Excellence and Expertise Task Force

PRESENT: Susan Hawthorne (chair), Dale Rowley, Pam Proulx-Curry, Veronica Kupferman, Lisa Morin

Staff: M. Ashmore, K. Preecs

The meeting opened at 1:30 pm by teleconference.

1. Welcome & Introductions- SUE

  • adjustments to the agenda
    • None
    • The group welcomed Lisa Morin to her first time with the group and shared intros

2. Prof Development Fund Application (s)- MICHAEL

  • Summary: Volunteer Maine, the state service commission, supports professional development of managers of volunteers by awarding funds to cost-share their educational or training activities.  Examples of supported activities are online courses, educational conferences, seminars, workshops, or preparation for professional certifications that relate to the Competencies for Managers of Volunteers (PDF).  Under a cost-share award, recipients must cover at least 25% of the expenses and the maximum award is $750
    • No applications received, next deadline 4-30-2021
    • Group Brainstormed Strategies to increase awareness?
      • Timing of announcement
      • PPC- Orgs are struggling so it may be a COVID issue
      • DR – people have checked out, not doing as much. Volunteer counts are lower, local town volunteers
      • DR  also questioned whether there a need
      • VK -- Combination of orgs not doing as much and it is hard to reach the appropriate audience.  Now would be a good time to do training
      • SH -- Our application is easy but organizational red tape can be a challenge
      • SH -- Can we get info to HR people or Leadership audience?
      • LM -- Marketing to people who manage volunteers instead of volunteer manager

3. Status updates:

  A. Volunteer Manager Convening’s - KELSEY

    • Beginning stages.  Working on Survey with UMO going out to volunteer managers around the state.  Research project is on volunteer organization response to COVID.
    • Who is still meeting? PAVA & GWAVA, Others?
    • School-based – KP will connect with VK. Would University Volunteer staff make sense to include?  LM – sees some value; same philosophy around service learning.  VK there are similar goals.  SH – consider including community folks as well on some schedule so community agencies know what is happening at the school-based meetings; cross coordination
    • PPC – higher ed would welcome more opportunities to connect with community

  B. Maine Ready – MICHAEL/KELSEY

    • Group discussed Maine Responds import and DHHS request re: Vaccination support
    • Also described new DOE request re: School volunteer support

  C. Service Enterprise Cohort

    • No new information

4. Recommendations from BZ’s report and provide input into the grantee training curricula  - SUE

Group shared a variety of observations related to the recommendations in the report and provided initial thoughts and input on training?  MA shared evolution of training and provided some info on approaches that had been tried before in relation to suggestions offered

Immediate take aways: need to review new grantee onboarding practices and risk assessment models

LM – has been through this; program failing because of loss of community partners.  Large process with UWEM – grantees not getting to/submitting successful outcomes.  Need to know they can ask for help.  Anxiety around asking for help.

PPC – shared a past model for onboarding. She used to attend a full week training ahead of the grant.  Had full view of everything ahead of time. Also observed that a related “handbook” was helpful.  Group discussed the balancing one week intensive with ongoing training.

Other observations:

  • There are some absolutely critical compliance elements; failure can cost you money
  • Success in writing outcomes is critical
  • handbook space for individualizing
  • Teach people how to ask for help – practice in training
  • Is it possible to match new programs staff with mentors?

March Agenda input:

  • More complete view of current training of grantees and available resources
    • Additional recommendations from committee regarding BZ report
  • Service Enterprise cohort status
  • Report out on virtual VM groups
  • Fall conference planning initial discussions – start-up of Committee