Youth Impact: Starting and Strengthening Quality Programs

Overview

Welcome!

Welcome to Youth Impact! Take this course if you are interested in starting or strengthening a national service program serving youth. Key elements will help you find, prepare, and keep the right members and volunteers to work with youth.

Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify elements of successful youth-serving programs
  • Recruit and retain volunteers to work with youth
  • Access additional resources, training, and support

Begin by clicking on the name of a topic in the image above that you would like to learn more about. For example, if you need to partner with others in your community, click on "Forging Partnerships." If you'd like to enhance your in-service training, click on "Providing Ongoing Support."

You can also move through the topics in sequence using the "Next" and "Previous" buttons at the top of each page. Or go straight to the information you need using the left-hand navigation menu.

Definitions and documents referenced in each course module can be found in (respectively) the Glossary and Downloads.

What It Is

Keep these needs in mind as you recruit people to mentor and tutor youth:

  • Many youth need extra support. They may be dealing with damaged self-esteem, cognitive difficulties, emotional problems, mental health issues, behavioral problems, educational difficulties, and involvement "in the system."
  • Some youth have been disappointed or let down by the adults in their lives.
  • All volunteers who work with youth should enjoy young people and believe in their potential, be patient and persistent, communicate well, and demonstrate follow-through on their commitments.
  • Volunteers and programs need to be sensitive to youth withspecial needs and be prepared to accommodate them.

This module focuses on additional qualities to seek in volunteers who work with youth, as well as recruitment tools to find them.

What It Looks Like

Effective recruitment results in committed volunteers who produce positive outcomes for the youth they tutor or mentor. This section describes qualities to look for as you recruit volunteers.

Begin by listening to one youth describe what she likes about her adult mentor. Then, scroll down or click a link below to explore the following topics or items:

Note: Click here (PDF, 9 KB) for a PDF transcript of the audio recording.

Volunteer Qualities

When recruiting volunteers to mentor children and youth, look for:

  • Mental and emotional stability
  • Ability to accept youth “as is”
  • Empathy
  • Ability to set limits
  • Persistence
  • Advocacy
  • Experience working with youth in difficult circumstances
  • Skills for coordinating with other service providers
  • Commitment topositive youth development

When recruiting volunteers to work with youth in educational settings (tutoring and out-of-school time programs), also look for:

  • Experience in educational settings
  • Positive attitudes about schools and education
  • Specific subject knowledge, as appropriate
  • Experience working with youth
  • Understanding of child and youth development

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Volunteer Profiles

Roll your mouse over the images below to meet some recently recruited volunteers. As you read about them, think about the qualities they bring to their assignments.

(Text-only version of volunteer profiles.)

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How to Do It

Research tells us that most people volunteer simply because they were asked. When “the ask” comes from a friend or acquaintance who volunteers, it is even more effective. As you develop your recruitment campaign, think about ways to reach potential volunteers.

Scroll down or click a link below to explore the following topics or items:

Volunteer Motivations

One way to attract potential volunteers is to incorporate pictures and slogans into your recruiting materials that speak to their needs and interests. The Independent sector identified eight reasons why people volunteer:

  • To make a difference
  • To use a talent or skill
  • To gain professional experience or make contacts
  • To express religious faith
  • To meet people
  • To achieve personal growth and enhanced self-esteem
  • To seek a more balanced life
  • To give something back

You can craft messages to use in your marketing materials that speak to these volunteer motivations. Doing so makes the materials more likely to catch the attention of potential volunteers and inspire them to contact you.

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Sample Recruiting Materials

Review the sample recruitment tools below (click the links to view the documents at full size). As you review them, think about their appeal to different types of volunteers.

Recruitment flyerRecruitment flyer (PDF, 28 KB) U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center

Recruitment postcard, front (PDF, 466 KB) and back (PDF, 424 KB) National Mentoring Center

Front of recruitment postcardBack of recruitment postcard

Recruitment postcard, front (PDF, 59 KB) and back (PDF, 28 KB) The Friends Program (Foster Grandparent)

I love Grammy Doris recruitment postcard front I love Grammy Doris recruitment postcard back

 

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Now You Try It

You now have learned a bit about volunteer motivations and ways to speak to them as shown in the sample recruiting materials. Click the image below to open and print an activity (PDF, 22 KB) that will give you further practice with creating effective recruitment messages.

Volunteer Motivations activity: Click to open

 

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Where to Get Help

The following resources and organizations offer more on recruiting volunteers and developing a targeted recruitment plan.

  • A Great Fit: Recruiting volunteers to work with youth. This article (PDF, 2.4 MB) provides in-depth discussion of and tips for recruiting volunteers for youth-serving programs.
  • Effective Mentor Recruitment: Getting Organized, Getting Results. Topics in this tool (PDF, 389 KB) from the U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Resource Center include how to develop a recruitment plan tailored to local circumstances and opportunities, established best practices in mentor recruitment, and strategies for solving many common recruitment challenges.
  • Marketing Toolkit for Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools Mentoring Programs. Designed to give practitioners ready-to-use files that can be customized to create quality marketing materials, this online toolkit includes ideas that can be incorporated into existing marketing efforts, such as brochures, newsletters, and posters.
  • Marketing for the Recruitment of Mentors: A Guide to Finding and Attracting Volunteers. This document (PDF, 784 KB) covers the basics of planning a marketing campaign, strategies for creating messages that appeal to your audience, and tips and techniques for getting your message to potential volunteers in a variety of formats.
  • Recruiting Mentors: A Guide to Finding Volunteers to Work with Youth. Drawing on effective practices used by volunteer-based organizations and on research findings about mentoring, this technical-assistance packet (PDF, 1.6 MB) describes recruitment strategies that programs can adapt to meet their particular circumstances.
  • Volunteer Motivation and Mentor Recruitment. This fact sheet (PDF, 174 KB) discusses volunteer motivations and how you can tap them in creating your recruitment campaigns.
  • Corporation research on volunteerism. The Corporation's Research and Policy Office publishes reports on trends in volunteering in America. They can provide useful information on planning your recruitment campaigns and reaching specific groups of volunteers (such as Baby Boomers and college students).
  • LEARNS. LEARNS provides training and technical assistance to Corporation-funded projects focused on literacy, education, mentoring, and out-of-school time. LEARNS is a partnership of the Education Northwest (formerly Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory) and the Bank Street College of Education. The LEARNS web pages at the Resource Center contain a wealth of materials you can use and adapt, including ones focused specifically on recruitment.
  • Temple University's Center for Intergenerational Learning. The Center for Intergenerational Learning at Temple University is dedicated to strengthening communities by bringing generations together to respond to critical social needs. Find helpful resources from this organization at the intergenerational topic page at the Resource Center, which also includes specific information about recruiting Baby Boomers.
  • Hands On Network. Hands On Network has developed and refined a new generation of volunteer engagement techniques that are tailored to today's realities. Find many resources from Hands On Network about leveraging volunteers at the Resource Center, including information and materials for recruiting college students.
  • Public/Private Ventures. Public/Private Ventures was a national nonprofit organization whose mission was to improve the effectiveness of social policies, programs, and community initiatives. It offered guidance and resources for working with faith-based communities, including recruiting their members to volunteer with your program. Visit the website or the faith-based partnerships topic page at the Resouce Center for more details.
  • The Independent Sector. The Independent Sector is a coalition of about 600 corporations, foundations, and private voluntary organizations working to strengthen America's nonprofits. Selected reports and excerpts examining volunteering in America can be downloaded for free from the organization's website.

Conclusion

Congratulations!

You have completed the Recruiting section. We hope the information and tools provided will help you recruit high-quality, effective volunteers.

Definitions and documents referenced in this section can be found in (respectively) the Glossary and Downloads.

If you wish to continue with this course, select another topic to explore. You can do so by clicking the name of the topic in the image below or in the left-hand navigation. You can also click the "Next" button at the top of the page to move to the next topic: Screening and Placing Volunteers.

What It Is

Screening is the process of gathering and assessing information about volunteers to successfully match them with a young person or place them in a youth program. The process begins informally in the recruitment phase, continues formally through a series of screening activities, and finishes with volunteers placed with individual youth, groups of young people, or service sites.

Effective programs use systematic approaches to screening and placement to:

  • Achieve successful tutoring and mentoring outcomes
  • Provide a rewarding experience for volunteers and young people
  • Minimize program risk

What It Looks Like

Successful programs assess volunteer candidates thoroughly using applications, interviews, and background checks. They look for disqualifying factors as well as whether candidates are a good fit for the program. They also assess potential volunteers' particular skills, strengths, and interests.

The following graphic illustrates the major components of a typical screening and placement process:

Flowchart indicating the main components of a screening process, including orientation; application; interview and reference checks cycles; background checks; pre-placement training; and mentor matching, tutor assignment, and/or site placement.

How to Do It

This section describes the screening process and offers tips for building your own screening policy and procedure. Scroll down or click a link below to explore the following topics or items:

Screening for Safety

Screening for safety involves identifying criminal, reckless, or inappropriate behaviors in a volunteer candidate’s past that pose a threat to the safety or well-being of youth. Safety screening procedures are usually required by federal, state, and local laws, as well as by the organizations that fund, accredit, and evaluate your program. Screening tools are also essential to your program’s risk management plan. A criminal-history records check is almost always required of volunteers who work directly with youth. Other background-check tools include:

  • Personal and work-related reference checks
  • State background checks
  • FBI fingerprint checks
  • Sex-offender registry checks
  • Child-abuse registry checks
  • Driving-record checks

A background check is just one part of screening for safety. Throughout the orientation and application process, be aware of any"red flags" that indicate a volunteer might be unsafe to work with youth.

The Corporation requires grantees to conduct and document criminal history checks on Senior Companions and Foster Grandparents, as well as on AmeriCorps State and National (including Education Award Program) participants who work with children or other vulnerable people on a recurring basis. Visit the Corporation's National Service Criminal History Checks web page for more details.

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Screening for Suitability

Screening for suitability involves assessing a volunteer candidate to determine if she is a good fit for your program. Does the individual have the knowledge, skills, and temperament to be successful?

The questions in your application and interview materials should help you get this information. The following samples provide a place to start for creating applications and interview questions:

 

 

Youth also come to your program with specific needs, interests, and abilities. They should also be surveyed and interviewed. This pre-assessment will:

  • Identify the specific academic (for tutoring) or self-development (for mentoring) needs of each youth
  • Suggest the characteristics of the ideal volunteer to pair with each youth
  • Allow youth to make their needs and interests known and participate in setting goals

Following are examples of youth-assessment tools you can adapt or use:

 

 

  • LEARNS Literacy Assessment Profile (LLAP)
    Based on national literacy assessments, this tool allows tutors to assess the reading abilities of youth they work with. It will be most helpful with youth in grades K–3, although it can be useful with readers at any level who are not strong, independent readers. The LLAP can be accessed from the LEARNS pages.
  • Mentee Referral Form (PDF, 16 KB)
  • Mentee Interview Form (PDF, 17 KB)

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Making the Match

Once you have screened volunteers and assessed the needs of youth, you are ready to start pairing volunteers with youth or placement sites. Consider these factors:

  • Preferences of volunteers, youth, and parents or guardians

  • Common interests and background

  • Geographic proximity

  • Complementary personalities

  • Gender or ethnicity


  •  

Not all matches will be successful. These guidelines are simply a starting point; over time you will develop a feel for volunteer/youth matches that are most likely to be strong and productive.

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Now You Try It

In this exercise, you will first learn the backgrounds of several adult volunteers and then match them to young people seeking mentors.

(Text-only version of this activity.)

As we learn in the matching game, there are no “perfect” matches. However, some are stronger, safer, or more appropriate than others. Keep these lessons from the game in mind as you make matches for your program:

 

 

 

  • Youth-Centered Matching: Consider the point of view of youth first, and then take volunteer preferences into account. When in doubt ask youth for input: “Does this person sound good to you?” Also, parents or guardians must “sign off” on the match.
  • Mentor Commitment: A long-term commitment is important. Mentors that plan to move or who cannot commit to a full year should not be matched with youth who have experienced the loss of other adults in their lives. In some cases, mentors can be matched for a shorter period but the young person should understand this from the beginning.
  • Cross-Gender Matches: Matching a male mentor with a female youth is rare. Due to a lack of male mentors and a large number of boys on waiting lists, however, it is more common for programs to match women with boys, particularly those under age 10. Same-gender matches may work better for youth and lessen potential liability issues, but there are always exceptions. Buy-in from youth and parents or guardians is especially important when making a cross-gender match.
  • Mentee Readiness and Support: Some youth, such as Richella in the game, have experienced major traumas. Mentoring is not a treatment for such traumas. Sometimes youth need other services, like counseling, before they can benefit from a mentoring relationship. Helping youth find support services allows the mentor to concentrate on being a friend versus a therapist, tutor, or “savior.”

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Where to Get Help

The following resources and organizations can help you put together a comprehensive screening and placement process.

  • Nonprofit Risk Management Center. This organization provides information, training, and consultation to nonprofit organizations on risk management topics and strategies. Visit their website for more details.
  • Generic Mentoring Program Policy and Procedure Manual. This 2003 National Mentoring Center publication helps mentoring programs create policies and procedures, including those for volunteer and participant screening and placement. The manual offers a Guidebook (PDF, 639 KB) and customizable template (Microsoft Word, 2 MB).
  • SafetyNET. National Mentoring Partnership works with the FBI to offer this fingerprint-based background check service to mentoring programs. Each check costs $18, and results are delivered in three to five business days. For more information, visit SafetyNET's website.
  • The U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Program's Guide to Screening and Background Checks. This 2005 publication (PDF, 1.1 MB) offers guidelines for developing a comprehensive screening process for volunteer mentors.
  • Fact Sheet 11: Managing Risk After the Match Is Made. This National Mentoring Center fact sheet (PDF, 151 KB) provides a discussion of and tips for managing risk in mentoring programs.
  • LEARNS. LEARNS provides training and technical assistance to Corporation-funded projects focused on literacy, education, mentoring, and out-of-school time. LEARNS is a partnership of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory and the Bank Street College of Education. The LEARNS web pages contain a wealth of materials you can use and adapt, including ones focused on volunteer screening.
  • EnCorps. EnCorps is a collection of field-tested practices and documents focused on member recruitment and development submitted and vetted by national service programs. The EnCorps website includes a section on screening and placing new members.

Conclusion

Congratulations!

You have completed the Screening and Placing Volunteers section. We hope the information and tools provided will help you make safe and effective matches between volunteers and youth.

Definitions and documents referenced in this section can be found in (respectively) theGlossary andDownloads.

If you wish to continue with this course, select another topic to explore. You can do so by clicking the name of the topic in the image below or in the left-hand navigation. You can also click the "Next" button at the top of the page to move ahead to the next topic: Preparing and Orienting Volunteers.

What It Is

Volunteers want to feel well prepared for the work they will do with youth. Providing a thorough orientation to your program — and youth served — increases volunteers' chances for success as mentors and tutors.

Effective pre-service orientation:

  • Clarifies program policies, procedures, and expectations
  • Reduces risks
  • Lays the groundwork for successful matches
  • Improves program outcomes

This module focuses on designing effective pre-service orientation. A later module, Providing Ongoing Support, describes additional training throughout the service period.

What It Looks Like

This section describes elements effective programs include in their orientation sessions to equip and inspire new volunteers to succeed. Scroll down or click a link below to explore the following topics or items:

Orientation Topics

Orientation for tutors and mentors typically includes the following:

  • Introduction to the program, policies, and procedures
  • Backgrounds, needs, and motivations of youth served
  • Stages of youth development and how to support growth constructively (i.e., positive youth development)
  • Orientation to the host site, school, or community
  • Introduction to the service assignment's expectations and communication systems
  • Concepts and practices for the tutoring or mentoring model used (e.g., homework help, conflict management)

For a complete treatment of these and other topics, set aside sufficient time for orientation. Include an evaluation so you can assess the effectiveness of your training.

Prevent volunteers from feeling overwhelmed by including hands-on and engaging activities. Reassure volunteers that they can contact you for help and that ongoing support and training will be available.

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Learner-Centered Training

Make orientation sessions more dynamic by presenting material in ways that engage adult learners and their varied learning styles. An adult-centered approach to training provides trainees with:

  • Opportunities to share and draw upon their knowledge, skills, and backgrounds
  • Ability to shape the agenda by identifying topics or questions
  • Varied presentation style, including a mix of lecture, discussion, group work, and hands-on activities
  • Role-plays that make concepts and common pitfalls and scenarios more concrete
  • Videos and other audio-visual materials, when available
  • Reflection on what was learned and evaluation of the orientation

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Using Experts

You may wish to bring in outside experts to supplement your training agenda or to focus on a specific topic (e.g., reading comprehension). Rotate your speakers to maintain participant interest.

Consider the following as potential trainers:

  • Consultants with experience in training new mentors or tutors
  • Teachers or principals who can help volunteers understand and work within school cultures
  • Social service caseworkers who can describe the particular needs and backgrounds of youth
  • School district reading and math specialists who can teach specific tutoring concepts and strategies
  • Veteran tutors and mentors who can relate their on-the-ground experiences
  • Youth participants or graduates of your program to deepen understanding about their interests, needs, and expectations

Experts from your own community have the greatest ability to address the specific context and focus of your program, and expenses may also be lower.

To find local experts, think about the topic(s) you would like covered. Next, brainstorm a list of people and organizations that specialize in these topics. Finally, select your first and backup choices and start calling or e-mailing them.

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How to Do It

A detailed outline will help you: organize your session; make information and activities more engaging; and assign staff and outside experts as presenters. Here are sample orientation agendas for tutoring and mentoring programs:

 

Following are suggestions offered by national service programs for making orientation sessions more interactive:

  • Have a panel of experienced or former volunteers come and describe their experiences for the new ones being trained
  • Send volunteers on scavenger hunts; click here (PDF, 16 KB) for an example
  • Create or adapt activities that get volunteers out of their seats and moving, including "gallery walks" and "take a stand" (PDF, 23 KB) activities
  • Use multimedia such as videos, animations, and online tutorials to demonstrate and start conversations about effective volunteer practices.

Where to Get Help

The following resources and organizations offer more on planning and running an effective pre-service orientation.

  • The Verdict Is In: Trained Tutors = Increased Student Learning. This article (PDF, 542 KB) provides an in-depth discussion of tutor training, as well as a sample training calendar you can adapt.
  • When Stakes Are High: Research-Based Mentoring for Youth with Multiple Risk Factors. This document (PDF, 421 KB) from EMT Associates provides information on mentoring high-needs youth and materials to train volunteers.
  • Preparing Participants for Mentoring: The U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Program's Guide to Initial Training of Volunteers, Youth, and Parents. This 2005 publication (PDF, 1.1 MB) features agendas and ready-to-use activities for training the participants of mentoring programs.
  • LEARNS. LEARNS provides training and technical assistance to Corporation-funded projects focused on literacy, education, mentoring, and out-of-school time. LEARNS is a partnership of Education Northwest (formerly the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory) and the Bank Street College of Education. The LEARNS web pages at the Resource Center contain a wealth of materials you can use and adapt, and more focused specifically on volunteer orientation.
  • EnCorps. EnCorps is a collection of field-tested practices and documents focused on member recruitment and development, submitted and vetted by national service programs. Visit the EnCorps website to read more and download documents you can use. Of particular interest on the topic of volunteer training will be the Principles of Adult Learning and Member Orientation sections.

Conclusion

Congratulations!

You have completed the Preparing and Orienting Volunteers section. We hope the information and tools provided will help you equip your volunteers with the knowledge they need to tutor and mentor effectively.

Definitions and documents referenced in this section can be found in (respectively) theGlossary andDownloads.

If you wish to continue with this course, select another topic to explore. You can do so by clicking the name of the topic in the image below or in the left-hand navigation. You can also click the "Next" button at the top of the page to move to the next topic, Providing Ongoing Support.

What It Is

Effective programs build on pre-service orientation within-service training and ongoing support to sustain volunteers’ energy and focus and help them improve their skills throughout their terms of service.

Ongoing training and support:

  • Improve volunteer effectiveness
  • Improve the quality of your program or organization
  • Increase volunteer satisfaction andretention
  • What It Looks Like

    As depicted in the image below, the energy and effectiveness of volunteers can ebb and flow throughout their service. This section describes how to support and re-energize them using structured in-service trainings, team meetings, and one-on-one check-ins. Scroll down or click a link below to explore the following topics or items:

    Volunteer cycle of service: Volunteer starts as an enthusiastic beginner; at two weeks, having second thoughts; at 90 days, a disillusioned learner; at six months, a contributor who may lack confidence; at 12 months a peak performer!

    In-Service Trainings

    Once tutors and mentors are oriented and placed, in-service training can provide additional information and tools to help them succeed. Topics may include follow-up on procedures, troubleshooting student- or mentee-relationship issues, and deepening content-area skills intutoring,mentoring,homework help, and otherchild or youth topics (click each term for a list of common in-service topics and sample training activities).

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    Team Meetings and Check-Ins

    Build in time throughout the service year for team meetings and check-ins with individual volunteers. This helps you monitor volunteers' work, maintain program quality, and assess progress toward objectives. It also lets volunteers know that you are paying attention to their needs.

    The following video clips demonstrate how two national service programs support their members through one-on-one and group meetings. The first video shows a literacy program supporting the work of a tutor. The second shows a team leader for a homework-help program conducting a group check-in with his members.

    Note: Videos may take a few seconds to load and play. Click here (PDF, 14 KB) for a transcript of the first video and here (PDF, 14 KB) for a transcript of the second.

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    How to Do It

    Integrate volunteer development into your program calendar, including in-service trainings, team meetings, and individual check-ins with volunteers. This sample training calendar (PDF, 57 KB) for tutoring programs can offer ideas for creating a training plan.

    Now You Try It

    The following activity will give you some practice creating a yearlong training plan. Click Start to begin, then drag each training topic that appears into one of the four categories representing the beginning, middle, and end of a typical program calendar. If you give up, click Done.

    There are no right or wrong answers, but when you are finished the activity will display one way that we suggest you arrange the calendar.

    (Text-only version of this activity).

    Where to Get Help

    The following resources and organizations can help you prepare and run in-service trainings.

    • Planning Annual FGP Inservice Training. This document (PDF, 284 KB) from LEARNS provides instructions for organizing pre- and in-service trainings for Foster Grandparents, although the information can be adapted for use in other national service programs.
    • Ongoing Training for Mentors: 12 Interactive Sessions for U.S. Department of Education Mentoring Programs. This 2006 publication (PDF, 1.6 MB) from the Mentoring Resource Center provides ready-to-use activities for use in ongoing training sessions to help mentors improve their work with youth.
    • Member Development Instruments. This collection of documents from the Resource Center can be used to set up, track, and evaluate a development program for national service members.
    • LEARNS. LEARNS provides training and technical assistance to Corporation-funded projects focused on literacy, education, mentoring, and out-of-school time. LEARNS is a partnership of Education Northwest (formerly the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory) and the Bank Street College of Education. The LEARNS web pages at the Resource Center contain a wealth of materials you can use and adapt, including ones focused on ongoing training. The LEARNS newsletter Youth Impact (formerly known as The Tutor) is an additional source of material you can use in designing mentor and tutor trainings. View the most recent edition and archived copies at the Resource Center.
    • EnCorps. EnCorps is a collection of field-tested practices and documents focused on member recruitment and development submitted and vetted by national service programs. The EnCorps website includes a section on ongoing member development.

    Conclusion

    Congratulations!

    You have completed the Providing Ongoing Support section. We hope the information and tools provided will help you plan and deliver effective, ongoing training that encourages volunteers in their work and sharpens their skills.

    Definitions and documents referenced in this section can be found in (respectively) theGlossary andDownloads.

    If you wish to continue with this course, select another topic to explore. You can do so by clicking the name of the topic in the image below or in the left-hand navigation. You can also click the "Next" button at the top of the page to move to the next topic, Measuring Success.

    What It Is

    Performance measurement is the process of regularly assessing the results produced by your program. It allows you to make program adjustments and clearly and objectively communicate the impacts of your program to the Corporation and otherstakeholders.

    What It Looks Like

    In general, performance measurement:

    • Allows for feedback from all participants and stakeholders
    • Addresses program procedures as well as accomplishments
    • Reports progress toward meeting program outcomes
    • Provides a map for continuous improvement of systems and practices
    • Determines the desired outcomes of program activities

    How to Do It

    This section examines key performance-measurement principles. Scroll down or click a link below to explore the following topics or items:

    Begin With the End in Mind

    Convene an advisory committee of staff from your organization and partner agencies, youth clients, and volunteers. Using thelogic model as a guide, work with the committee to set appropriate goals for your program.

    Identify Realistic Outcomes

    Be careful not to overstate the results your program can realistically achieve. Again using thelogic model, think carefully about the type of service your program provides and the characteristics of youth served. Call on school and community partners to help you match the amount and kind of services you are providing (outputs) with realistic expectations for youth achievement (outcomes).

    Be Prepared to Adjust Outcomes

    You will likely refine yourlogic model over time as you gain more knowledge and experience with your program environment, resources, volunteers, and youth needs. The Corporation and other funders may also ask you to revise your outcomes, so flexibility is essential.

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    Now You Try It

    Following are two activities that will give you a chance to build simple logic models for national service tutoring programs. The first activity will have you build a logic model for recruiting community volunteers to tutor. The second activity helps you build a model for delivering tutoring services to students.

    For each activity, click a logic-model category on the left, then click its matching description on the right. You will have a chance to try again if you mismatch them; if you give up, click Done.

    (Text-only version of Logic Model Game: Recruiting Literacy Volunteers)

    (Text-only version of Logic Model Game: Tutoring)

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    Where to Get Help

    The following resources and organizations can help you design and implement a performance-measurement plan.

    • Evaluating Your Program: A Beginner's Self-Evaluation Workbook for Mentoring Programs. This workbook (PDF, 2.5 MB) provides an overview of evaluation for coordinators of mentoring programs.
    • Outcomes and Performance Measurement for Tutoring Programs. This tool (PDF, 221 KB) includes instructions for designing performance measures for tutoring programs based on the Corporation logic model.
    • Measuring Youth Program Quality: A Guide to Assessment Tools. This document (PDF, 620 KB) from the Forum for Youth Investment describes in detail a number of performance-measurement tools used in youth-serving programs.

    Conclusion

    Congratulations!

    You have completed the Measuring Success section. We hope the information and tools provided will help you set realistic goals for your program and effectively measure your work against them.

    Definitions and documents referenced in this section can be found in (respectively) theGlossary andDownloads.

    If you wish to continue with this course, select another topic to explore. You can do so by clicking the name of the topic in the image below or in the left-hand navigation. You can also click the "Next" button at the top of the page to move to the next topic: Forging Partnerships.

    What It Is

    Strong youth programs identify and build relationships with stakeholders that help them succeed on a day-to-day and long-term basis. In these partnerships, individuals or groups agree to share time, knowledge, resources, costs, and rewards in order to achieve mutual goals.

    Some partnerships are formal, structured, and spelled out in signed documents. Examples include contracts with public and private funders and memoranda of understanding with schools and community organizations.

    Other partnerships are informal, unstructured, and directed by trust and goodwill with less emphasis on written agreements. Informal partners include parents who agree to let their children participate, other youth-serving organizations that make referrals, and young people themselves.

    What It Looks Like

    Effective partnerships share four common elements, depicted in the image below. Roll your mouse over a section of the image to read about each element in more detail.

    Partnership-building is an ongoing activity. Make time to manage and monitor existing partnerships to maintain communication and relationships, address problems, and plan for future work. From time to time, you will seek out new partnerships to bring in new resources, expand services, and replace partnerships that end.

    (Text-only version of effective partnerships image.)

    How to Do It

    Partnership-building is a long-term, multi-stage process. This section will describe how to approach it. Scroll down or click a link below to explore the following topics or items:

    Partnership-Building Process

    Creating Formal Agreements

    Now You Try It: Partnership activity

    Partnership-Building Process

    Use this process both to identify new partners and to assess, refresh, and strengthen existing partnerships:

    1. Identify stakeholders who have both the interest and the ability to support the work of your program.
    2. Write a profile for each partner using a partner profile form (PDF, 44 KB) that contains as much background information as you are able to gather. The profiles can be used to assess the health of existing partnerships, as well as for recruiting new partners.
    3. Prepare an outreach plan for contacting and soliciting the support of potential partners. A partnership plan includes people or groups to approach, who will contact them, and what will be proposed. Whether you or your staff or board members initiate contact with partners depends on the culture and structure of your organization and the nature of your work.

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    Creating Formal Agreements

    Formal partnerships and working arrangements should be written up in documents signed by all parties. This is especially true if you are making substantial commitments of money, goods, or services.

    Contracts, letters of agreement, and memoranda of understanding (MOU) formalize the partnership, bind partners to their commitments, and often specify tasks, outcomes, and an evaluation process.

    You may or may not have a role in creating contracts and letters of agreement with your partners; often this is done by the executive directors and lawyers of organizations. However, even if you do not create them, you will want to review any formal agreements, as they provide you with a roadmap for working with your partners. The following sample documents provide an overview of the typical structure and contents of formal partnership agreements:

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    Now You Try It

    You now know more about seeking out and establishing partnerships that will benefit your program. Click the image below to open and print an activity that will give you further practice identifying program stakeholders.

    Partnership Activity: Click to open.Partnership Activity (PDF, 21 KB)

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    Where to Get Help

    The following resources and organizations can help you build and sustain program partnerships.

    Conclusion

    Congratulations!

    You have completed the Forging Partnerships section. We hope the information and tools provided will help you identify partners for your program and create and maintain effective relationships with them.

    Definitions and documents referenced in this section can be found in (respectively) theGlossary andDownloads.

    Recruiting Volunteers

    Objectives

    After completing this section, you will be able to:

    • Describe the ideal volunteer for your youth program
    • Create an effective recruitment message and flyer
    • Develop and implement a targeted recruitment plan

    Screening and Placing Volunteers

    Objectives

    After completing this section, you will be able to:

    • Apply key considerations formatching volunteers with young people
    • Create a volunteer screening and placement process
    • Screen volunteers for safety and suitability

    Preparing and Orienting Volunteers

    Objectives

    After completing this section, you will be able to:

    • Create a detailed agenda for a volunteer orientation

    • Incorporateadult learning principles into your training activities

    • Access outside trainers and consultants, as appropriate

    Providing Ongoing Support

    Objectives

    After completing this section, you will be able to:

    • Create a training calendar
    • Incorporate feedback to improve training and support
    • Access training tools specific to your service area

    Measuring Success

    Objectives

    After completing this section, you will be able to:

    • Identify desired results for youth served by your program
    • Create alogic model
    • Access additional resources for measuring program success

    Forging Partnerships

    Objectives

    After completing this section, you will be able to: