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Screening ‘In’

Say the word “screening” and it conjures up images of grilling potential volunteers and looking into their murky past to see if they would be a threat to you or your clients. But while this may be a sad fact of Doing Good these days, it really is only one side of the process. You need to screen volunteers “in” as well as “out.”

When you screen someone “in” you:

  • learn what their skills are and where these can best be applied
  • gauge their temperament to see what tasks will suit them
  • find out how they measure success so you can match the “thank you” to that measuring stick

Screening “in” also allows you to see the potential volunteer’s deficits as something both they and you can resolve. If the volunteer lacks some information or skill needed to be effective, you can:

  • give them on-the-job training
  • find them training elsewhere
  • fit the information and skills development into your regular training

Bringing a new volunteer into your program is never simply a “yea” or “nay” proposition. By making their success your own you create a relationship where real giving is part of everyone’s job.


Nan Hawthorne

About the Contributor: Nan Hawthorne

Nan Hawthorne is a professional journalist and content developer living in the Seattle area and has been a practitioner, trainer, consultant, and writer in the profession of volunteer resource management for many years. She came to international attention as founder and coordinator of the CyberVPM online forum, a pioneering effort in using the Internet for professional networking in the field of volunteer resource management. She is the founder of International Volunteer Managers Appreciation Day, held every November 1.
Hawthorne is the author of three training kits, “Recognizing Volunteers Right from the Start,” “Building Better Relationships with Volunteers,” and “Managing Volunteers in Record Time.” She has written over 150 articles on volunteer management. In addition, she has written articles for eSight Careers Network, specifically regarding competitive careers for those who are, like herself, blind or partially sighted.
Hawthorne has received recognition for her work through a Dufort Award for Excellence in Volunteer Management, as Nonprofit Nuts and Bolts “Favorite Internet Resource [provider] on Volunteer Management,” the Victim-Assistance Online Award for Excellence, LA Times Pick of the Day, as well as having a biography included in “Who’s Who in America.”
Hawthorne is best known for her “what works?” approach to developing and managing volunteer programs.

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