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I attended an NCHVP (formerly NCSDVS) conference for the first time in 2014. Over those three days, I drank in the advice offered by our various presenters. Two speakers in particular, Tammy Behnke, CVA and Doug Dell Pietra impressed upon me the importance of data collection as a means of communicating the impact of volunteers in the hospital’s over-all mission.
Coincidentally, after I returned from the conference, I was asked to put together a Volunteer Services Department dashboard. To be honest, I didn’t even know what a dashboard was much less what it should contain. Thanks to Google and Youtube, I was able to create a put together a “Dashboards For Dummys” course for myself.
For those who don’t know, a dashboard is an overview of the most important work of a department or project. Usually presented in graph form (resembling a car dashboard), it is a way of presenting a wide variety of information at a glance.
My first efforts were poor - perhaps comical - but they helped me to convert the intangible world of volunteer service into information that our Administrative team could understand. By learning to “speak their language”, I was also learning how to create opportunities for Volunteer Services to be integrated into facility-wide initiatives.
Here are some of the goals which I have included in my dashboards:
· Current year volunteer hours vs. prior year
· Placement vs Resignation
· Volunteer Openings and Assignment by department per week
· Handwashing compliance audits
· Volunteer satisfaction metrics
· Gift Shop sales and profits
· Length of volunteer on-boarding time by days
· Volunteer Service/Gift Shop productivity metrics
· Volunteer placements by departments and locations
· Patient satisfaction scores in key volunteer areas
I have always made an effort to include information in these dashboards that demonstrate the desire of the Volunteer Services Department to share in the hospital- wide efforts to promote efficiency, patient experience and facility safety. It is an opportunity to steer the conversation about the future of the Volunteer Service Department and to drive home the message that volunteers share in the work necessary to ensure the overall success of our hospital.
Ann Taylor, Director Volunteer Services/Gift Shop
Carolina Medical Center, Pineville
One thing I've learned most in my 12 year role as volunteer coordinator at Duke Hospital Auxiliary is that building relationships with volunteers is your only hope of retention. In this volunteer world, many different organizations are competing to gain volunteers for their skills and time. I've noticed that the more I know and understand my volunteer's "story", you are able to communicate with them better and build on to their 'life story". Volunteers want to make connections whether it is socially or emotionally . In a hospital, there is quite a bit of turnover with the patients and staff but, one thing that can remain constant is the volunteer coordinator. The coordinators see the volunteer's weekly faithfulness efforts and acknowledge their presence in such a busy place where faces could get lost.
In conclusion, they are most likely here because they like you. Retention is focused around you so be nice and you will keep the help your hospital needs. :-)
I can’t believe it is summer time already and for the world of many volunteer professionals that means…..junior volunteers!! While we all know that our junior volunteer programs are such a good opportunity for young people to see inside the world of healthcare and help shape their future career decisions, we also know how much extra work these programs require. I don’t know about you all, but I am always looking for new placement areas, projects, educational experiences, etc to make the program more valuable for the students who want to spend their summer with us.
Over the years I have found a few ideas that have proven successful for me and since most of these ideas were learned through our NCHVP family, I thought I would share for anyone looking for new ideas.
Anyway, just a few ideas to add a little fun and meat to your youth volunteer program this summer. I would love to hear your ideas too.