Welcome to the first quarterly United Way Volunteer eNewsletter for organizations involved in volunteer engagement in the UWDATS region. Our goal is to provide helpful best practice tips, volunteer management resources, and highlights about volunteer opportunities. We want to make this a helpful resource for all the organizations our Volunteer Center serves. We welcome your suggestions and ideas!

Tina Hasken
United Way Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
Effective July 1st, callers from Delaware, Dubuque, and Jackson counties contacting the free 2-1-1 information and referral helpline will be served 24/7 by the United Way
2-1-1 call center. Our nationally accredited Contact Center provides Information and Referral Specialists to answer calls, make assessments and offer appropriate referrals to local community health and human service programs.

It is critical for all nonprofits in Delaware, Dubuque, and Jackson counties to have up-to-date information in the
2-1-1 database. To update your agency's information, please email Michele Lerch or Sheila Moffett.

Landline: 2-1-1
Any phone: 319-739-4211
Toll free: 1-866-469-2211
Volunteer Management
Best Practices
Building a Sense of Community
Volunteers who experience a sense of community at the organization they are volunteering for are more likely to commit long-term. Many sources support this notion and detail exactly how to foster that sense of community. The Minnesota Literary Council is just one of those sources, citing the work of psychologists McMillan and Chavis who studied communities. They suggest to:

1. Foster each volunteer's sense of Membership

This is acknowledging each volunteer as a part of your organization by small ways such as giving them a nametag to bigger ways such as providing work space to volunteers.

The American Red Cross in Dubuque is one agency that takes this recommendation seriously. They contact each volunteer once that volunteer signs up with them. First, Volunteer Services gives a personal phone call to thank them for offering their services. Then, the volunteer is invited to an orientation that provides the volunteer information on how the agency works. Staff often also attend the orientation, which is a great way of making sure your volunteers feel a sense of membership within the agency. Volunteers are then added to the volunteer roster and invited to attend meetings where new volunteers introduce themselves and meet. Volunteer Services at American Red Cross also has its own volunteers that contact new volunteers to see how things are going for them at Red Cross.

2. Creating a sense of Influence

Volunteers feel more comfortable when they are given direction, asked for feedback, and trusted in leadership positions.

For example, volunteers at the Circles Initiative in Dubuque are empowered to be influencers. There are five planning committees of Circle leaders and community members, both volunteers, that plan Circles meetings. These committees lead and plan weekly Circles meetings, as well as secure meals and childcare for participants. Staff at Circles are always asking for feedback from their volunteers and give leadership opportunities to their volunteers. When a volunteer asks for a leadership position that is not available, staff works hard to create the positions requested.

3. Contribute to each volunteer's Integration and Fulfillment of Needs

Volunteers are more likely to stay with an organization that gives them meaning in their work as well as makes them feel like they are part of the organization.

For instance, training is provided to direct service volunteer at Cedar Valley Friends of the Family, which has locations in Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, and Dubuque. The staff conduct the orientation which integrates volunteers into the organization. There is a yearly Volunteer Breakfast, which is a volunteer appreciation event where certificates of recognition go out to volunteers who have spent up to one hundred hours volunteering for Cedar Valley Friends of the Family.

4. Develop a Shared Emotional Connection

Reach out and make connections with your volunteers. Foster a sense of community where volunteers can get to know each other.

The Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens has a Facebook page where volunteers frequently put up pictures of the gardens they work on and share their experiences of volunteering. Facebook is a great tool for sharing emotional connections and making connections with others!
Above are just a few of many examples to secure long-term commitments from volunteers. So, what will your organization implement to make volunteers feel at home and appreciated?

Volunteer Spotlight
 John Deere Volunteers Help Agencies in Need
Supporting both their communities and employees through volunteer efforts is one of the many ways companies are giving back. John Deere Dubuque Works is a star example of how workplace volunteer programs benefit the UWDATS region. Earlier this summer, teams of John Deere employees were at the Substance Abuse Services Center, Catholic Charities, Dubuque YMCA/YWCA and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois to learn about services and provide much needed assistance. To learn how your agency can connect with local workplace volunteer efforts, contact tina.hasken@dbqunitedway.org.

Click here to see what Catholic Charities had to say about our John Deere volunteers in their June newsletter.


Summer Sustainability Fair

A fun, family-friendly fest of games, workshops, booths, pizza, and speakers inspiring you to live sustainably! Will be Saturday, July 30th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Rescue Mission gardens.

Register here >

9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance

Thanks to the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Volunteer Generation Fund grant, United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States will sponsor the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. This event will showcase stories and experiences of first responders, emphasize the importance of serving others, and connect the community with volunteer opportunities. The night will be observed with music, inspirational speakers ,  and fellowship! Starting at our United Way campaign kick-off on August 17, we will collect basic needs for homeless veterans such as soap, socks, hygiene products, etc., which will be distributed as part of the service project.

Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors Charity Kickball Tournament

Come compete and play kickball for a good cause! Proceeds will go to  Dubuque/Jackson Co Habitat for HumanityCedar Valley Friends of the Family, and the  Dubuque Circles Initiative.


Volunteer Management Tip! 

Set up your Get Connected agency profile and keep your volunteer needs and events updated so volunteers can find you easily.

United Way is very pleased to offer Get Connected as the latest way we give our neighbors the opportunity to care for one another. We sincerely hope you enjoy using Get Connected to give back!

The Volunteer Center at United Way of Dubuque Area Tri-States is generously funded by the Volunteer Generation Fund.

Visit our website.

"The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers." ~Terri Guillemets