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There are a multitude of circumstances that are causing a shift in the way people think and feel about volunteering today. As our volunteer programs seek to introduce; engage and mobilize new volunteers, it is important to consider what’s occurring in the world that is impacting the way people volunteer. While doing some research, I stumbled across an interesting article that discussed 4 New Volunteer Trends to Watch posted by Lori Halley in January of 2014, on wildapricot.com. This article stemmed from a webinar presented by Volunteer Match that presented insight on: Future Forecast: Four Big Shifts That Will Change Volunteerism for the Better, by Tobi Johnson. Volunteer management is different than it was in the past. The premise of this article focuses on four key trends that are affecting how we attract, engage, and support volunteers. Tobi Johnson identifies four key trends:

Trend #1: Advances in brain science & neuroleadership. Assessing the happiness of the volunteers and cultivating ways to promote productivity in the workspace to achieve higher results.

Trend #2: Discover in human performance & talent development. Capture the motivations and inspirations of human performance to enable volunteer managers to develop supportive trainings that recognize the skills and talents of their volunteers as they align with program goals.

Trend #3: Migration from solely virtual to virtual and mobile. Introducing volunteer cyber services may allow an organization to reach a larger audience. Technology is advancing and organizations can develop approaches to engage these volunteers in a host of ways that foster organizational structure.

Trend #4: The increasing importance of data. Organizations gather substantial data to manage volunteers and grow volunteer programs. It is about storytelling and reporting to show the impact and effectiveness of an organization.

Volunteer Maryland Coordinator Jessica Paguirigan is currently improving the social media awareness of the Frederick Department of Aging Meals On Wheels program. Directly addressing trend three listed above, she created a Linkedln page and Facebook page with 41 new followers. Theses platforms exist to connect potential and existing volunteers to the mission of the Meals on Wheels program.  Jessica has also started a blog. She recruited a volunteer with a journalism background to write blogs highlighting the volunteer program. Jessica mentions that a majority of the blog posts are informative however; she looks to expand more of the personable side of the volunteering with FDOA. Moreover, she is focusing on including volunteer spotlights, and client stories into the blogs to use more of a persuading appeal that will expand outreach.

Jessica’s ideas and incorporations of technology have proved to be successful. She is providing avenues for the FDOA Meals on Wheels program to engage volunteers virtually. Her volunteers appreciate the dedicated efforts to provide additional resources and new virtual opportunities.

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