Archive for April, 2012


Posted on April 18, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

In 1974, then President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer Week, which is usually the 3rd week of April each year.  Points of Light Institute (PoL (  and its volunteer arm, HandsOn Network ( ), have been sponsoring National Volunteer Week for two decades. Anne O’Neill, media relations officer for PoL in Atlanta, Georgia stated, “National Volunteer Week is about celebrating people doing extraordinary things through service.  During the week, we focus on honoring the people and organizations dedicated to taking action and addressing problems in their communities.”

Since its inception, National Volunteer Week has been supported by local governments, state governors, members of Congress and all United States presidents.  In his Volunteer Week 2012 proclamation, President Barack Obama stated, “Service is a lifelong pursuit that strengthens the civic and economic fabric of our Nation. With every hour and every act, our lives are made richer, our communities are drawn closer, and our country is forged stronger by the dedication and generous spirit of volunteers.”  ( )

In case you were wondering just how valuable volunteerism is to your nonprofit organization, here are a few figures to consider:  Since 1980, the value of one volunteer hour has increased $14.33, from $7.49.  In 2010, of American states and territories, the District of Columbia had the highest value at $33.61.  Among the 50 states, Connecticut had the highest value at $27.77.  Also in 2010, about 26.3 percent of the U.S. adult population (62.8 million people) volunteered 8.1 billion hours.  In terms of dollars, that’s $173 billion!

This year, National Volunteer Week is April 15th through April 21st.  If your organization hasn’t already shown appreciation for its volunteers as part of National Volunteer Week, there is still time!  And if you’re at a loss for ideas, PoL has developed a resource guide to help you.  ( )  Take time to recognize and thank the volunteers who add value to your organization.

For a free consultation and more information on developing an effective volunteer workforce call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at 630.830.4443 or visit our website at Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Social Networking Sites: They’re Not Just Social Anymore

Posted on April 2, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

People have family and friends scattered across the country, perhaps around the world.  They need a way to stay connected, make plans for class reunions, share pictures of their latest vacation, get recipes for dinner parties, organize wedding plans and discuss current events.  Enter Facebook ( )and Pinterest (  Mark Zuckerberg and Ben Silbermann, founders of Facebook and Pintrest, respectively, created these sites as social networking (SNW) tools.  Pinterest’s mission states that its “goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting.”  Similarly, “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”  Nonprofit organizations have also found SNW as a way to stay connected with donors, volunteers, employees and board members.  But what was once a purely social tool has now become a tool used by businesses and organizations to screen candidates and potential new hires for employment.

A recent research study found that using Facebook profiles was a fairly accurate method for assessing specific personality traits which are believed to be indicators of future good job performance. ( ).  The study also found that using SNW’s may be less time-intensive than interview-based personality assessments as well as more cost-effective than more traditional methods.  As a nonprofit organization, this may sound appealing.  A less time-intensive and more cost-effective method for screening new hires could translate into more financial resources available to advance the organization’s cause.  But before your organization resorts to SNW’s as a human resources screening tool, there are a few things you should know.

Information contained on an applicant’s SNW site may include other organizations or causes with whom the applicant is affiliated.  With the exception of a very narrow exemption for religious organizations and schools, businesses and organizations must be careful not to exclude or discriminate against an applicant for being involved in an organization or aligned with a cause whose members qualify as a protected class under state or federal civil rights laws.  And beyond browsing through a prospective hires SNW site, an organization treads into even more dangerous waters by requesting or requiring an applicant to provide passwords or to log on to a SNW site as part of the interview process.

Legislators in at least three states, Maryland, Illinois and New Jersey, have already started drafting legislation to ban this “huge invasion of privacy” says, New Jersey Assemblyman John Burzichelli.  In addition to specific prohibitions against employers requiring SNW information, some legislative bills are even proposing fines that could amount to thousands of dollars for each violation.  Catherine Crump, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, stated that “Where the government is the employer, people have Fourth Amendment rights not to be searched.  And to the extent that employers are requiring employees to hand over this information, one could argue that it’s an unconstitutional search.”

In the meantime, the practice of browsing SNW sites and even requiring persons to log onto the SNW site during an interview is legal as well as time and cost-effective.  But the potential for legal liability may be great if your organization decides to use this method of screening employment candidates.  And in the end, this method may prove to be extremely costly to your organizations reputation and existence.

For a free consultation and more information on effective screening and interviewing strategies call the HR4NON-PROFITS team at 630.830.4443 or visit our website at Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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