
 
Regular communication with volunteers is important. Volunteers need to know that support is available when they encounter a difficult or confusing situation. They need to be able to get and give feedback. Check in personally with your volunteers on a regular basis to see how they are doing. Be sure to express appreciation for their work.

Volunteer also appreciate knowing there is back-up for vacations or when personal needs arise suddenly. They also enjoy periodic contact with fellow volunteers to share experiences and a sense of teamwork.
 Recognizing and Appreciating Volunteers
 
Volunteers also need to know that their contributions are valued and appreciated. Recognition is more than an annual event. It is a daily mind-set of appreciation demonstrated in small but meaningful ways.

Click on titles for tips:

Tips for Recognizing and Appreciating Volunteers

 Managing Risk
 
Managing risk is the process of taking all the reasonable steps you can to reduce exposure to serious incidents that could severely impact a volunteer initiative. A well-planned and managed program is the foundation for sound risk management.

Having a clear, stated purpose for your volunteer program; service descriptions that clarify roles and responsibilities; careful screening procedures; clear policies; and adequate orientation and training components are all important safeguards.

In addition, be sure that your organization is in compliance with incorporation and tax exemption laws, labor laws, fundraising laws, and lobbying laws.

Finally, all volunteer programs should be protected with an insurance policy that covers their volunteers. This coverage usually includes personal liability and excess automobile liability to augment the private automobile insurance coverage that the volunteer must carry.

Click on title for related tips:

10 Tips for Managing Your Volunteer Program’s Risks

Click on links for more information about volunteer program insurance:
http://www.nonprofitrisk.org/library/articles/insurance052004.shtml
(Article about insurance for volunteer programs)

http://www.cimaworld.com/htdocs/volunteers.cfm
(Volunteer Insurance Provider)

 Links To State Level Volunteer Resources
 
www.volunteernh.org
A nonprofit organization with a mission to promote the tradition of service in New Hampshire. Building on that strong volunteer spirit, we support and sponsor national service initiatives and provide training, recognition, and a central site for volunteers and volunteer programs to help them strengthen their communities. In partnership with United Way, sponsors Volunteer Solutions a searchable website linking potential volunteers with programs that need them.

www.nhava.org - NH Association of Volunteer Administrators
A source of timely, result oriented information, best practice resources, and networking opportunities for leaders of volunteer programs
 Links To National Volunteer Resources
 
www.archrespite.org
The mission of the ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center is to assist and promote the development of quality respite and crisis care programs in the United States; to help families locate respite and crisis care services in their communities; and to serve as a strong voice for respite in all forums.

www.pointsoflight.org
Points of Light Institute embraces service and civic engagement as fundamental to a purposeful life and essential to a healthy world. Operates three dynamic business units that share a vision: the HandsOn Network, MissionFish, and The Civic Incubator.

www.nationalservice.gov
The Corporation is the nation’s largest grantmaker supporting service and volunteering. Through its Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America programs, it provides opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to express their patriotism while addressing critical community needs.
 
 
 
 

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Monadnock Service Link
Resource Center
603.357.1922
Sullivan County Service Link
Resource Center
603.542.5177
Grafton County Service Link
Resource Center
603.448.1558
Coos County Service Link
Resource Center
603.752.6407
 

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