Monday, April 09, 2007

April workshop #1 - report

On Saturday, April 7,People for Social Change held the first of its April workshop series. This session’s topic was volunteer management. Sarajean guided groups of participants through several activities related to an informative discussion concerning the issues new or old members of NGO/NPO groups would likely encounter while attempting to more effectively recruit and work with volunteer or interning members. A recurring theme during the discussion was how to be aware of the factors that may cause a new volunteer to gain or lose interest in working with a group. Participants discussed not just the practical factors that play into this part of the process, but the emotional as well. It is important to realize that in order for a volunteer or intern to work effectively within a group, they must develop a sense of meaning, or ownership in the work they are doing.

Sarajean’s discussion included an explanation of her two models of volunteer management, the proactive and reactive approaches. The prior was favored as being more effective and time-saving, as many potential problems and concerns can be circumvented by considering long-term possibilities ahead of time, but sometimes, due to the nature of the organization, it may be difficult to use much foresight, and a reactive system accepting of modification and reform may be necessary.

The avenues by which potential volunteers can be found and recruited were also discussed. Sarajean pointed out that while it may be easy to contact many people quickly by using internet mailing lists and the Western-style “speed-dating” event, perhaps the most important part of the recruitment process is the follow-up call, letting the volunteer know that you too are genuinely interested in them, and that their interest matters. People must be made to feel welcome. The workshop ended with each group using a group they had experience with as an example to go practice going through the process of designing a job description, recruiting new volunteers, and evaluating success. It was a good time and a valuable learning experience for all. We hope to see you at the next workshop!

The next workshop:
Saturday, April 14, 6-8:30pm
PSC Skills Build April Workshop Series - Theme #2:
Educating for social justice

Location: Onden Kumin Kaikan
Map and Access info: (English) (Japanese)
You can also access directly from mobile phones by sending a blank email to
Fee: 3000yen for one or 10,000yen for the series
Advanced registration requested - 4 participants minimum required by April 11.
To register, send contact information and workshop choices to

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