Plan the work then work the plan. That’s what happens each year when Volunteer Maryland Coordinators (VMC’S) and Peer Leaders are asked to submit work plans for their term of service. These work plans serve as an in-depth analysis of the year ahead and provide an opportunity and process for building staff investment and reaching consensus on the needs, desired outcomes, and necessary action steps and benchmarks needed for achieving success. In other words, these work plans are a way to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that things are progressing towards a successful outcome.
Creating a work plan comes with its many challenges and our VMC’s have risen to the task with fervor and determination. The hardest obstacle that the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators seem to be dealing with is the magnitude of the document. Now, it’s no surprise that a document as all inclusive as the work plan would be substantial in size. However, its volume stems from the fact that it accounts for, and measures, most of the components needed to create a sustainable volunteer program that has the potential for growth. As current VMC Ericka Blackwell put it, “It’s not so much that it’s hard, but rather it’s time consuming. Dedicating time to do it is a must.” Although the work plan may be cumbersome, within its pages VMC’s will find many of the tools needed to understand their impact at their sties as well as gain a deeper understanding of how their organization operates.
Through this process of creating and utilizing a work plan the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators are not just completing a document for the sake of completing a document. They are gaining knowledge about their sites by engaging with members and peers in a constructive and informative manner. I’m a firm believer of not reinventing the wheel and this is a perfect example of that situation. The VMC’s are able to listen to their co-workers past experiences in order to avoid the same mistakes or gain new insight. The work plans are also a way for the Volunteer Maryland Coordinators to see success and accomplishment during their term of service. It gives them the chance to recognize progress they have made as well as navigate the road they still have to travel.