Step 4 (continued). Membership - Volunteers, Advanced

Service programs and internships are a key way to expand the capacity of your group and increase community involvement in your efforts. In order to find volunteers who are willing to make larger commitments, your organization may want to participate in formal volunteer programs, such as those listed below:

The Big Sweep cleanup in the City of Frederick, MD's portion of the Monocacy Watershed.
  • AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects more than 70,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet the United States' critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. It includes two programs:
    • AmeriCorps*State and National supports a broad range of local service programs that engage thousands of Americans in intensive service to meet critical community needs.
    • AmeriCorps*VISTA provides full-time members to community organizations and public agencies to create and expand programs that build capacity and ultimately bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty.
  • Senior Corps connects Americans over 55 with the people and organizations that need them most.
  • The RSVP program connects volunteers with service opportunities in their communities that match their skills and availability. Volunteers provide a wide array of expertise in areas such as building houses, immunizing children, enhancing the capacity of nonprofit organizations, and improving and protecting the environment.
  • Internships are carefully monitored volunteer experiences in which an individual has educational goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience. Internships provide students (undergraduate and graduate) the opportunity to explore career options, gain valuable experience in their field, and meet learning goals. Interns provide organizations assistance with programs and special projects. They bring energy and enthusiasm to the office. They may also bring knowledge of a specific field, such as marketing or strong computer skills.

Interns and other people participating in these programs should be hired to fulfill a specific role in your organization. They should have a supervisor who has sufficient time to both oversee the project and provide the mentee with feedback and guidance. Write a job description for the position outlining specific duties, desired skills, length of time, and compensation. The compensation for internships can be hourly wages, a stipend, or credits. Contact the career center at your local university or community college to help recruit candidates.

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