Interns, Self-Directed Volunteers & the 2013 Conference on Volunteering and Service
In this issue of the Volunteer Frontier Update, I'll provide prescient tips on engaging interns - and some things you'll want to watch out for (like the law). I'll give you the link to tons of great resources through the 2013 Conference on Volunteering and Service website along with a useful document of suggested ways to engage volunteers from the Volunteer Engagement for Smarties session I lead at the conference. Lastly, I have a fun two-minute video to share with you on self-directed volunteering. As you look to the fall, feel free to contact me about Skype coaching along with consultations, staff training, and keynotes to bring your agency's volunteer engagement to the next level. Thank you for forwarding this e-mail on to others who you think could benefit from it.
Tapping Interns - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
I often encourage agencies I work with to explore utilizing the talents and energy of interns. A good intern can be a tremendous asset to an organization. A recent U.S. District Court case, however, highlights some of the risks in having interns who aren't paid or affiliated with a academic college or university. In short, the court ruled against a private company that used interns to work on a number of films because these interns were doing the work an employee otherwise would have done. The U.S. Department of Labor's rules apply to nonprofits and government. To avoid getting into trouble, use the internship designation in partnership with academic institutions that have recognized internship programs. The U.S. Department of Labor's intern fact sheet spells out the six criteria for what counts as an internship. It goes as far as to say, "the internship experience is for the benefit of the intern." Creating volunteer positions that are not called internships and utilizing volunteers to add value above and beyond what staff provide will help you avoid breaking the law. My colleague Tobi Johnson has put together an excellent rundown on internships, stipends, and trainees on her blog.
Resources from the 2013 Conference on Volunteering and Service
The Conference on Volunteering and Service was jam packed with great sessions. And Points of Light launched One America, a nationwide, yearlong campaign to bring together rivals in politics, entertainment, and sports with the goal of inspiring millions to unite in service.
The good folks at Points of Light are making all session handouts available to anyone interested in downloading them. Hundreds of sessions were held. Take some professional development time and search the Conference Website for sessions and resources to further your work. My session, Volunteer Engagement for Smarties was well attended. I did capture terrific ideas for engaging volunteers from the attendee table discussions that is available for download.
Check Out The Self Directed Volunteer Network
If you haven't heard of the Self Directed Volunteer Network, I encourage you to visit their website and watch their fun two-minute video (right side) that introduces the concept. In short, the idea is to identify projects that a stand-alone group of volunteers can do in partnership with an agency - not as rogue volunteers. Agencies are finding that with the right parameters and check ins, self-directed work groups can get a lot done with little risk or unwanted surprises. View their website and consider utilizing a new self-directed team.