New Website Is Up!

Wow!! After months of work our new site went live just a few moments ago! We hope you’ll be impressed with the changes we’ve made. Our site will be easier to navigate and more interactive and you’ll be able to find all you need to volunteer and support your community in just a few easy clicks. Let us know if you have suggestions or find a kink while you are navigating the site. We will continually work to make finding ways to help in your community easy and accessible. We would love to hear from you anytime and thanks for joining us!

Thank you for all you do to be GREAT advocates for giving,

The Volunteer Center Team



The Power of Y.O.U. – Youth in Action

Kids and teens can have a substantial impact on their community when given the opportunity to volunteer. Incorporate friends, food, and fun to the mix and a powerful force for good is created as youth from all backgrounds work side-by-side, creating memories, making a difference for their cities, neighborhoods, and the world. As younger generations continue to engage in positive service to others, self-esteem is built, leadership skills are developed, team work is learned and incorporated into other areas of life, communication skills are enhanced, and ultimately, these young people are left empowered with the confidence to know they can make a difference on important community issues no matter the circumstance.

In January of 2009, The Volunteer Center, A program of the Round Rock Area Serving Center, founded a youth service organization – Youth Opportunity to Unite – inspired by the realization that so many local youth were interested in making a difference in the Williamson County community, but were unfamiliar with the variety of volunteer activities available through local nonprofits and were experiencing barriers because of age. A sense of urgency to create an opportunity for our community youth to have a voice in philanthropic matters was cultivated and within a matter of weeks the youth program emerged from idea to reality.

The Y.O.U. council, an executive board comprised of youth volunteers and adult mentors, comes together as a team and coordinates one volunteer project each month to give local area youth the chance to get involved. Each month our projects focus on a new area of interest in the community. It is our objective to educate young volunteers about the wide range of concerns and issues that face Williamson County with the hope that a spark will be ignited for these youth and they will want to continually participate in a variety of volunteer efforts and perhaps find affinity and passion for a particular cause they care about. To date the group has completed 25 service projects and engaged over 1,500 volunteers.

Whether it be visiting a nursing home, planting trees for the environment, or raising literacy awareness, we continually stand by our mission of “youth empowering youth through hands-on volunteer efforts to make a change in their community.” Youth Opportunity to Unite is a vehicle for youth from any background to find and unleash their skills and talents for the benefit of others. We know our young people can make a difference now and can continue to build upon their experiences to make a difference for a life-time.

Visit us at


Useful links related to Youth Volunteering: 

Energize: Articles on Youth Volunteering, Service Learning and Family Volunteering One of the largest organizations in the U.S. that helps young people rock causes they care about

Network for Good – YouthNoise: Empowers young leaders to act for the causes they care about locally, nationally and globally.

HandsOn Network: GenerationOn Youth Service Fact Sheet

Volunteer Spot: Volunteering for Kids

Developing Your Volunteer Program

Developing a new volunteer program or reorganizing an existing one may seem like a daunting task due to the time and energy, not to mention the trial by fire it sometimes takes before everything starts to mesh and flow.  So, why reinvent the wheel? has created a fantastically comprehensive development plan for nonprofit organizations.  Some of the example documents are from state-side volunteer programs and some of the examples come from programs in other countries. So, pull from the information and ideas that will work best for your agency, tweak them to fit your org. even better and best of luck on your journey!

Developing Your Volunteer Program

Once organizational readiness and risk management have been assessed, organizations are ready to move on to the work of developing the volunteer program framework. This assumes that the results of their self-questioning, staff surveys, and risk assessment have all indicated that a volunteer program would be a) appropriate, b) safe, c) feasible, and d) valuable, both to the organization and to volunteers themselves.

It is at this time that organizations can begin the work of developing volunteer program policies and procedures, including establishing and identifying communications channels, disciplinary procedures, and safeguards to protect volunteers, constituents, and the organization itself from both individual harm and legal implication.

Keeping in mind the adage, as recently quoted by June Bass, Volunteer Services Manager for the Multnomah County Library, “one of the best ways to recognize volunteers is to have a well-run program,” here are some recommendations for essential steps:

Step One – Developing the Vision, Mission, Policies and Procedures

Where the vision and mission paint the picture of what you want to accomplish with your volunteer program, policies and procedures serve as the backbone. This is the place to consider and structure responses to issues like volunteer/staff relations, disciplinary procedures, and methods of communication. Should you run into unchartered waters on your way to achieving your vision, your program’s policies and procedures will be your compass to keep you on track.

Creating the mission, vision, and policies and procedures for the volunteer program also presents an opportunity to collaborate with fellow staff members on developing the volunteer culture at your organization, making sure that volunteers are fully integrated into the organization and supported by all staff members, not just you! Here are some resources, and examples, to get you started:

Vision and Mission

Policies and Procedures: How to Develop

Policies and Procedures: Examples

Volunteer Program Culture

  • From Motivation to Action Through Volunteer-Friendly Organizations (PDF) – Kenn Allen, Ed.D @ The International Journal of Volunteer Administration
  • Organizational Culture – Volunteering in America: Resources for Retention, Corporation for National and Community Service

Step Two – Creating Infrastructure: Applications, Agreements, and Position Descriptions

With your internal systems in place, you’re ready to develop some of the external documents. This includes volunteer applications, volunteer contracts or agreement forms (to outline both organization and volunteer expectations and responsibilities), handbooks for volunteers (sort of an orientation on paper), and specific volunteer position descriptions. There are a number of ways to structure these, so we’ve included several examples below. If you manage volunteers in the U.S., it’s important to remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act also sets the standards for selecting volunteers.

When developing position descriptions, keep in mind some of the current trends regarding episodic volunteering. As more and more individuals seek to fit volunteerism into their already busy lives, they are often looking for short-term or one-time opportunities. So as you develop positions, try to offer a healthy mix of long-term, short-term, one-time, and online/virtual volunteerism opportunities. Also keep in mind the range of skills volunteers can bring to your organization, offering positions in both skilled and non-skill-specific categories.

Volunteer Application

Volunteer Contracts or Agreements

Parental Consent Form

Handbook for Volunteers

Volunteer Position Descriptions: How to Develop

Volunteer Position Descriptions: Examples and Worksheets

Step Three – Keeping on Course: Tracking and Evaluation

Much like risk management, you should regularly review your volunteer program to make sure you are in line with its vision and mission. Annual evaluations – of individual volunteers, your role as volunteer manager, and the overall program (this is a great time to review risk management and policies and procedures) – may seem like a hassle but they are invaluable in keeping a volunteer program running smoothly. Be sure to provide opportunities for volunteers to provide feedback. And try not to approach evaluations as a negative process: not only do they highlight areas for improvement but they also give you the opportunity to celebrate what’s going well!

Similarly, by setting up a system to track volunteer program information, you will be well-equipped not only for evaluation but also for making the case for your volunteer program to potential funders (grant applications are magnets for data!) and the decision-makers of your organization. Tracking doesn’t have to be overwhelming; it can be as simple as using an Excel spreadsheet to record contact information and hours, as well as answers to questions like: When are volunteers available? What do they enjoy most? What do they not enjoy? What are they best at? What motivates them? How do they like to be recognized? How many hours did they volunteer?

With all of this at your fingertips, you’re better prepared to find the right volunteers for the right volunteer positions. At the same time, should you need to make a case for the volunteer program as organizational priorities shift or funding gets tight, you’re already armed with invaluable knowledge on the breadth, scope, and impact of volunteers in the organization!

Here are some resources, including information on potential software programs and how to translate volunteer time into economic terms, to develop your system of tracking and evaluation:



Economic Value of Volunteerism

Step Four – Training and Orientation – For Volunteers AND Staff

The final step before you can begin looking for volunteers is to decide what kind of orientation and training you should, and can, offer. Where a formal training on systems or tools is unique to a specific volunteer or task (and often integral to risk management!), orientation tends to be a more global picture of the organization, providing information that is largely universal to all volunteers. In either case, trainings and orientations are often the equivalent of your volunteers’ first impression, so it’s important to make it positive, informational, and motivating. No small feat to be sure…

At the same time, it is important to train your fellow staff members on how best to work with volunteers. Do some group brainstorming for innovative ideas on how staff can support volunteers – one great strategy is to set up shadow mentoring so that every time Volunteer X is in the office, Staff Person Y checks in with them to see how they are doing and whether they need anything.

This is also the time to talk about appropriate behavior and boundaries as well as determine who among staff will be available to answer questions and provide supervision. The bottom line is that your staff (hopefully!) operates like a team and bringing volunteers on board is bringing new team members on board.

Here are some training and orientation ideas, resources, and models to consider:

Training and Orientation: How to Develop

Training and Orientation: Examples

Helpful links for Nonprofit Organizations (and volunteers, too)

There is a wealth of information via the internet on everything you can think of related to strengthening nonprofit programs, getting the word out about your mission, attracting volunteers, and much, much more. We have put together a list of some helpful sites that will give you valuable, applicable information in accordance with best practices in the nonprofit field.  We will add more to the list as we find additional resources. Stay tuned and enjoy!

Energize, Inc. 
Energize, Inc. is an international training, consulting and publishing firm specializing in volunteerism. If these words are in your vocabulary–community service, membership development, auxiliary, community organizing, service-learning, lay ministry, pro bono work, supporter, friends group, political activist, service club— we can help!! Founded in 1977, Energize has assisted organizations of all types with their volunteer efforts–whether they are health and human service organizations, cultural arts groups, professional associations, or schools.

Greenlights strengthens nonprofits for extraordinary performance and impact by providing a valuable array of free or very affordable services and resources, thanks to the generosity of foundations, corporations and individuals who support our work.

The Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations (TANO) is the statewide membership association reflecting and promoting Texas’ growing nonprofit community in all its diversity.

Envisioning a Texas Nonprofit Sector that works together to be among the healthiest and most vibrant in the nation, TANO’s concern and focus is every nonprofit entity within our state no matter its size or budget, urban or rural location. Our mission is to connect, strengthen, and support the nonprofit community for the public good of Texas.

OneStar Foundation
Texas has thousands of nonprofits. Each has a different mission, but we are all working toward the same goal: helping to improve the lives of Texans. OneStar supports the nonprofit sector and its stakeholders through initiatives that increase civic engagement, research, rigorous evaluation and nonprofit organizational excellence. OneStar’s  goal is to achieve sustainable social impact throughout the larger nonprofit infrastructure.

Independent Sector
Independent Sector is the leadership forum for charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs committed to advancing the common good in America and around the world. The nonpartisan coalition of approximately 550 organizations leads, strengthens, and mobilizes the charitable community in order to fulfill our vision of a just and inclusive society and a healthy democracy of active citizens, effective institutions, and vibrant communities.

Case Foundation
Jean and Steve Case established the Case Foundation in 1997 to reflect their family’s commitment to finding lasting solutions for complex social challenges.

The Case Foundation purpose is to expand giving, promote everyday philanthropy, deepen civic engagement, and broaden the use of new technologies to make giving more informed, efficient, and effective. We seek to do this while emphasizing the value of collaboration across all sectors, individual and organizational leadership, and entrepreneurship.

United Way of Williamson County
United Way is evolving from it’s image of “fundraiser.” Our experience tells us that the best way to help the most people is to focus on the underlying causes of the most serious problems. To do this, we partner with diverse groups (government, schools, faith groups, businesses, non-profits and individuals) to identify solutions that will bring lasting positive change to our community.

Points of Light Institute
Points of Light Institute embraces service and civic engagement as fundamental to a purposeful life and essential to a healthy world. We have the history, the scale and reach, the leadership and the strategy to mobilize millions of people to tackle concrete, significant challenges.

With more than 20 years of history, a bi-partisan presidential legacy, the largest national volunteer footprint in the nation, Points of Light has the vision and strategy to create a quantum leap for the service movement through 2012
Idealist connects people, organizations, and resources to help build a world where all people can live free and dignified lives.

Idealist is independent of any government, political ideology, or religious creed. Our work is guided by the common desire of our members and supporters to find practical solutions to social and environmental problems, in a spirit of generosity and mutual respect.

Foundation Center
Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center’s web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and beyond.

BoardSource is dedicated to advancing the public good by building exceptional nonprofit boards and inspiring board service. BoardSource strives to support and promote excellence in board service, is the premier source of cutting-edge thinking and resources related to nonprofit boards, and engages and develops the next generation of board leaders.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy
The Chronicle of Philanthropy is the No. 1 news source, in print and online, for nonprofit leaders, fund raisers, grant makers, and other people involved in the philanthropic enterprise. For more than 20 years, The Chronicle has been connecting the nonprofit world with news, jobs, and ideas.

Association of Fundraising Professionals
AFP, an association of professionals throughout the world, advances philanthropy by enabling people and organizations to practice ethical and effective fundraising. The core activities through which AFP fulfills this mission include education, training, mentoring, research, credentialing and advocacy.

The Harwood Institute
The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that seeks nothing less than to spark fundamental change and authentic hope in American public life.

Founded by Richard C. Harwood twenty years ago in reaction to the cynicism and distrust that permeates much of politics and public life, the Harwood Institute is today a leading change organization, recognized nationally for a unique approach to breaking down barriers and empowering people to make progress in improving their communities.

Value of Volunteer Time

Ever wonder the value of volunteer time and how it’s calculated locally and nationally? Here’s a look at how it’s figured from the Independent Sector out of Washington, DC.  If you want to know more about them, check out their site: .

Value of Volunteer Time

The estimated dollar value of volunteer time for 2010 is $21.36 per hour.

The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference. Charitable organizations can use this estimate to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 63.4 million Americans, or 26.8 percent of the adult population, gave 8.1 billion hours of volunteer service worth $169 billion in 2009. For the latest information, please see

State Values for Volunteer Time

Dollar Value of a Volunteer Hour, by State: 2009
Please note that 2009 is the latest year for which state-by-state numbers are available. There is a lag of almost one year in the government’s release of state level data which explains why the state volunteering values are one year behind the national value.
Alabama: $17.70
Alaska: $21.38
Arizona: $19.48
Arkansas: $16.24
California: $23.42
Colorado: $21.62
Connecticut: $26.98
Delaware: $21.88
Dist. of Columbia: $32.79
Florida: $18.40
Georgia: $19.94
Hawaii: $17.94
Idaho: $15.57
Illinois: $22.34
Indiana: $17.61
Iowa: $16.77
Kansas: $17.80
Kentucky: $17.37
Louisiana: $18.71
Maine: $16.53
Maryland: $22.32
Massachusetts: $26.18
Michigan: $19.79
Minnesota: $20.90
Mississippi: $15.28
Missouri: $18.57
Montana: $14.89
Nebraska: $16.67
Nevada: $19.00
New Hampshire: $20.85
New Jersey: $25.20
New Mexico: $17.10
New York: $27.17
North Carolina: $18.18
North Dakota: $16.48
Ohio: $18.54
Oklahoma: $17.05
Oregon: $18.47
Pennsylvania: $20.51
Rhode Island: $19.10
South Carolina: $16.53
South Dakota: $15.18
Tennessee: $18.62
Texas: $21.35
Utah: $17.54
Vermont: $17.54
Virginia: $22.03
Washington: $21.62
West Virginia: $16.65
Wisconsin: $17.85
Wyoming: $18.38
Puerto Rico: $11.31
Virgin Islands: $15.88

Learn more about these figures, including how they are calculated and how nonprofit organizations often use them, at the bottom of the page.

Updated figures for each state will be released in the spring of 2011.

History of the Dollar Value of a Volunteer Hour: 1980 – 2009

1980: $7.46
1981: $8.12
1982: $8.60
1983: $8.98
1984: $9.32
1985: $9.60
1986: $9.81
1987: $10.06
1988: $10.39
1989: $10.82
1990:  $11.41
1991:  $11.76
1992:  $12.05
1993:  $12.35
1994:  $12.68
1995:  $13.05
1996:  $13.47
1997:  $13.99
1998:  $14.56
1999:  $15.09
2000: $15.68
2001: $16.27
2002: $16.74
2003: $17.19
2004: $17.55
2005: $18.04
2006: $18.77
2007: $19.51
2008: $20.25
2009: $20.85

Please note: Values for 1990-2009 were adjusted to reflect a new data series released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How the numbers are calculated

The value of volunteer time is based on the average hourly earnings of all production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls (as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Independent Sector takes this figure and increases it by 12 percent to estimate for fringe benefits.

Charitable organizations most frequently use the value of volunteer time for recognition events or communications to show the amount of community support an organization receives from its volunteers.

According to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), the value of volunteer services can also be used on financial statements –- including statements for internal and external purposes, grant proposals, and annual reports –- only if a volunteer is performing a specialized skill for a nonprofit. The general rule to follow when determining if contributed services meet the FASB criteria for financial forms is to determine whether the organization would have purchased the services if they had not been donated. Accounting specialists may visit FASB’s website for regulations on use of the value of volunteer time on financial forms:

It is very difficult to put a dollar value on volunteer time. Volunteers provide many intangibles that can not be easily quantified. For example, volunteers demonstrate the amount of support an organization has within a community, provide work for short periods of time, and provide support on a wide range of projects.

The value of volunteer time presented here is the average wage of non-management, non-agricultural workers. This is only a tool and only one way to show the immense value volunteers provide to an organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does have hourly wages by occupation that can be used to determine the value of a specialized skill.

It is important to remember that when a doctor, lawyer, craftsman, or anyone with a specialized skill volunteers, the value of his or her work is based on his or her volunteer work, not his or her earning power. In other words, volunteers must be performing their special skill as volunteer work. If a doctor is painting a fence or a lawyer is sorting groceries, he or she is not performing his or her specialized skill for the nonprofit, and their volunteer hour value would not be higher.