East Central Meeting Notes - December 9, 2008 

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Volunteer Management Meeting
East Central Illinois Region
December 9, 2008
Decatur Public Library
Decatur, Illinois

National Center on Victims of Crime Study

Scott Niermann discussed the results of the National Center on Victims of Crime study:

  • 12% NPO's do NOT screen
  • 25% of NPO's do NOT do background checks
  • 66% of NPO's do NOT do fingerprints

The remedy for this is having

  • consistent policy
  • national checks
  • using all available resources
  • re-screening
  • maintaining a volunteer management program.

Web Resources and Items of Note

Resignations

Dave Lawrence announced that he is resigning as Commission Chair for the Serve Illinois Commission.

Oregon Involved

Dr. Brent Never discussed Oregon Involved. It features 20,000 NPO's. Illinois does not have an organized NPO information base.

Options for the next VMN meetings

  • Focus groups - Divide into groups according to interests. There will be a facilitator and an idea being discussed. Ultimately, you would return to the larger group and discussed what you learned.
  • Survey Assessment
  • Deliberative Polling - Deliberative polling is like a focus group. You identify challenges you are facing in discussions in break-out groups. Upon returning to the main group, you determine whether those are still challenges you face or if the matter has been resolved.

Volunteerism

Andrew Phillips noted the problem in defining what volunteerism is.

Survey on Assessments

Annie Hernandez of The Lumpkin Family Foundation discussed the survey on assessments she did and the results of which were in the most recent e-blast that went out December 17, 2008. If you would like to be added to the e-blast mailing list, please contact the Lumpkin Foundation.

She also mentioned Web2.0 trainings happening in January 29th at the Crossroads Workforce Investment Lab in Mattoon and February 4th at the University of Illinois, Springfield Campus.

4-H Illinois

Sheri Seibold of 4-H Youth Development has a 5-year rotation for background checks. She also does a workshop on volunteer screening.

Screenings

In 4-H in Illinois, anyone who works directly with the youth MUST BE SCREENED.

4-H Youth Development does the following in the screening process:

  • require a volunteer application with three references (character, work, and family)
  • check of the sex offender registry list.
  • check the Children and Family Services to make sure that they have not been involved in abuse and neglect cases.
  • Check with the Illinois State Police to identify whether or not there is a history of DUI, passing bad checks, embezzlement, etc.
  • If volunteers drive, they require a copy of their insurance card and driver's license, annually.
  • DMV check
  • Credit Checks

You may have to look at all of these checks to determine placement. Having one of these checks reflect negatively may not prevent volunteering - it may just modify it. For example, if you have a record indicating bad check writing or embezzlement, you would not be in charge of finances for an organization.

It is important to match volunteer skills with the program needs. In reaching out to new volunteers, screening is important and every 5 years, re-screening is done.

On the application, they ask if they have been convicted of a felony. They person may say no, but not remember something decades ago. Doing the background checks merely provides security and may or may not affect the volunteer opportunity.

Sheri Seibold recommends books by Linda Graff. Information can be found on the blue sheet she handed out at the meeting.

Sheri remarked that fingerprinting is costly, but if need be and other information is not available, they do fingerprint analysis.

Mike Hughes - Illinois Attorney General's Office

Mike Hughes is a Community Outreach Coordinator with the Illinois Attorney General's office. He brings their services to the community. His office regulates NPO's and monitors and regulates over 27,000 charitable trust organizations in the state of Illinois.

Only you can determine your risk. Illinois leads the nations with 92-97% compliance with the sex offender registry.

Mike Hughes recommends recruiting 2 members to your NPO board to help assess liability:

  • A NPO or Insurance attorney
  • An insurance person

Not everyone can afford a lawyer, and Dave Lawrence pointed out an alternative to hiring a lawyer. He reminded us that there are attorneys out there doing pro-bono work.

Mr. Hughes also recommends empowering boards to help make policies ad avoid conflicts of interest.

He also suggests that you call the attorney general's office if you have any questions or need any assistance.

Hughes recommends we do what we think is necessary to protect the organization. Do the background check that correlates to the work that needs to be done, i.e. credit checks for fundraisers, C.A.N.T.S. checks for those working with youths, etc. Individualize your plan to fit your organization.

What if there is an open volunteer activity and you cannot police all of the assembled volunteers?

Answer: A risk management plan should then be in effect. It is important to also look at the risk to the property, public, your organization, etc. Make a checklist and then identify strategies and share those risks with other organizations involved. Regarding risk, you should try to avoid risk, mitigate risk, and ultimately share risk. Look at the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.

Tony Adams of Illinois Red Cross commented that they do immediate background checks. Pre-affiliation is becoming more important in disaster recovery and response efforts.

Julie Pangrac remarked that the University of Illinois Extension does a Risk Management Workshop. She also recommended contacting Sheri Seibold or your county or regional extension office. They can provide templates for training.

Benita Gay commented that the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation has professional complaints listed, even those who did not have formal complaints lodged against them.

Future Topics

Topics for the Future were discussed:

  • Spontaneous volunteer management
  • Research
  • Conference planning
  • Disaster response

It was suggested the VMN develop work groups going into 2009 so the VMN can be a sustainable process.

Julie Pangrac commented that HSAC (Human Service Agency Consortium) has an executive board that has been planning different activities. They have monthly meetings that take place over lunch in Decatur on the 2nd Wednesday of the month.

HSAC

  • offers professional development at reduced prices.
  • has an awards banquet that recognizes outstanding people in the community.
  • HSAC has a newsletter called The Link.

Volunteer Opportunities

Scott Niermann put up a sign up sheet for volunteerism opportunities. The areas that he bulleted are:

  • Technology / Web
  • Volunteer Awards
  • Grants (Statewide)
  • Regional Conference (monthly)
  • Research
  • VMN Programs

The possible site and time for the next VMN meeting was discussed. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum was mentioned as a possible location for the next meeting.

The proposed time frame to meet is May/June 2009. It was mentioned that there should be evaluations that the VMN meetings. Scott stated that he has the perfect template for that and would implement that in the future.

The East Central Illinois Volunteerism Conference planning committee met briefly after the meeting to plan for their next meetings.

Submitted by: Becky Stroud, AmeriCorps*VISTA

 
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