United Way of Thurston County leads the way for volunteer management in our community. "We know that the ways people engage as volunteers have changed significantly over the past decade, and we want to help local nonprofits develop best practices to recruit, train and retain these critical non-paid individuals who are essential to their mission-driven work," notes Stacy Hicks, Volunteer Programs Manager at United Way of Thurston County. "Working with other volunteer coordinator professional organizations like the Volunteer Administrators Network and Volunteer Centers of Washington, we are creating a network of support to increase our capacity to better lead and develop volunteer programs in a wide variety of organizations."
Hicks manages the South Sound Volunteer Coordinators group which started in 2013 with the purpose of providing networking and professional development for local volunteer coordinators and program managers. Anyone working with volunteers or seeking to engage volunteers is welcome to join. Each month, a speaker and topic is scheduled and people are encouraged to bring their lunch and join in conversation. Over the past year, speakers have included Ellen Short Sanchez from the Center for Community Based Learning at Evergreen State College, Miguel Pineda from Sidewalk discussing Volunteer Recruitment, Isaac Wagnitz from Senior Services of South Sound on the importance of advocacy and Linda Terry from STEP about teen volunteers.
Future events of South Sound Volunteer Coordinators include coordinated volunteer fairs at Timberline High School and the Department of Labor and Industries. A larger training event is being planned which will include a special guest speaker and a panel held on the challenges and opportunities that exist in the south sound for volunteers and coordinators.