Frequently asked questions
Each organization contains a range of potential target audiences for the Everyone Ready program and Energize provides material for as many of these as possible.
- Frontline supervisors of volunteers (people who hold many different jobs but come in contact with volunteers on a day-to-day basis) at all levels.
- Those with supervisory skills already (with employees).
- Those who do not supervise other employees.
- Affiliate or branch directors – who need to know how to support volunteers and maintain the national standards.
- Middle management: department heads, unit supervisors, and others who will have volunteers within their area of work and have to support the frontline people who are the supervisors of volunteers.
- Boards of directors – not for generic boardsmanship topics (though needed, too!), but on how to govern the volunteer-related aspects of the national and local levels.
- Staff on the national, regional, or state level who act as consultants to local people on volunteer issues (once removed, but need to be knowledgeable).
- Key leadership volunteers who may be project leaders, committee chairs, fundraising chairs, etc.
- Anyone in the system charged with being a coordinator of volunteers.
Everyone Ready introduces everyone to the many topics and issues involved in being successful with volunteers, and it provides motivation and structure to continue their learning while managing all the other parts of their jobs.
The Everyone Ready featured resources introduce the most important topics and issues involved in being successful with volunteers. We aim to offer core information for people who may not have considered the topic in a formal way. But we also direct learners to even more resources (e.g., Ask Your Question area, published books, online articles, and other Web sites), allowing more experienced people to take their learning to a deeper level.
For those new to working with volunteers, Everyone Ready is a starting point for developing the wide range of skills needed.
More experienced leaders of volunteers will undoubtedly find many new ideas to spark their interest, as well as getting a refresher course to re-emphasize best practice. Those more advanced on a particular subject can truly make the program work for them by taking their learning to the next level by:
- Posting questions or comments to the Ask Your Question area and get our expert trainer help on whatever level needed or to explore a particular setting (e.g., hospice, museums, animal sheltering). Our experts welcome thought-provoking exchange, so it's up to the learners to take the initiative!
- Delving into the additional resources we give as a starting point…and continuing personal research.
- Engaging others in the organization in some in-depth discussion (or debate!) about any of the points raised on any topic during the year.
The basic principles of successful volunteer management are applicable to any type of volunteer engagement. The resources in this program have been field-tested with organizations in various settings including social/human services, literacy, animal protection, emergency services, healthcare – even the military! Naturally, any single seminar or guide will be of great interest to some and of less interest to others but, cumulatively, the monthly cycle of materials has proven relevant to all our members so far.
We firmly believe that the type and content of an organization’s work is not the primary issue in volunteer management training. All of our members share these characteristics or objectives:
- Operations widely scattered across the country at many sites, yet the need to have some national consistency in the vision for and approach to volunteer involvement
- Very few local people designated (and trained) to be “directors of volunteer resources,” so that the majority of people who are working daily with volunteers are doing so “when they can find the time” -- and without training in doing it most effectively
- Reliance on volunteers in governance (whether boards of directors or advisory) and usually in fundraising – often without linking this level of volunteer to the issues of any volunteer involvement throughout the organization
- Interest in building support, advocacy, and revenue for the work of the organization, yet not always seeing the connection of volunteer “service” (frontline) to community resource building (or seeing it, but not knowing how to act on it to move from fundraising to people or friend raising as a mindset)
- Desire to expand the scope of volunteer roles and participants to: 1) be more creative; 2) attract a high caliber of volunteer; and 3) tap into 21st century service models such as virtual volunteering, micro-volunteering, new pro bono initiatives, service-learning, etc.
In other words, the mindset and skills of volunteer management are generic, not agency-based. The ideal way to use the Everyone Ready resources is to allow us to introduce new concepts and best practices that work everywhere – in order to start people thinking and talking – and then you add whatever you wish to make each topic most meaningful to you. No off-the-shelf training will ever do it all for you, of course. So that’s why we emphasize the role of the Point Person in “translating” each topic to your specifics.
We have selected a wide range of topics with universal interest. Because we are especially concerned with learners new to the field and for whom managing volunteers is only part of their job, we present the material as an introduction or overview. We then direct you to even more resources to delve deeper into the subject for full analysis and consideration.
Everyone Ready Online Seminars and Self-Instruction Guides are eligible ways to earn Professional Development Units (PDUs) toward recertification for the Certified in Volunteer Administration (CVA) credential.
For those in healthcare, "documentation of content hours" may count toward recertification under AHVRP (formerly ASDVS). Other credentialing organizations may also accept Everyone Ready contact hours as credits towards continuing education requirements, so check with your credentialing organization to see if they qualify.
Each Online Seminar and Self-Instruction Guide is worth 1.5 contact hours. A certificate of completion is available for each featured topic after you complete an evaluation survey.
The most common obstacle to full use of the Everyone Ready resources is lack of time -- or the perceived lack of time. While we recognize how busy most organization staff are and empathize with the time pressures, we also believe that time spent on training ends up making everyone more efficient and effective. Further, in this case, learning how to bring great volunteers on board can only lead to more hands and heads to doing the work.
We advise our members to respond to hearing "I just don't have the time" from their prospective learners with the following suggestions:
- You can mark your calendar for the new featured topic every other month.
- Energize will send you reminders!
- All featured resources include information about and links to additional related resources, including e-Volunteerism journal articles and books from the Energize Online Bookstore (in which you now have a year-round 20% discount per purchase!).
- You can sign up to receive an e-mail when new postings are made to the Ask Your Questions area with our volunteer manager experts so that you are alerted to new exchanges.
- We encourage you to form a learning team of a few people with whom you can schedule time to do the training and discuss it. When you are doing the work with others, you have greater incentive to schedule the time each month.
Also, staff will make time for anything treated as important by their top management. So consistent positive messages from supervisors on up are important motivators in the success of Everyone Ready enrollment.
To participate in Everyone Ready, each of your learners must have the ability to:
- View online Web pages (Requires the current or previous major release of any popular browser program with the default browser settings.)
- View and download PDFs (Requires the current or previous major release of Adobe Reader - free download)
- View and listen to an online video
IT requirements are minimal as Everyone Ready is a Web-based service and all its resources live on the Energize, Inc. server.
- For Small to Mid-Sized Organization Members (up to 350 learners), there is no IT staff involvement at your end at all, since your authorized learners log into Everyone Ready through a password-protected portal on our site.
- For Large and National Organization Members, access to Everyone Ready starts on your organization’s own Web site; then users are seamlessly moved to our server. Here is what is required on your end:
- Learners must access the program either through a password-access-only area of your site or Energize can provide a password-protected area on the Energize server.
- Your IT staff will need to add some coding on your server to pass users to our servers where your users will access the full Everyone Ready program.
In all cases, Energize will work with your IT staff to make sure the process is as smooth as possible. Our experience with the various current member organizations' IT staff has been very positive in implementing these systems.
Everyone Ready is an ongoing program, operating on a recurring cycle of 36 bi-monthly topics. Organizations may enroll at any time, but will join the cycle in progress. Because new Featured Topics are introduced every other month, we recommend that a new member open accessibility to its learners on the same calendar.
For Large Organization Members, It generally takes two months to activate organizational membership, though we will work with you if you wish to begin more quickly. Once you have decided to enroll and we have countersigned a contract, these are the steps:
- Energize works with your IT department to set up access to the program for all your users.
- We orient your Point Person and prepare them to market and support participation in the program. We help with strategies and provide tools to create “buzz” for the launch.
- Your Everyone Ready main page opens to your network, with the current Featured Topic and access to the entire Learning Center.
For Small to Mid-Sized Organization Members, it can take less time to activate access as there is no need to involve your IT staff.
Yes, there is an individual membership option. Individual members participate in the Featured Topic which changes every other month, but do not have access to the full Learning Center.
Everyone Ready was designed in the belief that everyone within an organization should be prepared to work with volunteers, which is why the organizational memberships permit you to extend training to a variety of possible learners in your network – not simply to those staff designated as volunteer program managers.
Everyone Ready consciously tries to be as universal as possible, making sure that the recommendations and examples provided apply anywhere. While the materials are all in English, contributors come from many countries. On the faculty are trainers from Canada and Australia as well as the United States; authors of articles in e-Volunteerism come from more than twenty more countries. We always include international references in all additional resource lists.
The majority of participants in the Everyone Ready learning community (both through organizational and individual memberships) are American, but a significant percentage have come from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, and Germany.
Energize, Inc. recognizes its responsibility to develop electronic and information technology (EIT) products and services that are accessible and usable by all people, including those with disabilities and special needs. Energize is committed to making its products and services compliant with the accessibility standards of Section 508 (Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Standards, 36 C.F.R. § 1194). Our online content and services are designed to comply with the applicable accessibility standards to the maximum extent practicable.
The online learning resources of our Everyone Ready® volunteer management training program provide users with a wide variety of text and visual materials that can be accessed or downloaded to use in numerous ways, with options for learners with visual or hearing difficulties. In addition, Energize is available to respond individually to any user experiencing difficulty.