G-P-S or M-A-P?

Most of you probably know how to use an M-A-P; some of you may also use a G-P-S to navigate your way. I think of MapQuest and Google maps as hybrid navigation tools. They allow me to see where I am relative to where I want to go. Sometimes maps give more information than I need, or they do not give the detail a directionally challenged driver like me requires to successfully get to my destination. Not to mention, I process information I see better than that I hear. With MapQuest and Google maps I can customize the route. The Volunteer Maryland Coordinators will submit their Work Plans this week. Over the next few weeks we will visit the Work Plan and take a look at how this tool can be used throughout the service year as a custom navigation system of sorts, much like MapQuest or Google maps.
The Work Plan incorporates all three aspects of the best practices Cycle of Volunteer Program Development. It begins with the “Big Picture.” The Volunteer Maryland Coordinator indentifies the critical community need addressed by their agency’s program. They examine the Service Site’s mission. Each Volunteer Maryland Coordinator also crafts a vision statement specific to the volunteer aspect of the program. Key staff and resources are indentified. An important element of this initial assessment is evaluation. The purpose of evaluation is to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program. An effective program results in staff empowered to act in a way that moves the program to a new level of excellence. Next the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator examines measurable outcomes. Program objectives should be measurable, logically follow one another and document “before and after” change. Finally, the strategies for establishing a program sustainable long after the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator completes their Service Year are identified. The Volunteer Maryland Coordinator will pour his heart and soul into the program over the nest 11 months and she wants to ensure it continues after she is gone.
Looking at the “Big Picture” part of the cycle of Volunteer Program Development gives the Volunteer Maryland Coordinator important information for planning the “Service Year Route.” He now has location and destination identified. Next time we’ll look at another aspect of the Work Plan, “the Foundation.” Stay tuned for “Where do I need to be and when?”

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