Category Archives: Managing Volunteers

Volunteering/Volunteer Recruitment Made Easy for Students and Nonprofits

Monica Horner
Monica Horner

Recently, our coaches learned about an exciting new student volunteer project and transcript service called VolunteerCrowd. CEO and Founder, Amy von Kaenel introduced her latest development designed to help middle school through college-age students find, schedule and track volunteer opportunities for FREE!

Students are able to uncover meaningful opportunities ranging from a few hours volunteering at a local shelter to a summer-long internship. The best part is students are able to match their interests and volunteer needs with a project in their community.

Volunteering is one of four critical factors when applying for admission to college. Recently, VolunteerCrowd looked at 79 Orange County public high schools and found there are approximately 54,000 students from schools who require volunteer hours in search of over 460,000 collective hours in a given year.  The need for volunteer projects is great. Each year, students find it more and more difficult to differentiate themselves when competing against students who have equally as high GPAs and perfect test scores. With the new app, VolunteerCrowd makes student volunteering easy and transparent.

Volunteering can make a unique contribution to college and career success that can’t be taught in the classroom.  Evidence supports that social-emotional education is falling short of preparing students for higher education and employment.  A 2018 Bloomberg Next Study reported that many graduates have deficient skills in emotional intelligence, complex reasoning and negotiation, and persuasion. VolunteerCrowd can deliver the relevant opportunities students need to learn and practice soft skills and positively impact college completion rates and workforce success.

On the flip side, nonprofits can take advantage of the ease and convenience of VolunteerCrowd’s recruitment process by sending projects to, and later this year posting volunteer opportunities on VolunteerCrowd. Students are carefully matched with projects they are passionate about. VolunteerCrowd will notify students when a match is made. Project details will be shared with students and reminders will be automatically sent. Once a project is completed, nonprofits can verify hours.  Later this year, organizations will be able to acknowledge a job well done by providing strength and skill endorsements related to student performance thus providing individual assessments that colleges like to see.

Below are some of the many ways VolunteerCrowd assists nonprofits with volunteer engagement throughout the year and helps students meet their community service goals:

  • Find volunteer organizations of personal interest. Request an alert when new projects become available.
  • Search for/post volunteer projects by location and zip code.
  • Receive reminders, request projects and get alerts when new organizations post projects
  • Allow students to qualify for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.  VolunteerCrowd became a certifying organization in July.
  • Engage volunteers in meaningful experiences they can become passionate about.
  • Invite friends to join the cause and volunteer together.
  • Review your community service experiences and develop leadership skills through projects.
  • Let your performance stand out by requesting recommendations from organizations you serve.

Later this fall, VolunteerCrowd will unveil their volunteer transcript and portfolio service allowing students to create an individual portfolio showcasing total hours by cause, top organizations served, milestones and even recommendations.

To learn more, go to or download the app at the App Store.

Author: Monica Horner, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Does Your Organization Have Committed Owners or Disengaged Renters?

Namita Kutty

Does your non-profit have owners who view the business as their own and go over and beyond their job description or renters who just get by viewing the job as a regular 9-5 chore?

Who are your Owners, Renters and Vandals?

According to a recent Gallup poll, only 33% of workers in the United States are really engaged in their jobs which means they bring their full self to work and are Owners.

51% of employees are disengaged Renters and bring themselves and their skills to work but may not really put in their full heart into it.  Vital to your organization, but they are there for money and view it as a 9-5 job. A more concerning note is that 16% are actively disengaged and alarmingly a small portion of them might even end up as up as Vandals as per Cueinc*. Vandals are employees who don’t just not care about your organization but may also derail it and your other engaged team members with their negativity and personal agendas.

Does it matter if employees are engaged?
Here are some metrics from Gallup on the difference that engaged employees make :

Highly engaged business units:

  • Realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity
  • Achieve a 10% increase in customer metrics and a 20% increase in sales.
  • Overall, it can result in 21% greater profitability

First, how do you identify a highly engaged employee ?

An engaged employee doesn’t just view it as a job or a gig. They will go over and beyond the job description to work towards the mission of the non-profit. She not just believes in the mission, but is an evangelist ! Example : An employee works in a hotel and as he is walking down the corridor, he spots an piece of paper on the floor. Will he pick it up and throw it in a bin, or kick it under the carpet or will he throw something else down and walk away?

Five quick tips on increasing engagement and having more owners :

1. Invest in what motivates individual employees :

Employees feel most engaged when they feel cared for. So, your first step is to identify what motivates an individual employee. And then cater to them by developing individual development plan & reward for each of them.

2. Help them grow:

Radical Candour by Kim Scott shares a great way to give feedback by caring personally but challenging directly. Which means giving direct feedback while also building a personal connect and rapport with the employee thereby giving guidance that’s kind and clear, specific and sincere.

3. Help your employees shine :

Employees are most engaged when they enjoy their jobs. An efficient way to do this, is to  play by their strengths. Identify what they are best at and ensure that they have opportunities to shine by they doing what comes naturally to them.

4. Freedom to make big changes :

A renter can change the drapes, but can’t break down walls can she? A owner can. Give your employees the freedom to make big calls and have them take the accountability for it.

5. Rewarding & Celebrating your owners :

Do the promotion and big increments only go to your renters who have been there forever or do you proactively identify your upcoming owners and reward them?

Wishing you all the very best in your quest to increase your business owners and weed out the vandals ! Au revior.

Source :

Community for Positive Employee Relations – Gallup –                    
Radical Candour by Kim Scott

Author: Namita Kutty, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Working Remotely

Robin Noah
Robin Noah
The option to work outside the office is a dream come true for employees who want better working options, however, managing remote employees can quickly become a boss’s worst nightmare. Remote working, telecommuting, flexible working – thanks to the wonders of technology, is increasingly finding new ways to get the job done. The ability to telecommute, whether full time or on occasion, has become an increasingly common workplace perk. In fact, according to one Gallup study 43.

It has been said that allowing people to work from home attracts and retains top talent in a competitive market, but there are factors to consider.

1. Eligibility: One of the first things any employer needs to consider when deciding on a remote work assignment is whether the employees’ attitudes, work ethics and personalities align with the company’s expectations of telecommuting. Managers should accommodate on a case-by-case basis keeping in mind what’s best for the company, its team members and the project at hand.  Sometimes looking at the employees profile will give the best clue when looking for candidates or responding to a request.

Take some time  to cover all areas of remote working and create a job description that includes the nature of the position, how long a person has been at the position, past job performance and how frequently a staff member can telecommute, i.e., full time, once a week, etc.

2. Expectations:  For geographically dispersed teams, or in cases where remote work helps, accommodation for family schedules and obligations, official “business hours” may vary from person to person.  However, regardless of their work hours, employees also need to be held accountable for their assigned jobs. “It is important to provide very specific remote work guidelines and policies for employees to review and acknowledge in a telecommuting arrangement.

Workers who do not meet these expectations risk losing the trust of leadership and sidelining their team. Minimum considerations:

  • Clear expectations with employees
  • Adhering to company expectations
  • Available during office hours
  • Meet deadlines and complete projects with excellence
  • Maintain communication with their manager and co-workers.

Other concerns that may be addressed

  • Security of company owned equipment
  • Accountability and visibility
  • Security – both physical, and digital
  • Maintaining boundaries between work life and home life

3. Equipment and Cybersecurity

Enabling employees to work remotely opens up the likelihood that they’ll use their work devices to communicate via unsecured public networks. Password-protect all business devices; make sure that data going out from those devices is encrypted. Keep a current inventory of all devices and make sure each one has its GPS tracking turned on. Additionally, install technology to remotely wipe data from any device that has been lost or stolen.”

4. Communication methods: With the appropriate use of communications technology, companies can also ensure their culture remains intact, even with full-time telecommuters.  It’s wise to explicitly state that remote work is a privilege that can be revoked if it’s discovered that an employee is not meeting his or her expectations while working outside the office.

This article is informational. Please see a labor law attorney for any questions you may have.

Author: Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

How Valuable Is Time To Your Employees?

Dave Blankenhorn

As our day to day lives have become busier and technology has eroded the line between work hours and personal time, many people are working longer hours than ever before. From cell phones to laptops people are now accessible at virtually any hour of the day. The result is that people feel stressed and lack more free time.

When it comes to work, it turns out that giving people more freedom can foster greater productivity and creativity among employees. This can include such things as more vacation time or short breaks within the workday. Companies such as Netflix have gone so far to introduce vacation policies allowing people to take off whatever time they need. Interestingly, these companies have found most do not abuse such freedom and tend to be happier and perhaps more loyal. At the least companies should encourage people to use all of their allotted vacation time.

Another way to give employees more time is to allow them some flexibility to run the occasional errand during the workday. Some find it hard to juggle everything they need to do on the weekends.

For people who run on “auto pilot” when it comes to repetitive tasks or routines mixing things up can have a big impact. It forces them to become more engaged in what else is around them.

In our rat race world finding ways to ease the stress on our staff can pay big dividends.

Author: Dave Blankenhorn, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Leadership Is About Coaching – Here’s How To Do It Well

Michael Kogutek, nonprofit management coach
Michael Kogutek

Michael Bungay Stanier is a Canadian coach. He is the author of “ The Coaching Habit.” He is one of my favorite people on coaching.

The following piece of his is terrific.” If you’re a leader or a manager, you probably wear a lot of hats. You’re a project manager, delegator, spokesperson, and most importantly, a coach.

But the problem is that no one ever tells you how to be an effective coach, or even what that means. Are you supposed to act like a sports coach? A therapist? Perform some bizarre (and arcane) HR ritual?

The answer is none of the above. In fact, it’s about making one tiny change to your behavior, one that will bring about significant impact. Being a coach is about being more curious, and being slow to give advice and take action.

But the truth is, most of us are advice-giving maniacs. We do not listen as much as we should. Being curious involves asking questions. The best question is What else?? It is based on the understanding that the first answer someone gives is never their only answer.

Coaching is an essential leadership behavior. Curiosity is the driving force in being more coach-like. Questions fuel curiosity. Remember as a leader and a manager, your job is not to have all of the answers-but to guide your employees to come up with the right ones.”

Author:  Michael Kogutek, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

“One Minute Mentoring” Book Review

Michael Kogutek, nonprofit management coach

Michael Kogutek


“One Minute Mentoring” Ken Blanchard & Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Harper Collins (2017)

This small and simple book packs a punch. Ken Blanchard, author of the best-selling “One Minute Manager”, and Claire Diaz-Oritz bring much wisdom to the table for managers and prospective mentors to take in. This book is for both mentors and mentees. Mentoring has been around for a long time but only recently surfaced as a leadership development tool in the business world. This book informs prospective mentors how to, including a systematic format. Blanchard talks about ways to keep the mentoring on track and focused. He explains what an initial meeting looks like for a mentor and mentee, “A successful first meeting with a potential mentor or mentee puts the personal before the tactical. The essence supersedes the form. Do your values match?? Do your personalities click?? Does the conversation flow??” The authors conclude with a discussion of comparing and contrasting the differences between coaching and mentoring. I recommend this book as a primer on mentoring and how it can be a game changer for all of us.

Author:  Michael Kogutek, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Form 990 Can Be a Public Relations Tool

Adrianne Geiger Dumond


Many nonprofits consider the IRS Form 990 to be a dreary necessity at tax time. In the 2008 tax year, major revisions were made to the Form. Nonprofits have been slow to realize the impact the revisions may have for donors and the public.  The diverse information provided in the new Form is now available to the public and can be found online free at at such sites as, and

In a recent article by Michael Wyland, an author and member of the editorial advisory board for the Nonprofit Quarterly, Wyland points out the advantages to providing accurate and complimentary information on the Form.[1] The Form displays not only financial information (assets and liabilities), but also facts that address governance, programs, and fundraising. His article shows a breakdown of the Form with its schedules and functional area relevance, because not every nonprofit completes the same schedules. However, he points out that most of the 990 parts and schedules still address the multiple categories of governance, programs, and fundraising.

As Wyland notes,”not all organizations complete all parts of the Form, and not all file each and every schedule. For example, while most 501(c)(3) public charities must file Schedule B (Schedule of Contributions), it is considered confidential and not disclosed to the public. Private foundations, on the other hand, must disclose and make it publicly available.”

Never the less, ALL Form 990’s do reveal to the public governance (governing bodies and management, policies, and disclosures), programs, and fundraising. A potential donor may look for efficiencies and financial data, but still seek the charity that meets his/her passion for a particular service or need. A potential volunteer may consider who manages the organization and where they can fit in. It is important for all nonprofit staffs and boards to be aware of the public exposure, but also the opportunity to be more advantageously promoted to the public.

[1] Your 990: What Nonfinancial Matters Does It Reveal to the Media and the Public, Michael Wyland, Nonprofit Quarterly, November 17, 2017

Author:  Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

No-cost Nonprofit Training Opportunities

Bob Cryer (NPRO) is a website of 43 interactive E-learning curriculums and 385 online classes and videos on a wide variety of nonprofit best practices, all at no cost to any user.  I took one of the curriculums (Management Essentials) and was impressed with the content and interactive presentation. More importantly, sixty thousand people have used the site in the past year, and six thousand new users join each month.

In my opinion, the more people in a nonprofit who know nonprofit best practices, the more effective that nonprofit is likely to be. NPRO best practice trainings can be accessed at no cost, at any time, from anywhere, for as long a session as the user has time for at that moment. It is, by far, one of the most convenient and cost effective methods that I am aware of for acquiring know-how in nonprofit best practices.

Here is a sampling of a few of NPRO’s most popular online courses, videos and curriculums:

  • Managing Expectations This 8-minute micro-learning online course on managing expectations contains a 3 minute video, quiz, summary document and additional short audio clips. Managing expectations is a crucial part of any professional relationship, from your colleagues to your customers.
  • Managing Your Boss This 8-minute micro-learning online course on managing your boss contains a 2 minute video, quiz, summary document and additional short audio clips. Your boss can have a big impact on the way you do your work, but your actions can also influence their management style.
  • Introduction to Proposal Writing This 27 minute video is designed for anyone involved in the proposal writing process. Course Objectives: • Understand the basic components of writing and submitting a project proposal
  • Introduction to Finding Grants This 30 minute video is designed for anyone seeking to better understand the grant-seeking process. Course Objectives: • Identify the 10 most important things you need to know about grant-seeking • Understand the primary misconceptions about grant-seeking
  • Project Management Essentials – Part A This 20-minute online course is designed for anyone responsible for managing projects and/or programs. Objectives for Part A and Part B: Define the life cycle of a project and structure it around milestones, Control your project using flexible tools, Create a plan for day-to-day project management.
  • Grantsmanship Essentials Pack In this 1 hour and 50 minute curriculum from the Foundation Center, you will learn the basics on how to find grant programs and funders as well as how to write a proposal that aligns with the funder’s criteria. Objectives: To understand how to identify funders aligned with your organizational mission and cause, To articulate what is required in receiving and managing grant funds, To identify the best practices for writing a successful grant proposal.

Please visit to learn more.

Author:  Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Facilitation Skills for the Leader and Workplace Technology

Adrianne Geiger Dumond



Facilitation skills can be used in many settings – running Board/Staff meetings, strategic planning, problem solving meetings, even conducting performance evaluations. The mission of facilitation is to disclose the facts, and the truth, which means the leader, must be objective and unbiased. If this demeanor cannot be attained, it is better to contract for an outside facilitator.

In a March 13, 2017 issue of the Wall Street Journal there was a whole section on WORKPLACE TECHNILOGY, “How is AI (Artificial Intelligence) Transforming the Workplace”. The premise is that in the future managers will decide who to hire, how employees might work together on special teams, how they might be evaluated – even predicting how long employees will stay or leave – based on the analysis of mounds of data and a search for certain patterns. This is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential.

Working on this article about the use of facilitation skills led me to conclude that the future must be even more open, transparent with how people work together in this new world. With leaders facilitating how decisions are made, goals are determined, may help to retain trust and faith in the leadership and ultimately the organization. Here are some tips for successful facilitation practices.

Getting started: Setting expectations is an important part of getting started. The facilitator should state the purpose of the meeting and what outcomes might be expected at the end of working together. If confidentiality is an issue, the leader must ensure that ‘what’s said in this room, stays in the room’. If the facilitator is the boss, it is critical to state that she/he will be non-judgmental and unbiased in the discussion.

Asking good questions: Asking good questions takes skill and practice, especially for the facilitator. They must further the truth and circumstances, but remain non-judgmental and unbiased. Open-ended questions are a good start. For example, it is better to ask, “What led up to this situation”, than “How did Jane get involved in this situation?” But the follow-on questions can be a challenge. Here are some examples:

  • Can you tell us more?
  • Can you give us an example?
  • What led you to that conclusion?
  • What should we do next?

Facts and Evidence: The purpose of good facilitation is to put the audience at ease. They must have enough facts to understand the subject and can make an educated conclusion about the decision.

Final expectations: Facilitators owe it to an audience to summarize the discussions and answer the question “where do we go from here?” After taking time to elicit an audience’s opinions and knowledge, it is respectful of their time to be clear about outcomes. They really expect that.

I urge you to read the WSJ section. It is startling – especially for privacy issues. Successful working relationships are built on trust and respect. The future workplace rules will need to consider inhuman data and maintain respect, trust and privacy – a challenge for good facilitation skills.

Click here to learn more about our no-cost coaching program to help you develop your nonprofit leadership and management skills.

Author:  Adrianne Geiger DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County,

Rethinking Motivation

Michael Kogutek

Michael Kogutek

Historically we have come to believe in the “carrot and stick” approach to rewarding our work force. Time for another look!

Harry Harlow, Ph.D., was a professor at the University of Wisconsin. In 1949, he conducted an experiment with monkeys to study motivation. The monkeys were given a puzzle to solve and were not rewarded in any way. On the 14th day, the monkeys became quite adept in solving the puzzle code. Harlow concluded that the drive of the monkeys were internally motivated. This study went virtually unnoticed for about 20 years.

Edward Deci,Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. Deci in the 1960’s replicated Harlow’s study with human subjects. He corroborated Harlow’s findings and advanced the Self Determination Theory furthering the notion of intrinsic motivation.

Daniel Pink in 2009, in a book titled “Drive” reviews the literature on motivation in the business world that includes the above two studies. He puts forth a new view on the nature of rewards in human motivation. He states that we are internally motivated by three principles: (1) Autonomy – People want to have freedom and control over their work. (2) Mastery – People want to be more proficient at what they do. (3) Purpose – People desire to belong to something bigger than them. Pink mentions companies like 3M, Atlassia, Meddius and Zappos taking the above principles and applying them to their corporate milieu.

It is time to consider the role of intrinsic rewards in our managerial world of non-profit organizations.

Author:  Michael Kogutek, Executive Coaches of Orange County,