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Volunteer ToolkitIn the sections below are the topics you need to review before you begin. You will notice that some sections are specific to either task forces or committees

Task Forces

Task forces are generally dynamic or project based with a defined start and completion. Members are part of the task force from the beginning to the end. When the project is completed, the task force is disbanded. Task Forces start with a Charter as described in the Task Force Charter tab below.

Committees, Coordinators and Representatives

Committees generally have regular, ongoing duties which are defined in role descriptions and do not have a defined start and completion. They are often referred to as standing committees. Terms of service for committee members are 2 years.

Coordinators and Representatives follow this same pattern. Committees need to evaluate their actions annually to determine that they performing within their defined role and accomplishing their objectives toward strategic plan goals.

Task Force Charter

What is a Charter?

A charter is a formal document that defines a project, or task force. AMSN creates a charter for all new task forces. The purpose of the charter is to provide a clear vision to the members for their work.

The charter includes the scope, objectives, participants, goals, constraints and financial impact of the project. The charter acts as an anchor for a working group to prevent ambiguity and role confusion. The AMSN Strategic Plan is the umbrella under which all charters are developed.

A member of the Board usually writes the charter at the request of the Board. The charter is reviewed and approved by the Board before any action is taken.

Once the Board has approved a new task force charter, the President will appoint a board liaison and a Chairperson, if the President has already identified, interviewed and received a commitment to serve in the position. If there is no Chairperson already identified, one will be chosen as part of the Call for Volunteers recruiting process along with the other members of the task force.

Once a task force is formed, the members should review the charter periodically to ensure their actions are meeting the intent of the charter and the objectives of the Strategic plan goal they are working toward. 

When a task force and the Board believe the work defined in the charter is complete based on a final report to the Board, the Board will either dissolve or revise the charter.

Task Force Kick-Off Meeting

Every task force should begin with a meeting to review the vision, objectives and parameters of a charter. This typically occurs as a conference call between the President or other member of the Executive Team, the Chairperson, the Board Liaison, and  Staff Liaison.

This is the time when questions may be raised and discussed so that there is a clear understanding of what is to be accomplished, the requested time frame and financial considerations. 

This conference call may occur before or after other task force members have been chosen.

Committee Role Descriptions

Every AMSN standing committee, coordinator or representative has a role description that defines the purpose, and basic responsibilities of the VU. It also defines the composition of the group,  qualifications and tenure of members. These role descriptions are official policies and may be found under the Volunteer Unit Policies Tab of this Toolkit. The official policy is most helpful if you are a chair or member of the specific VU.

The AMSN Website has a short description of each standing committee, coordinator or representative under Volunteer Units.

Recruiting and Selecting Volunteers

It is an AMSN policy that a Call for Volunteers will be issued to all members (or members that meet specific qualifications) so that all members have an opportunity to volunteer to participate in serving their association and benefiting from the professional development derived from volunteering.

This is an excerpt from the official Volunteer Unit Policy 4.1.

Selection Process

All VU Participants

  1. AMSN will issue a Call for Volunteers, including qualifications and responsibilities to the general membership or to selected members based on demographic data provided on the AMSN membership application.
  2. Qualified respondents are interviewed by the President or her/his designee.
  3. Chairpersons, Coordinators, Editors, and Representatives are appointed by the President with approval of the board of directors.
  4. VU members are selected by the Chairperson, Coordinator or Editor in collaboration with the Board Liaison and are appointed by the President.
  5. Members may not serve on multiple VUs, except in special circumstances with approval of the board of directors.

Recruiting with a Call for Volunteers

When a call goes out, it includes a description of the task force project or the committee, coordinator or representative role and responsibilities. Special qualifications are listed as well as an estimate of the time commitment required and any other special requirements. Interested members are asked to complete an online application and send a resume. There will also be a time limit when applications will be accepted.

The staff liaison will collaborate with the Chair and Board Liaison regarding a specific call for volunteers. It is important for this group to think about time frames and time commitments so that volunteers are informed when applying. The staff liaison will then structure the email and application and make the arrangements to send out the call to members.

Sample Call for Volunteers (this was an actual post on the AMSN Website)

Selecting Volunteers

Once the time limit for accepting applications is over, the staff liaison will prepare all the responses and resumes so that they can be evaluated by the chair and board liaison.

The staff liaison may disqualify applicants if they do not meet the minimum requirements or if they did not complete the application or turn in a resume. 

The staff liaison will prepare a profile on the volunteer, pooling information from our database regarding any current volunteer responsibilities, former volunteer service and references from staff. If the applicant is currently serving on another AMSN or MSNCB volunteer unit, this will be highlighted.

When the applicant is already serving on another volunteer unit, applicant might be disqualified or be asked to consider giving up one volunteer position to serve in another.

AMSN Guidelines for Serving on Multiple Volunteer Units

The chair and board liaison will review all the applications and determine who they would like to interview. The staff liaison will coordinate the scheduling of interviews and may participate in the interview. In order to be fair and pick qualified candidates we have identified a best practice for interviews.

Best Practice Volunteer Interview - Questions

Final Selection and Appointment

Once all the interviews have been completed, the Chair and the board liaison will discuss the candidates and select those volunteers that best suit the needs of the group. Sometimes a variety of education levels and positions are required so that there is good representation of different perspectives on a project.

The chair may personally notify those volunteers who have been selected. The AMSN president will send an official letter of appointment. The staff liaison will also notify the applicants who were not chosen.

Annual/First Meeting of Volunteer Unit

To begin the work of the new Task Force or to start off a new Committee year, the VU Chair should plan for and lead a First Meeting.

If the VU is a new Task Force, the first meeting will be similar to the Task Force Kick-Off Meeting held with the Board Officer.

If the VU is a Committee, this annual first meeting should clearly explain and set the objectives for the group as they begin their work for the year. Often there are new Members, or a new Chair and maybe a new Board Liaison. A first meeting helps everyone to understand and work toward the same objectives.

The Staff Liaison can work with the Chair and Board Liaison to schedule a conference call when all the members of the group can participate.

If they haven’t already, the Chair, Board Liaison and Staff Liaison should come up with a plan for how to approach the work, how it will be discussed, researched, organized, and delegated to the VU members prior to this first call. This plan should be part of the agenda for the first meeting so that the work can begin without delay.

Best practice for the First Meeting of a Volunteer Unit

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