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In federal fiscal year 2019, 5,947 volunteers trained and designated to investigate and resolve complaints, contributed 514,016 hours of service to Ombudsman programs across the country (according to the NORS data). The Independent Sector determined the estimated value of a volunteer hour in 2020 was $27.20. For the Ombudsman program, that is $13.9 million of assets due to volunteer service! Volunteers are vital to the success of Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs as they support programs in having a strong presence in facilities and personal connection to residents.

Below are examples for celebrating volunteers and suggestions for maintaining and growing your volunteer program.

Upcoming Events

Webinar on Volunteer Recruitment, Training, and Retention During COVID-19: April 27, 2021 at 2:00-3:15 ET

This webinar will be held Tuesday, April 27, 2021 from 2:00-3:15 ET and will share successful volunteer recruitment, training, and retention examples from two programs.

The webinar is the first in a three-part series that will provide a brief overview of the COVID-19 Recovery and Reentry Resources, share successful program practices, and provide time for questions. Presenters will provide examples of volunteer recruitment, communication with residents and families, and complaint investigation and resolution. Attendees are encouraged to share their experiences and ask questions regarding the topic. Register.

Volunteer Appreciation Week: April 18-24, 2021

The theme for National Volunteer Week is Shining a Light on the People and Causes That Inspire Us to Serve. The Ombudsman program could not be its best without the volunteers who help carry out the mission of advocating for long-term care residents. Find resources and additional information on National Volunteer Week on the Points of Light website.

Thank your volunteers and recognize their work publicly by sending NORC brief messages of appreciation for their dedicated advocacy (e.g., examples of their advocacy, years of service, photos). We will post your message on our website and highlight the submissions on our home page. Email your submissions to ombudcenter@theconsumervoice.org.

Examples of Celebrating Volunteers from a Distance

During this year of distancing, it may be challenging to show appreciation for the volunteers in your program. In fact, it is likely more important now than ever to maintain contact and connection with volunteers and share your appreciation for their service. Consistency in gratitude is more important than the size of the gesture, from casual thanks to formal gifts, there is an abundance of ways to show your appreciation for all the work that volunteers do for the program. Below are examples of volunteer appreciation from a distance.
  • Yard signs from the South Carolina Long-Term Care Ombudsman program that say, "An amazing volunteer lives here!" are sparking conversations with neighbors as well as bringing smiles to the volunteer representatives. View pictures of the yard signs here, here, and here.
  • The Alaska Long-Term Care Ombudsman Office shared this Facebook post and emailed the same photo to volunteers with a note of thanks.
  • The Michigan Ombudsman program sewed face masks for volunteers. The State Ombudsman Office then mailed two masks to each volunteer with a certificate of appreciation for their commitment to the program.
  • The Minnesota Ombudsman programs always sends a “special edition” newsletter during volunteer week and hosts a more formal recognition event in the summer.
  • Long-Term Care Ombudsmen in Cincinnati, Ohio shared this photo with their volunteers.
  • The Appalachian Region of South Carolina sent personalized thank you cards with $15.00 Publix gift cards to their volunteers. They also posted a daily Facebook appreciation message on their page Volunteer Ombudsman Program Appalachian Region.
  • Texas Ombudsmen held an online meeting with volunteers and shared a video collage of staff answering the question “what do volunteers mean to me?”

Volunteer Management Resources

Volunteer Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Representative Intake Toolkit
This intake toolkit is designed to assist Long-Term Care Ombudsman programs with the application and screening process for potential volunteer Ombudsman program representatives. The toolkit includes several templates that Ombudsman programs can adapt to meet their individual program requirements. View the full toolkit as a PDF and in sections here.

Training Materials for Volunteer Ombudsman Program Representatives
This page includes examples of presentations and other materials from Ombudsman programs. Additional training resources are available on this page.

Join our LTCO Volunteer Management Network Listserv!
NORC moderates a free, private listserv for Ombudsman programs that manage volunteers to promote discussion among your peers and share challenges and successes regarding Ombudsman program volunteer management. NORC staff will respond to questions and highlight resources, as appropriate. The group is only open to Ombudsman program representatives that manage volunteers, it is not open to volunteer Ombudsman program representatives, family members, residents, or facility staff. We encourage you to join the listserv and connect with your peers across the country. To join, contact Carol Scott cscott@theconsumervoice.org, Ombudsman Specialist, NORC.

For additional information and resources on volunteer management and opportunities, visit the NORC website.

Read archived issues of NORC Notes here. If you have a question, are not able to find a resource, or want to share training materials or program practices, please email ombudcenter@theconsumervoice.org.

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