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Dedicated to Creating the Choice of Independent Living Through Volunteer Caregiving

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NVCN has entered into an agreement with Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey (CVCJ) to distribute their Trademarked Therapy Dog Program to NVCN affiliate members.

For a small initial and annual fee affiliate members will receive the right to utilize the Caregiver Canines®Trademark as well as training, mentoring, and tips for successfully incorporating the program into existing services.

Caregiver Canines® has been bringing joy and companionship to the Homebound since 2009. And to Volunteer Caregiving Organizations CCP brings new volunteers, new sources of revenue, and new marketing strategies.

"You should consider bringing Caregiver Canines® to your community, you'll be glad you did!"

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Orientation Training

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July 2016 Newsletter

In this Issue:
  • Tips for More Productive Meetings
  • Happy Independence Day!
  • Conference registration links
  • Call for award/recognition submissions
  • Renew Your Membership
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National Volunteer Caregiving Network

July 15, 2016

Tips for More Productive Meetings


 A Message From... 

 Vice Chair Tammy I. Glenn

NVCN Board of Trustees

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One of our primary roles as directors is to ensure sustainable funding.

Sustainability takes a robust network to build a robust fundraising effort.  That means building your mailing list and bringing new people into your volunteer caregiving community at every possible opportunity--through the board, on committees, in workshops. To that end, my personal goal has been to increase the mailing list by an average of 10 percent every year.  That increase indicates just how much we are out and about in the community making new friends for the organization.

It stands to reason that we'll want those new contacts to be high quality, but until you get to know them and have a conversation, sometimes it's hard to determine next steps.

Our Guest Columnist and one of my mentors, Andy Robinson, offers some great tips to ensure your next meeting is productive. 


NVCN Guest Columnist
Andy Robinson 

Talkers, non-talkers, and disrupters: How to effectively engage your group

By Andy Robinson 

If you’ve ever chaired a meeting, taught a class, organized people to accomplish a specific task, or facilitated anything, you’ve undoubtedly encountered these challenges.

  • People who talk too much
  • People who are uncomfortable talking in groups or simply choose not to speak
  • People who disrupt the process and require a lot of attention

As facilitator, it’s your job to create a safe, egalitarian space where everyone feels empowered to participate. With a hearty “thank you” to our colleagues at The Blue Door Group – I’ve borrowed several suggestions from their facilitation training, and added a few of my own – here’s a mini-tool box to help you better manage your group.

Creating space for everyone to talk

  1. Ask for ground rules at the beginning of the session; feel free to suggest a few. One of my favorites is “step up, step back.” Which means: If you’re inclined to be quiet, please speak up. If you’re inclined to talk, make an effort to listen first.
  1. Break into small groups. Many people who are uncomfortable talking within the larger group will happily participate in pairs or small groups of five or fewer people.
  1. Use go-arounds. “As we discuss this topic, let’s go around the circle and everyone can speak in turn. If you have nothing to say at this point, it’s OK to pass.” Some facilitators ask people to pass an object, such as a “talking stick,” with the instruction that you must hold the object in order to speak. This emphasizes the need to wait one’s turn and to listen carefully.
  1. Actively create space for the non-talkers. Say to the group, “For the next few minutes, let’s all listen to the people who haven’t spoken yet.”
  1. Depending on the topic, it might help to hand out paper, give people time to organize their ideas and write them down before encouraging everyone to speak.
  1. If appropriate, add a listening exercise to your agenda. Here’s a sample from our book, Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) to Raise Money.

Dealing with disruption

If you work with groups, eventually you’ll meet the disrupter – the person who:

  • Doesn’t respect your role as trainer or facilitator
  • Needs a lot of attention
  • Might have a different agenda or different goals for the gathering

Disruption can be helpful. It’s a strategy for naming topics that perhapsshould be on the agenda, or addressing power imbalances present in the room.

Sadly, it’s also a strategy used by bullies to intimidate others.

When faced with unproductive disruption, try some combination of these techniques.

  1. As described in the first item above, set ground rules or guidelines at the start of the session.
  1. Be empathetic. Sometimes people just want to be heard and respected, and that solves the problem.
  1. Invite the disrupter to speak privately with you or your co-facilitator, if you have one. If you’re working alone, give the group a task and pull that person aside for a chat.
  1. Name what’s happening: “Joe, it feels to me like your goals for this event don’t really match the agenda. What do you need? How can we meet your needs and still honor the agenda?”
  1. Ask the group for help in addressing the problem. This might be an opportunity for a go-around, as described earlier.
  1. If all else fails, reduce your attention. Look away. Focus your body language on the group, rather than the disrupter. Let everyone know, through your eyes, body, and voice, that you are present to serve the entire group.

You’re in charge – use your power

In your role as facilitator, trainer, or meeting chair, you carry authority just by the nature of your job. Participants expect you to lead by managing time effectively, honoring the intention of the gathering, and being responsive to the needs of the group – including those who don’t demand a lot of attention.

In other words, you have power. As you work to empower the group, don’t disempower yourself. Use your power to create a respectful process and a productive outcome.

Reprinted with permission from Andy Robinson.


Happy Independence Day from NVCN!

And a very special "thank you" to our veterans! 

Connect, Collaborate, Celebrate! Have You Registered for Our Conference?

We are hosting a national conference, Connect, Collaborate, Celebrate, in collaboration with the Shepherd's Centers of America! The conference will be held October 25 through 27, 2016 at theEmbassy Suites at the Plaza hotel in Kansas City, Missouri
This national conference brings together professionals with different perspectives, different areas of expertise, and different backgrounds together for one purpose: to learn and share the latest and greatest ideas to improve the quality of life for older adults.

Early-bird registration has been extended through August 26, 2016. 

Register Now!
Thank you to our conference sponsors!
Has your Volunteer Caregiving program recently been presented with an award or received recognition?

At our October conference, we will be hosting a ceremony to celebrate the amazing work our Volunteer Caregivers do across the nation. If your program has been presented with any kind of award or recognition, please let us know as we would love to honor you! Please contact Jenna Parro,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.?subject=Award%2FRecognition%20Submission%20" target="_blank" style="color: #656565;"> This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with more information about your award or recognition. 

Have you renewed your membership yet?

Exciting things are coming from NVCN in 2016! If your 2015 NVCN membership has expired, please be sure to renew membership. You can renew now by clicking the PayPal button below. If you have questions about your invoice or membership expiration date, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 210.865.9805. 

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